Interactive TV Dictionary and Business Index
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Electronic Program Guide (EPG) &
Interactive Program Guide (IPG)

(Last updated in 2012)

The difference between eletronic program guides and interactive program guides In-Stat/MDR predicted that the worldwide IPG market value would grow to
nearly $1 Billion by 2008. (2004 prediction.)
Interactive Program Guide (TV) - (IPG) - (On-screen Channel Guides, Interactive Preview Guide, Interactive Media Guides, Interactive Programme Guide, Electronic Programme Guide, TV-oriented Electronic Program Guides, Electronic Service Guide, (ESG), Interactive IPG, Integrated IPG, Interactive Television Program Guide, TV Navigator, Content Navigation Guide. Associated with Electronic Program Guide, Enhanced Program Guide, Integrated EPG, Content Navigation, TV Navigational Services, XMLTV-based EPG, Custom Guide View.) - Interactive Program Guides are a form of Enhanced TV that offer an advanced on-screen display to locate content. Just as people use search engines and portals to locate content on the web, viewers need powerful IPGs to help them find what they want in regard to television. A successful IPG deployment requires: access to an IPG application, access to television program listing databases and a way to get the data delivered to the IPG so it can be viewed. Corporations to watch in regard to IPGs include Rovi, Microsoft and Tribune Media Services. Often IPG/EPG functionality is integrated into the receiver, as is the case with Digital Media Receivers, Media Center PCs, Media Centers and many game consoles.

Originally the term "EPG" was more popular than "IPG" but as Interactive TV has developed, momentum has shifted to "IPG." One reason for the early popularity of the term "EPG" was that the original TV channel guide was named "Electronic Program Guide".

It's possible that Content and Service Discovery Guides (CSDGs) will replace Electronic Program Guides and Interactive Program Guides as television content gets progressively more supplemented with content from the Internet, and from consumers' own personal home network libraries.

the history of epgs and ipgs Information on the History of EPGs and IPGs (& more)

Many consider the the difference between EPGs and IPGs to be the level of interactivity offered. Electronic Program Guides (EPGs) basically just display the name of the program, a brief description of the program and what time the programming is going to be aired. These slowly roll along and typically you can't increase the speed of the display. Interactive Program Guides (IPGs) on the other hand offer more options, such as jumping to different viewing time periods, more indepth programming analysis and/or reviews, programming for a particular genre such as kids, the ability to check messages from your network operator and integration with DVRs. IPGs certainly is the category to watch in terms of the future.

what are interactive program guidesNote - There are those that use the term EPG even though it incorporates at least some return path interactivity.

EPGs and IPGs are used on other consumer products such as mobile phones and Media Center PCs. More advanced IPGs might offer Internet access or something else in terms of a return path. IPGs can keep track of your favorite channels, offer a "reminder" service that lets you know when your favorite shows will be aired. It might even automatically record them. An IPG can restrict access to channels you don't want the kids to see, as well as offer a television search engine.
To use IPGs, viewers typically need To be receiving some form of digital TV. Upon activating (opening up) an IPG, the IPG's "Main Menu" is likely what initially comes up. The main menu offers program listings, viewer services, the time and more.

Typically EPGs & IPGs can be customized by the network operator and/or by the individual viewer.  Needless to say it's a likely place to find advertising, targeted and/or interactive.  TV IPGs can be viewed on your computer if a TV tuner card or the like, and required software is installed. Microsoft's WebTV for Windows is an IPG.

Many online video sites incorporate some type of EPG or IPG.
Typically EPGs and IPGs are not synonymous as "Channel Browsers."
With IPTV, it's often easier to individually customize IPGs.


Service Discovery Guides - CSDGs can find content on the Internet, and/or from in-home networks. See Rovi for more on these.

PSIP (Program and Systems Information Protocol) has been used for IPG/EPG development in ATSC tuners.