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Open Source Telenet Digicorder API

a picture called telenetdigicorderAPI.jpg (click to enlarge)

A few months ago, Telenet finally made the jump and opened up their digicorder devices to be controlled through their TV web portal

Finally you could schedule your TV recordings from anywhere using a web browser instead of a infrared remote and the dorky digicorder interface.

Controlling media devices through web interfaces happens to be one of my sweet spots so the first thing I did was firing up Firebug to see what kind of communication was going on between their various web applications.
They've done a really good job, as they created an internal API to talk to the digicorder.
Figuring out how the API works has the same attraction as seeing a crossword puzzle in a newspaper: it tickles your mind but at the same time it's not too hard and with some time and logic the puzzle is quickly solved.

So, let's get to work to create a more open API to control your TV recordings from any software package you want instead of only through the website.

First step: login
Telenet uses a single-sign-on system, providing a token that authorises you as "logged in" and that you can take with you to other sites.

It sends you on a redirect path towards multiple domains - telling each domain you have logged in.
The script just recreates that path and makes sure to collect and pass all cookies to the next step. (That's really easy in .net - just use the same cookiecontainer for each request)
After that you can use the Telenet remotePVR API from the script as an authenticated user.
One problem though: to schedule a new recording you need the eventID of the program you want to record.
That's where and some good old screenscraping comes in: a Channel listing for each day is requested on the website and the EventID codes get extracted and saved to a local cache (so we don't have to hammer the site more then we need to)
Technically that might be against Telenet's Terms of Use policy, but hey - we're all in favour of free and open data, aren't we?
That's it.
I created a more simple API as .net wrapper class with the following syntax

Dim tvbe as new tvbe

In a webapp that translates to URLs as

/boxes 'gets info on your digiboxes and digicorders
'gets a list of your scheduled and completed recordings
' schedules a new recording, ID is an eventID provided by
' deletes a recording, ID is an eventID provided by tvbe/recordings
/reminders/ 'gets a list of your scheduled reminders
/reminders/schedule/ID ' sets a new reminder, ID is an eventID provided by
' deletes a reminder, ID is an eventID provided by tvbe/reminders
/zenders ' (short)list of available channels
/zenders/channelname ' program guide of the channel with name "channelname"
/zenders/channelname?date=dd-mm-yyyy ' program guide of the channel with name "channelname" of a given day 

The sourcecode can be found here.


After a (very friendly) request from Telenet I'm taking the sourcecode and the demo application offline.
However I do hope I can contribute following their open invitation to help unlock their digital services towards a more open communication (API?) in general and mobile devices in particular.
To be continued ...

As a demo I created a little frontend for the API for use on mobile devices. it is.

You can use the TV guide without login in, but if you want to manage your recorders you have to create an account at (and be a Telenet Digital TV customer of course) 
It's a bit of a trust-issue to enter your telenet credentials in a "rogue" app like this, but i can assure you it's safe: your credentials are not stored anywhere and are only used to pass through the Telenet login sequence.
If you're still hesitating to enter your login, you can grab the source and try it on your own machine.

Here are some screenshots.
image image image foto


The API still has some holes, mostly because not all content is easily available.
Most important i would love a simple system to convert EventID's to program names and vica versa, maybe if i ask the people nicely? :-)
Also it's not really suited if you have more then one digicorder.
A search function would be nice ... maybe I'll implement that.

Of course it works fine as long as Telenet doesn't change their internal API, which is always a risk, but well,  then the cat and mouse game can continue.
I was planning to build an Android app for it but actually works very well on mobile devices and since you still would need a data connection to talk to your digicorder, why would you create a native app when a webapp will do?

Happy recording!

Tags: in English, Mobile, Programming, Scripting, Web 2.0Geef je reactie (13)