Electronic Program Guide: How Does It Work?

EPG is short for Electronic Program Guide, and it’s basically a screen guide with an interactive feel. You’ll usually see it on websites, mobile apps, and set-top boxes. Most of us refer to it simply as a “TV Guide” and cord-cutters typically use it to watch live TV.

An Electronic Program Guide can also come in handy when you want to channel surf on your IPTV.

Read on as we explore the interesting world of EPGs and what it can do for cord-cutters who use devices like Fire TV Cube, Fire TV and Amazon Firestick, etc.


An Electronic Program Guide is a cheaper cable television service for internet use. It enables you to watch cable TV channels on a mobile streaming device. This means you don’t have to wait until you get home to catch up on your favorite cable shows.

IPTV services typically offer a variety of exclusive content, including pay-per-view sporting events and professional sports season passes for basketball, baseball, football, and hockey, to name but a few.

With each IPTV service comes an EPG that makes it easier to find your favorite content.

A paid IPTV service is preferable if you want to enjoy a smooth, non-buffering experience. The best part about paid IPTV services is that they offer great value for money by providing thousands of live HD TV channels.

What is Electronic Program Guide?

An Electronic Program Guide can also be referred to as an electronic service guide or ESG for short. It gives you a complete list of all available programs, including titles, descriptions, genre, the network it’s on and show times among other details. This information used to be available on a printed TV guide, but now we can access it from our mobile devices thanks to the EPG.

However, not all EPGs are created equal. Some only show content that’s currently playing, while others allow you to “see into the future” by showing you scheduled programs that haven’t started playing yet. The latter variety will even provide you with detailed suggestions on what shows to watch based on your preferences.

EPG Features

epg features

A basic EPG typically comes with these features:

  • Grid GUI or graphical user interface
  • A list of the available channels, along with airing schedules for all their programs
  • Customization tools
  • Search options
  • Genre organized channels

Depending on your service provider, your EPG may also offer pay-per-view options, DVR recording, parental controls, and more. Some radio stations publish their EPG in order to attract listeners.

You can easily find an Electronic Program Guide on all the popular IPTV Players such as Perfect Player, TiviMate and others.

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How Does EPG Work?

There are two main components in an EPG; data operating software and the actual data which is used to constantly update the EPG.

If you’re using a set-top box then your data will be kept in a DRAM so that you’re able to see all upcoming programs. You may have to expand your set-top box memory with RAM in order to improve functioning and processing.

Types of EPG

EPGs come in three main types:

  • You have the interactive EPG which comes with several channels and features such as navigation, parental control, and DVR recording.
  • Multiple channel EPG which means the EPG shows more than one channel.
  • Single-channel EPGs only show programs from one specific channel.

Non-interactive EPGs aren’t as popular as interactive EPGs because they don’t offer the same level of convenience as the latter.

EPG Pros and Cons

epg iptv

In addition to viewing current and upcoming shows, an Electronic Program Guide allows you to effortlessly organize your programs. Not only that, but an EPG also makes it easier to enjoy DVR-enabled IPTV services.

The issue is that your EPG may not work as well as your neighbors because they’re not all the same. There have been some reports of EPGs that struggle to update program information when a channel makes last-minute changes to its schedule, and some are not as user-friendly as others.

EPG Future

The future looks bright for EPGs, as cable TV operators and IPTV services look poised to continue developing this technology.

This is evidenced by features that have been added to the latest models, such as previews and trailers. Consumers can look forward to AI-enabled and ultra-customized EPGs in the future.

What do you like about Electronic Program Guides? Let us know in the comments area below!


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