tv_imdb - Man Page

Augment XMLTV listings files with data.


tv_imdb --imdbdir <dir> [--help] [--quiet] [--download]
      [--movies-only] [--filesort] [--nosystemsort]
      [--prepStage (1-9,all)]

tv_imdb --imdbdir <dir> [--help] [--quiet]
      [--with-keywords] [--with-plot]
      [--movies-only] [--actors NUMBER]
      [--stats] [--debug]
      [--output FILE] [FILE...]

tv_imdb --imdbdir <dir>
       --validate-title 'movie title'
       --validate-year 2004
       [--with-keywords] [--with-plot]


tv_imdb is very similar to tv_cat in semantics (see tv_cat), except whenever a programme appears with "date" entry the title and date are used to look up extra data using XMLTV::IMDB.

--output FILE write to FILE rather than standard output.

--with-keywords include IMDb keywords in the output file.

--with-plot include IMDb plot summary in the output file.

--actors NUMBER number of actors from IMDb to add (default=3).

--quiet disable all status messages (that normally appear on stderr).

--download try to download data files if they are missing (in --prepStage).

--stats output grab stats (stats output disabled in --quiet mode).

--debug output info from movie matching

--movies-only only augment programs that look like movie listings (4 digit 'date' field).

All programs are checked against data (unless --movies-only is used).

For the purposes of tv_imdb, an "exact" match is defined as a case insensitive match against data (which may or may not include the transformation of '&' to 'and' and vice-versa.

If the program includes a 4 digit 'date' field the following matches are attempted, with the first successful match being used:

1. an "exact" title/year match against movie titles is done

2. an "exact" title match against tv series (and tv mini series)

3. an "exact" title match against movie titles with production dates within 2 years of the 'date' value.

Unless --movies-only is used, if the program does not include a 4 digit 'date' field the following matches are attempted, the first succeeding match is used:

1. an "exact" title match against tv series (and tv mini series)

When a match is found in the data the following is applied:

1. the 'title' field is set to match exactly the title from the data. This includes modification of the case to match and any transformations mentioned above.

2. if the match is a movie, the 'date' field is set to 4 digit year of production.

3. the type of match found (Movie, TV Movie, Video Movie, TV Series, or TV Mini Series) is placed in the 'categories' field.

4. the url to the page is added

5. the director is added if the match was a movie or if only one director is listed in the data (because some tv series have > 30 directors)

6. the top 3 billing actors are added (use -actors [num] to adjust).

7. genres added to 'categories' field (current list of genres are Short, Drama, Comedy, Documentary, Animation, Adult, Action, Family, Romance, Crime, Thriller, Musical, Adventure, Western, Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, War, Film-Noir, Music

8. imdb user ratings added to 'star-ratings' field.

9. imdb keywords added to 'keyword' fields (if --with-keywords used).

10. imdb plot summary is added (if --with-plot used).

HOWTO In order to use tv_imdb, you need

1. choose a directory location to use for the tv_imdb database (you'll need about 1 GB of free space),

2a. run 'tv_imdb --imdbdir <dir> --prepStage all --download' to download the list files from  Or,

2b If you have a slow network connection you may prefer to omit the '--download' flag and be prompted for what you need to download by hand.  See <> for the download sites. Then once you have the files rerun without '--download'.

Note: '--prepStage' requires up to 520MB of memory. This can be reduced a little  by running each prepStage separately, using --prepStage with each of the stages individually (see --help for details). Memory use can be reduced further by using --filesort option when building the database. This will try to use the operating system to sort the interim data files  rather than sorting in memory. If this system sort does not work for you then you can use the File::Sort package if it is installed on your system, by also adding the  option --nosystemsort (however this method of sorting is very slow). If you specify  neither option then Perl will sort the files in memory.

If you are only interested in movies, you can reduce the memory required and the  size of the database by passing the --movies-only option to the database build, which will exclude tv-series from the database.

3. Once you have the database loaded try 'cat tv.xml | tv_imdb --imdbdir <dir> > tv1.xml'.

Feel free to report any problems with these steps at


The --validate-title and --validate-year flags can be used to validate the information in the tv_imdb database. For exmple:

   tv_imdb --imdbdir . --validate-title 'Army of Darkness' --validate-year 1994


Could use a --configure step just like the grabbers so you do not have to specify the --imdbdir on the command line every time. Also this could step you through the prep stages with more description of what is being done and what is required. Configure could also control the number of actors to add (since some movies have an awful lot), currently we are adding the top 3.

How and what to look up needs to be option driven.

Needs some more controls for fine tuning "close" matches. For instance, currently it looks like the North America grabber only has date entries for movies, but the data contains made for video movies as well as as real movies, so it's possible to get the wrong data to be inserted. In this case we may want to say "ignore tv series" and "ignore tv mini series".  Along with this, we'd want to define what a "close" match is. For instance does a movie by the same title with a date out by 1 year or 2 years considered a match (currently we're using 2).

Nice to haves include: verification/addition of programme MPAA/VCHIP ratings, addition of user ratings (by votes) to programmes. Potentially we could expand to include "country of origin", "description", "writer" and "producer" credits, maybe even "commentator".

Heh, if the XMLTV.dtd supported it, we could even include urls to head shots of the actors :)

See Also



Jerry Veldhuis,


2024-02-24 perl v5.38.2 User Contributed Perl Documentation