epgsearch - Searchtimer and replacement of the VDR program menu


Since the README get bigger and bigger this man page shall be used to explain some things in detail. So it's not really a manual, but an extended README.


 1.  Using variables in the directory entry of a search timer
 2.  The format of epgsearch.conf
 3.  Description of the search process
 4.  How do Search Timers work?
 5.  How to trigger a search timer update?
 6.  The sources of the 'Select directory' menu
 7.  Language dependent commands for EPG
 8.  Usage from other plugins or scripts
 9.  SVDRP interface
 10. Customizing the EPG menus
 11. Working with the timer conflict menu
 12. User defined variables
 13. Email notifications
 14. The conf.d subdirectory

1. Using variables in the directory entry of a search timer

If you are using extended EPG information, you can use variables as part of a directory entry of a search timer. These variables always have the form '%variable%'. The name of a variable corresponds with the internal name of an extended EPG info, as specified in the file epgsearchcats.conf (samples can be found in subdirectory 'conf'). Example:


The category with ID 1 has the internal name 'Category'. So you could use it with '%Category%'. The names are not case sensitive. Sample directory entries could look like this:

 My Movies~%Category%
 Childrens Movies~%category%

There are also three other variables: %Title%, %Subtitle% and %chlng%. If you don't use %Title%, the title is always automatically appended to the directory entry, when a timer will be created. If you set 'serial recording' to 'yes' in your search timer then also the subtitle will be automatically appended. So the directory entry


is the same as

 (with 'serial recording' set to 'yes').

The %chlng% variable gets replaced with the name of the channel.

Attention: Automatically appending title and subtitle will not be done, if you use the variables %Title% or %Subtitle% in the directory entry. This allows to form directory entries like this one:


There are also the following search variables:

 %search.query% that will be replaced with the query of the search timer
 %search.series% that is '1', if the search has it's 'Series recording' flag set, else '0'.

See also epgsearchuservars.conf(5).

2. The format of epgsearch.conf

Due to some new features there was a change in the format. The format is now signed with a comment in the first line. The field delimiter is ':':

  1 - unique search timer id
  2 - the search term
  3 - use time? 0/1
  4 - start time in HHMM 
  5 - stop time in HHMM 
  6 - use channel? 0 = no,  1 = Interval, 2 = Channel group, 3 = FTA only
  7 - if 'use channel' = 1 then channel id[|channel id] in vdr format,
      one entry or min/max entry separated with |, if 'use channel' = 2
      then the channel group name     
  8 - match case? 0/1 
  9 - search mode:
       0 - the whole term must appear as substring
       1 - all single terms (delimiters are blank,',', ';', '|' or '~') 
          must exist as substrings.
       2 - at least one term (delimiters are blank, ',', ';', '|' or '~') 
           must exist as substring.
       3 - matches exactly
       4 - regular expression
       5 - fuzzy searching (specify tolerance in parameter 42, not available
           for EPG categories)
 10 - use title? 0/1
 11 - use subtitle? 0/1
 12 - use description? 0/1
 13 - use duration? 0/1
 14 - min duration in minutes
 15 - max duration in minutes
 16 - use as search timer? 0/1/2 (with 2 one can specify time margins in 
      parameter 48/49 where the search timer is active)
 17 - use day of week? 0/1
 18 - day of week (0 = Sunday, 1 = Monday...;      
      -1 Sunday, -2 Monday, -4 Tuesday, ...; -7 Sun, Mon, Tue)
 19 - use series recording? 0/1
 20 - directory for recording
 21 - priority of recording
 22 - lifetime of recording
 23 - time margin for start in minutes
 24 - time margin for stop in minutes
 25 - use VPS? 0/1
 26 - action:
       0 = create a timer
       1 = announce only via OSD (no timer)
       2 = switch only (no timer)
 27 - use extended EPG info? 0/1
 28 - extended EPG info values. This entry has the following format
      (delimiter is '|' for each category, '#' separates id and value):
      1 - the id of the extended EPG info category as specified in
      2 - the value of the extended EPG info category
          (a ':' will be translated to "!^colon^!", e.g. in "16:9")
 29 - avoid repeats? 0/1
 30 - allowed repeats
 31 - compare title when testing for a repeat? 0/1     
 32 - compare subtitle when testing for a repeat? 0=no/1=yes/2=yes-if present     
 33 - compare description when testing for a repeat? 0/1     
 34 - compare extended EPG info when testing for a repeat?
      This entry is a bit field of the category IDs.
 35 - accepts repeats only within x days
 36 - delete a recording automatically after x days
 37 - but keep this number of recordings anyway
 38 - minutes before switch (if action = 2)
 39 - pause if x recordings already exist
 40 - blacklist usage mode (0 none, 1 selection, 2 all)
 41 - selected blacklist IDs separated with '|'
 42 - fuzzy tolerance value for fuzzy searching
 43 - use this search in favorites menu (0 no, 1 yes)
 44 - number of the search menu template to use (only available if multiple
      search result templates are defined in epgsearchmenu.conf)
 45 - auto deletion mode (0 don't delete search timer, 1 delete after given
      count of recordings, 2 delete after given days after first recording)
 46 - count of recordings after which to delete the search timer
 47 - count of days after the first recording after which to delete the search
 48 - first day where the search timer is active (see parameter 16)
 49 - last day where the search timer is active (see parameter 16)
 50 - ignore missing EPG categories? 0/1
 51 - unmute sound if off when used as switch timer
 52 - the minimum required match in percent when descriptions are compared to avoid repeats (-> 33)

A ':' in the search term or the directory entry will be translated in a '|'. If a '|' exists in the search term, e.g. when using regular expressions, it will be translated to "!^pipe^!" (I know it's ugly ;-))

See also epgsearch.conf(5).

3. Description of the search process

First, for each broadcasting a search text divided by '~' is created, depending on the settings of 'Use title', 'Use subtitle' and 'Use description':


If "Match case" is not set, the search text and the search term are transformed to lower case. Now depending on the search mode, the search term will be looked up in the search text:

- 'Phrase' matches

if the search term is found anywhere in the search text.

- 'at least one word', 'all words'

first the search term will be split in single words. Delimiters are a blank and the characters ',' ';' '|' '~'.

Then we check if at least one or all words appear in the search text.

- 'match exactly'

matches if search term and search text are identical.

- 'regular expression'

the search is done with a regular expression. You don't need a leading and trailing '/' in your search term. Two standards of regular expression are supported: extended POSIX and Perl compatible regular expressions (PCRE) (see INSTALL).

If the search was successful until now, the other criterions (start time, duration, week day) are checked.

4. How do Search Timers work?

With each update, the plugin searches for new matches of your search timers. If a new match is found then a new timer is created. For serial recordings, the subtitle is appended to the recording directory. Many providers deliver the subtitle just 1-2 days before the event. The plugin uses then a date/time string for the subtitle, but replaces this one later if the subtitle is present.

Start and end times of a broadcasting often vary a little bit. To avoid getting many different timers for the same event, the plugin checks before adding a new timer, if there is one, that has start and end times which only differ by a maximum of 10 minutes (or the events duration if this is less then 10 minutes). If so, the present timer is modified, else a new timer is created. If the timer was set to inactive there will be no update. Also manually corrected priority or lifetime will not be changed when updating.

If you have set 'Announce only (no timer)' to yes, no timer is created. Instead you get an OSD message about the event. This message is displayed at each scan, but only if there is no timer for the event.

5. How to trigger a search timer update?

the update of search timers runs in its own thread. There are several ways to trigger it:

- automatically

after VDR starts there is always an update (after a few seconds). After this, the setup option 'Update interval' tells epgsearch when the next update should be done repeatedly (in minutes).

- manually extern

the thread observes the file '.epgsearchupdate' in the plugins config directory. When you

 touch /path_to_file/.epgsearchupdate

this will also trigger an update. So this is a simple solution to make an update e.g. by a script.

- manually intern

calling actions or pressing '3' in the menu of searches asks also for an update.

- from other plugins

there's a service 'Epgsearch-updatesearchtimers-v1.0' that can be used with the service interface of VDR from other plugins with the option to inform via OSD when the update has finished

6. The sources of the 'Select directory' menu

This menu displays directories, that can be used for search timers or ordinary timers. The items displayed are read from the following sources:

   * current recording directories
   * current timer directories
   * directories used in search timers
   * directories specified in F<epgsearchdirs.conf>,
     see C<epgsearchdirs.con(5)>
   * entries in VDR's folders.conf

The menu merges theses directories and displays only distinct directories. With key 'yellow' one can change the depth of the directories shown. If there are items, that contain category variables like '%genre%', these entries are always shown before any other directories. They are also not level dependent, but are always shown with their full directory.

If this menu is called from the timer edit menu and an item is selected that contains the variables "%title%" or "%subtitle" then the 'file' item of the timer gets cleared, since title or subtitle already exist in the 'directory' item. This list can also be accessed via the SVDRP command 'LSRD'.

7. Language dependent commands for EPG

If you like to have a language dependent list of commands simply translate your present epgsearchcmds.conf to your preferred OSD language and store it with the filename epgsearchcmds-XXX.conf, where XXX is the language code from i18n.c:

  { "eng,dos",

If there are more codes for one language (e.g. "deu,ger") choose one of them. If there is no language dependent file, epgsearch loads the file epgsearchcmds.conf.

See also epgsearchcmds.conf(5).

8. Usage from other plugins or scripts

Searching the EPG and other functionality can be used by other plugins or scripts. There are two approaches:

8.1. File-based (intended for use in scripts)

Therefore simply create the file '.epgsearchrc' in the plugins config directory with the following lines in it:

 Search=your search term
 Searchmode=x  // 0=phrase, 1=and, 2=or, 3=regular expression
 ChannelNr=x   // add this line, to search on a specific channel
 UseTitle=x    // 1(default) or 0
 UseSubtitle=x // 1(default) or 0
 UseDescr=x    // 1(default) or 0

Then call Epgsearch via (you must have assigned a key to it), e.g. HITK green

At startup Epgsearch will look for this file and give you the search results for your search, if it exists. After that the file is removed.

A sample script, that searches for the repeats of a recording exists in the scripts subdirectory of Epgsearch.

8.2. via Plugin-Interface (intended for use in plugins)

A plugin can directly call two functions of epgsearch with only some lines of source code:

 - searching the EPG for some criteria and display the result list
 - extended timer edit menu

I have added a quick and dirty dummy plugin (source/vdr-epgsearchclient-0.0.1.tgz), that demonstrates the usage.

9. SVDRP interface

epgsearch implements a SVDRP interface, that can be accessed for example like this PLUG epgsearch LSTS

the following commands are available:

search management:

 * 'LSTS [ID]' to list all searches, or the one with the passed ID
   (format is the same as epgsearch.conf)
 * 'NEWS <settings>' to add a new search
   REMARK: the value of element ID is ignored. epgsearch will always
   assign the next free ID
 * 'DELS <ID>' to delete the search with ID
 * 'EDIS <settings>' to modify an existing search
 * 'UPDS [OSD]' to update the search timers. Passing the optional keyword
   'OSD' pops up an OSD message after the update has finished.
 * 'MODS ID ON|OFF' turns on/off the option 'Use as search timer'.
 * 'UPDD' to reload the file, e.g. after an
   external tool has modified it.
 * 'SETS <ON|OFF>' to temporarily activate or cancel the search timer background
 * 'FIND <settings>' for searching the EPG
   input is the same as with 'NEWS'. output is a list of found events formatted
   as 'NEWT' lines. So they can be immediately used to create a new timer for
   an event.
 * 'QRYS < ID(s) >' to get the results for a search with the given
   ID. Multiple IDs can also be passed and have to be separated with '|'. 
   The results are formatted like this:
   search ID    : // the ID of the corresponding search timer
   event ID     : // VDR event ID
   title        : // event title, any ':' will be converted to '|'
   episode name : // event short text, any ':' will be converted to '|'
   event start  : // event start in seconds since 1970-01-01
   event stop   : // event stop in seconds since 1970-01-01
   channel      : // channel ID in VDR's internal representation (e.g. 'S19.2E-1-1101-28106')
   timer start  : // timer start in seconds since 1970-01-01 (only valid if timer flag is > 0)
   timer stop   : // timer stop in seconds since 1970-01-01 (only valid if timer flag is > 0)
   timer file   : // timer file (only valid if timer flag is > 0)
   timer flag   : // 0 = no timer needed, 1 = has timer, 2 timer planned for next update)
 * 'QRYS <settings>' to get the results for a search with the given search
 * 'QRYF [hours]' to get the results for the favorites menu, see QRYS for
   result format. The optional parameter specifies the number of hours to
   evaluate and defaults to 24h. 
 * 'MENU [PRG|NOW|SUM]' calls one of the main menus of epgsearch or the summary
   of the current event.
 * 'UPDT' reloads the search timers from epgsearch.conf

channel group management:

 * 'LSTC [channel group name]'
   list all channel groups or if given the one with name 'group name'
 * 'NEWC <channel group settings>'
   create a new channel group, format as in epgsearchchangrps.conf
 * 'EDIC <channel group settings>'
   modify an existing channel group, format as in epgsearchchangrps.conf
 * 'DELC <channel group name>'
   delete an existing channel group
 * 'RENC <old channel group name|new channel group name>'
   rename an existing channel group

blacklist management:

 * 'LSTB [ID]' to list all blacklists, or the one with the passed ID
   (format is the same as epgsearchblacklists.conf)
 * 'NEWB <settings>' to add a new blacklist
   REMARK: the value of element ID is ignored. epgsearch will always
   assign the next free ID
 * 'DELB <ID>' to delete the blacklist with ID
 * 'EDIB <settings>' to modify an existing blacklist

search template management:

 * 'LSTT [ID]' to list all search templates, or the one with the passed ID
   (format is the same as epgsearch.conf)
 * 'NEWT <settings>' to add a new search template
   REMARK: the value of element ID is ignored. epgsearch will always
   assign the next free ID
 * 'DELT <ID>' to delete the search template with ID
 * 'EDIT <settings>' to modify an existing search template
 * 'DEFT [ID]' returns the ID of the default search template. When passing an
   ID it activates the corresponding template as default.

extended EPG categories:

 * 'LSTE [ID] to get the extended EPG categories defined in epgsearchcats.conf
   or the one with the given ID. (format is the same as epgsearchcats.conf)


 * 'SETP [option]' returns the current value of the given setup option or a
   list of all options with their current values.
   The following options can be accessed:
    - ShowFavoritesMenu
    - UseSearchTimers

timer conflicts:

 * 'LSCC [REL]' returns the current timer conflicts. With the option 'REL' only
   relevant conflicts are listed. The result list looks like this for example 
   when we have 2 timer conflicts at one time:
   '1190232780' is the time of the conflict in seconds since 1970-01-01. It's 
   followed by list of timers that have a conflict at this time:
   '152|30|50#152#45' is the description of the first conflicting timer. Here:
   '152' is VDR's timer id of this timer as returned from VDR's LSTT command
   '30' is the percentage of recording that would be done (0...100)
   '50#152#45' is the list of concurrent timers at this conflict
   '45|10|50#152#45' describes the next conflict

10. Customizing the EPG menus

The file epgsearchmenu.conf in your epgsearch config directory is used to store the entries for customizing the EPG menus. You specify the look of each menu (What's on now, What's on next, What's on at ..., Schedule, Search results, Favorites) with a separate line. Here's a sample:

 MenuWhatsOnNow=%chnr%:3|%progrt2s%:5| %time% %t_status%:8|%category%:6| %title% ~ %subtitle%:35
 MenuWhatsOnNext=%chnr%:3|%time% %t_status%:8|%category%:8| %title% ~ %subtitle%:35
 MenuWhatsOnElse=%chnr%:3|%time% %t_status%:8|%category%:8| %title% ~ %subtitle%:35
 MenuSchedule=%time% %t_status%:8|%genre%:14| %title% ~ %subtitle%:35
 MenuSearchResults=%chnr%:3|%datesh% %time% %t_status%:14|%genre%:8| %title%%colon% %subtitle%:35
 MenuFavorites=%chnr%:3|%time%:6|%timespan%:7|%t_status%:14|%genre%:8| %title%%colon%%subtitle%:35

E.g. the entry 'MenuWhatsOnNow' tells epgsearch how you would like to build a line for the menu 'What's on now'. This would create a menu line starting with the channel number, followed by a progress bar in text2skin style, a space of one char, the start time, the timer status, the EPG category (like "movie") and finally the title and subtitle.

The values for MenuWhatsOnNext, MenuWhatsOnElse, MenuSchedule, MenuSearchResults, MenuFavorites specify the menu 'What's on next', 'What's on at ...', 'Schedule', 'Search results' and 'Favorites' respectively. If you do not specify one entry, epgsearch uses it's default menu look.

'MenuSearchResults' has something special: If you want to have different layouts for your search results depending on the search, you can use more then one menu template. Simply define e.g. an additional

 MenuSearchResultsTip of the Day=%chnr%:3|%time_w%:4|%t_status%:3|%genre%:10|%title%%colon% %subtitle%:35

This will produce an additional menu item "Result menu layout" in the edit menu of a search where you can choose between the default menu template and your own templates. In the example above you will get "Tip of the Day" as selection entry, since epgsearch simply cuts the leading "MenuSearchResults". When you display the search results the chosen template will be used instead of the default one.

The following variables exist:

 %time%           - start time in format HH:MM
 %timeend%        - end time in format HH:MM
 %date%           - start date in format DD.MM.YY
 %datesh%         - start date in format DD.MM.
 %date_iso%       - start date in format YYYY-MM-DD.
 %year%           - year with century
 %month%          - month (1-12)
 %day%            - day (1-31)
 %week%           - week number of the year (Monday as the first day of the week) as a decimal number [01,53]
 %time_w%         - weekday name
 %time_d%         - start day in format TT
 %time_lng%       - start time in seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00
 %timespan%       - timespan from now to the beginning of an event, e.g. 'in 15m'
                    or the time an event is already running, e.g. '10m'. 
 %length%         - length in seconds
 %title%          - title
 %subtitle%       - subtitle
 %summary%        - summary
 %htmlsummary%    - summary, where all CR are replaced with '<br />'
 %eventid%        - numeric event ID
 %liveeventid%    - encoded event ID as used in the frontend 'live'
 %t_status%       - timer status ('T', 't', 'R')
 %v_status%       - VPS status
 %r_status%       - running status
 %status%         - complete status, the same as
 %<epg-category>% - a value from the extended EPG categories, specified in
                    epgsearchcats.conf, like %genre% or %category%

for the 'Whats on...' and 'Search results' menu there are also:

 %chnr%           - channel number
 %chsh%           - the short channel name (>=vdr-1.3.15)
 %chlng%          - the 'normal' channel name
 %chdata%         - VDR's internal channel representation (e.g. 'S19.2E-1-1101-28106')
 %progr%          - graphical progress bar (not for menu 'Search results'), 
                    requires VDRSymbols font for vdr>=1.5.3
 %progrT2S%       - progress bar in text2skin style (not for menu 'Search results')

some independent variables:

 %colon%          - the sign ':'
 %datenow%        - current date in format DD.MM.YY
 %dateshnow%      - current date in format DD.MM.
 %date_iso_now%   - current date in format YYYY-MM-DD
 %timenow%        - current time in format HH:MM
 %videodir%       - VDR video directory (e.g. /video)
 %plugconfdir%    - VDR plugin config directory (e.g. /etc/vdr/plugins)
 %epgsearchdir%   - epgsearch config directory (e.g. /etc/vdr/plugins/epgsearch)

The variables are not case sensitive. You can also use variables for extended EPG categories defined in epgsearchcats.conf or use your own user defined variables defined in epgsearchuservars.conf

An entry consists of up to 6 tables separated with '|'. The last entry of each table should declare the table width in chars, separated with ':'.

If you use a separator like '~', '-' or '#' to separate items like title or subtitle, e.g. %title% ~ %subtitle%, and the subtitle is empty, then epgsearch will try to fix this automatically to avoid a trailing separator.

You should vary the tab width values to fit your needs, since the look often depends on the selected skin. epgsearchmenu.conf is not reloaded with every plugin call, since this is only useful when testing the conf file. To activate the permanent reload for testing your conf, pass the new start parameter '-r' or '--reloadmenuconf' in your runvdr.

There's a sample epgsearchmenu.conf in the subdirectory "conf". For a quick try copy it to your epgsearch config directory (e.g. /etc/vdr/plugins/epgsearch).

To enable icons from WarEagleIcon-Patch simply put the line


to epgsearchmenu.conf. This also works for vdr>=1.5.3, which uses true type fonts, if you have installed and selected the font VDRSymbols.ttf (available at

NOTE: As long as there is a file epgsearchmenu.conf with an entry for a special menu, all setup settings regarding the look of this menu are ignored.

See also epgsearchmenu.con(5).

11. Working with the timer conflict menu

If a conflict is detected within the periodic conflict background check you get an OSD message which informs you about it. Pressing 'Ok' you will get a menu that displays all relevant conflicts. You can manually call this menu in epgsearch in the menu 'Search/Actions'.

Besides the relevant conflicts (relevance is controlled via the setup options of epgsearch) there may also be conflicts which are not classified as important. If so, you can press 'Show all' to get the complete list. The menu title always displays the number of relevant conflicts and the total number.

The list displays first the time when a conflict appears and then all timers that will fail here. A timer entry consists of the channel number and its name followed by the timer priority and the percentage value that shows how much of the timer will be recorded. Finally the timer's file entry is displayed.

When you select a timer entry and press 'Ok' or 'Details' you get a new menu which displays all concurrent timers. This menu allows you to resolve the conflict by

 - searching a repeat for an event
 - disabling a timer
 - deleting a timer
 - changing the timers start- or stop-time or its priority
 - executing any other commands on this timer

An entry of this menu consists of the sign '>' to indicate an active timer, the channel number, the start and stop time, the priority, the number of the device that will do the recording (or 'C' for conflict) and the timer's file entry. Pressing 'Ok' on a timer entry will show you its event description if present.

If one returns from this menu to the conflict overview menu there will be an automatic update to see if a conflict was really resolved. Some changes to a timer (like modifying start/stop or deleting a timer) in the conflict details menu also cause an immediate return to the overview menu and produce an update.

Note: There's a 'hidden' setup option epgsearch.ConflCheckCmd, that allows executing a command for each timer causing a conflict. You have to set this directly in VDRs setup.conf like this:

epgsearch.ConflCheckCmd = system(, any_arguments like %timer.file%)

(Please have a look at 'Calling a system command' below for the possible arguments) One could use this for example to forward a timer to another VDR machine in case of a conflict. This command is evaluated for each timer causing a conflict whenever an automatic conflict check is running. When calling the conflict check via OSD the command is not evaluated.

12. User defined variables

You can create your own variables to be used in any place that supports variables, like the default recording directory for manually created timers, the recording directory of a search timer or in your customized EPG menus. Put them in the file epgsearchuservars.conf.

Variables looks like %Variablename%.

"Variablename" can be consist of any alphanumerical character. Space and special characters are not allowed.

The variable names are case-insensitive.

Examples for possible names:

 %Series% %DocuVar1% %ThemesSubtitleDate1%


 %Series%=New series~Thriller

The variable %Series% will be assigned with the string "New series~Thriller".

Assignments are always strings. Spaces stay spaces.


The variable %Path% gets the content of the variable %Series%.

You can do nearly everything:


The variable %Path% contains now the string "New series~Thriller~Lost".

Control structures

You can use simple "if then else" constructions.

These constructions cannot contain strings, only variables. Spaces are ignored.

 %Variable%=%Path% ? %Path% : %Foo%

If %Path% is not empty, assign the content of %Path% to %Variable%, otherwise the content of %Foo%.

"%Path% ?" means "not empty?". You can use other checks.

 %Variable%=%Path%!=5 ? %Path% : %Foo%

"%Path%!=5 ?" means "is %Path% equal 5?"

You can also compare variables.

 %Variable%=%Path%!=%Five% ? %Path% : %Foo%

Other possible checks:

 ==   equal
 !=   not equal

Calling a system command

You can call external commands. The returned string will be assigned to a variable

 %uservar%=system(scriptname[, parameters])

Calls the script "scriptname" with the parameters defined in the optional list of 'parameters'. This can be an arbitrary expression containing other user variables, but not again a system call or a conditional expression.


 %myVar%=system(/usr/local/bin/, -t %title% -s %subtitle% -u %myOtherVar%) 
The script must return a string B<without> line break!

If the script returns nothing, an empty string will be assigned to the Variable %Result%.

Calling a TCP service

You can call a TCP service with the following syntax:

 %uservar%=connect(<addr>, <port>, [<data>])

This will connect to <addr> through the given port and pass the optional given data. <addr> can be an IP address or the domain name of the TCP service. The result returned by the service must be terminated with a line feed.

Get the length of an argument

When passing any values to the connect or system command it can be helpful to have the length of an argument for simple parsing. This can be done with

 %uservar%=length(<any arguments>)



Possible variables

for a list of already builtin variables refer to the section "Customizing the EPG menus" Furthermore you can use every variable defined in epgsearchcats.conf.

See epgsearchcats.conf(5).


 # Weekday, Date, Time   
 %DateStr%=%time_w% %date% %time%
 # Themes or Subtitle or Date
 %ThemesSubtitleDate1%=%Subtitle% ? %Subtitle% : %DateStr%
 %ThemesSubtitleDate%=%Themes% ? %Themes% : %ThemesSubtitleDate1%
 # Calls this script to get a recording path
 %DocuScript%=system(, -t %Title% -s %Subtitle% -e %Episode% -th %Themes% -c %Category% -g %Genre%)

13. Email notification

If you want to get email notifications about timers added/modified/removed by the search timer thread or about timer conflicts, first copy the script '' to the place where your executables are (e.g. /usr/local/bin) and then configure your email account in the setup. Press 'Test' to check if it works. There should be something like 'Email successfully sent' at the end of the output. The content of the mails is defined by the files

  - epgsearchupdmail.templ (for search timer update notifications)
  - epgsearchconflmail.templ (for timer conflict notifications)

You can find sample files in the 'conf' directory. Copy them to the epgsearch config directory (e.g. /etc/vdr/plugins/epgsearch).

Customizing the notifications mails

The content of the mails can be customized in many ways. You can use plain text or HTML (see the sample conf/epgsearchupdmail-html.templ). For an update mail you have to define the following sections:

  - "subject" to be used as mail subject
  - "mailbody" the body of the mail:
    put %update.newtimers% in the place where the list of new timers should
    appear. The same for %update.modtimers%, %update.deltimers% and 
    %update.newevents% for the list of changed or deleted timers and event
  - "timer" the description of one timer and "event" with the description of
    one event. This section is used to display one timer within a timer list, 
    e.g. in %update.newtimers%. The same for "event".

All sections are optional, e.g. if you don't use event announcements you can drop "%update.newevents%" in the mailbody and the "event" section. But of course you should have at least a mailbody ;-) Each section is enclosed in a pseudo XML tag.

The following variables can be used in the section <mailbody>:

  - %update.newtimers%      - will be replaced with the list of new timers
                              created with this update. The timers are
                              displayed as defined in the section '<timer>'
  - %update.countnewtimers% - the number of new timers
  - %update.modtimers%      - same as %update.newtimers% but for modified
  - %update.countmodtimers% - the number of modified timers
  - %update.deltimers%      - same as %update.newtimers% but for deleted
                              timers. (Note: a deleted timer has eventually
                              no event assigned to it. So all event variables
                              within the timer section will be substituted to
                              an empty string.)
  - %update.countdeltimers% - the number of deleted timers
  - %update.newevents%      - will be replaced with the list of events to 
                              announce. These events are the search result of
                              search timers with the action "announce by mail".
                              The events are displayed as defined in the section
  - %update.countnewevents% - the number of new events
  - %colon%                 - the sign ':'
  - %datenow%               - current date in format TT.MM.YY
  - %dateshnow%             - current date in format TT.MM.
  - %timenow%               - current time in format HH:MM

The following variables can be used in the section <timer>:

  -            - date of the timer
  - %timer.start%           - start time of the timer
  - %timer.stop%            - stop time of the timer
  - %timer.file%            - recording directory of the timer
  - %timer.chnr%            - channel number 
  - %timer.chsh%            - short channel name
  - %timer.chlng%           - channel name
  -          - name of the search timer, that created the timer
  - %timer.searchid%        - id of the search timer, that created the timer
  - %timer.modreason%       - the reason for a timer modification in plain text
  - %timer.liveid%          - encoded timer ID as used in the frontend 'live'
  - any event variable (as in '10. Customizing the EPG menus')
  - any extended EPG variable as defined in epgsearchcats.conf
  - any user variable (as in '12. User defined variables')

The following variables can be used in the section <event>:

  - any event variable (as in '10. Customizing the EPG menus')
  - %search%                - the name of the search timer that triggered
                              this event
  - %searchid%              - the ID of the corresponding search timer
  - any extended EPG variable as defined in epgsearchcats.conf
  - any user variable (as in '12. User defined variables')

For a conflict notification mail the following sections exist:

  - "subject" to be used as mail subject
  - "mailbody" the body of the mail. Put %conflict.conflicts% in the place
    where the list of conflict times should appear (Note: there can be more
    than one timer conflict at the same time!). A conflict time uses the
    section 'conflictsat' to display its content.
  - "conflictsat" the description of one time where one or more conflicts
    exists. Put %conflict.confltimers% in the place where the list of conflict
    timers should appear.
  - "confltimer" the description of one conflicting timer

The following variables can be used in the section <mailbody>:

  - %conflict.count%        - complete number of timer conflicts
  - %conflict.conflicts%    - list of times with conflicting timers

The following variables can be used in the section <conflictsat>:

  -         - date of the conflict
  - %conflict.time%         - time of the conflict
  - %conflict.confltimers%  - list of conflicting timers for this time

The section <conflicttimer> can use the same variables as the section <timer> in an update mail (see above).

14. The conf.d subdirectory

epgsearch supports a configuration mechanism well-known in linux. The settings of the configuration files

  - epgsearchuservars.conf
  - epgsearchdirs.conf
  - epgsearchmenu.conf
  - epgsearchcats.conf

can also be given in a file with arbitrary name in the subdirectory conf.d in <plugin-configuration-directory>/epgsearch. This allows one to quickly test different setups only by exchanging files instead of editing them. The format of these files is

  [<section name>]
  [<section name>]

where <section_name> is one of the following:

  - epgsearchuservars
  - epgsearchdirs
  - epgsearchmenu
  - epgsearchcats

The <settings> format follows the one in the corresponding configuration file. Comments beginning with # are allowed, also blank lines. At startup epgsearch first reads its 'regular' configuration files and then the conf.d subdirectory. It's allowed to overwrite variables already defined in other files (although this is signaled with a warning in epgsearch's log file.).


epgsearch(1), epgsearch.conf(5), epgsearchuservars.con(5), epgsearchdirs.conf(5), epgsearchmenu.conf(5), epgsearchcmds.conf(5)

AUTHOR (man pages)

Mike Constabel <epgsearch (at) constabel (dot) net>


Bug reports (german):

Mailing list:


Copyright (C) 2004-2010 Christian Wieninger

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA Or, point your browser to

The author can be reached at

The project's page is at

The MD5 code is derived from the RSA Data Security, Inc. MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm.