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This is a node module which connects, reads and interprets the Sky Gnome protocol. You find the module listed in the official node package manager repo:
Every retail Sky set-top-box pumps out a bunch of information about it's current state over a serial interface. If you pull the box out and look at the back panel, you will see an RS-232 interface port. Now, unless you bought your computer in the last century, you won't have a native RS-232 port, but luckily you can buy an RS-232-to-USB cable for around the same cost as a cup of coffee.
Plug one end into the set-top-box, the other into your computer (after you install the drivers that come with the cable), run this code and - hey presto - you will get lots of dynamic, contextual, JSON about the current channel, programme and set top box state.
Why does the box make this information available? Well it all stems back to a connected speaker they used to sell called Sky Gnome. Alas, these speakers are no more, but the Gnome protocol is still there and even the new boxes are still sending lots of useful data over the serial interface.
I am unclear if this works only on Sky UK boxes. I suspect it will work across all the Sky European boxes at least, but have no evidence either way. If you know, then please do get in touch and share this information.
NOTE: When you buy the cable, make sure you get one without the two female ended nuts either side of the pins (or at least with removable nuts). There are nuts like these around the port on the box itself - so, if the cable has them too, it ain't gonna fit.
This plugin is available under the MIT license. Please respect the terms of the license.
This software is released with the karmaware tag
I've done best efforts testing on my own set top box. If you find any problems, do let me know by raising an issue here. Better still, create a fix for the problem too and drop in the changes; that way everyone can benefit from it.
This project assumes you are familiar with the whole nodejs thing.
npm install sky-gnome
This plug relies on the serialport node module - but this is all taken care of for you by the node package manager. You just need to install this sky-gnome module.
Here is a simple example of using this node module:
console;console;consolevar stop = false;process;const SkyGnome = ;var stb = '/dev/cu.usbserial'; // the path to your serail interfacestb;
When you try this for yourself, you need to know the path to your serial-to-USB interface. On my Mac, this is 'dev/cu.usbserial' - but on your computer this may be in a different place. The documentation that came with your cable should detail it's exact location.
Here is a breakdown of all the data that you can expect to receive from the set top box. NOTE: You will not get all this data, all the time. It arrives in logical bunches depending upon the triggering action which occurred on the box. Play with it for a while and you will see how it all works.
|received||date||When the message was received from the set top box|
|channel.*||Information about the current channel|
|channel.number||int||Three digit channel number|
|channel.name||string||Channel name as per in the EPG|
|program.*||Information about the current programme|
|program.title||string||Name of the current programme|
|program.synopsis||string||Description of the current programme|
|program.episode||int||Total number of episodes|
|program.duration||int||Programme duration in minutes|
|program.year||int||Year of production|
|program.warnings||array of string||Content warnings (see below)|
|showing.*||Information about the current programme showing|
|showing.started||date||When the current programme began|
|showing.attributes||array of string||Content attributes (see below)|
|epg.*||The raw as received data from the Gnome protocol|
|epg.channel||string||Channel number - the raw as received data|
|epg.started||string||Programme start time - the raw as received data|
|epg.title||string||Programme name - the raw as received data|
|epg.description||string||Programme description - the raw as received data|
|system.*||Information about the current state of the set top box|
|system.message||string||A user message from the set top box|
|system.trickplay||string||Sky+ actions like rewind, pause, playback, et al|
|system.pin||boolean||T = pin required, F = pin not required|
|system.power||boolean||T = powered on, F = powered off|
|system.interactive||boolean||T = entered interactive, F = left interactive|
|system.other||array of string||As yet unmapped actions (none expected)|
Here is the full list of items you may see in the showing.attributes property:
- audio description
- copy protected
- dolby stereo
- high definition
- sign language
- ultra high definition
Here is the full list of items you may see in the program.warnings property:
- strong language
- flashing images
- violent scenes
- sex or nudity
- mature themes
- mono sound only
You may notice that the data coming back from this node module, goes beyond that which the Gnome protocol makes available by itself. That is because this module extracts additional information from within the body of the synopsis. Sky has a habit of packing stuff in there. For example:
A ragtag group of rebels embark on a daring, against-all-odds mission to thwart the planet-destroying plans of the Empire. Thrilling fantasy adventure with Felicity Jones. (2016)(128 mins)
As you can see here, we have the year of production and the running time within the synopsis text. This node module pulls stuff like this out via some regex magic and makes it available directly. It also, removes them from the synopsis to give a cleaner content descriptor. It does some other useful stuff too, like rejoining long titles that have been split into the synopsis with trailing ellipses.
Despite all this goodness, if you just want the original data as received via the Gnome protocol, then that is present too within the 'epg' portion of the JSON document.
Finally, here is an example of the JSON documents you can expect:
received: '2018-02-04T23:14:04.591Z'channel:number: 311name: 'Sky ScFi/HorHD'program:title: 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'synopsis: 'A ragtag group of rebels embark on a daring, against-all-odds mission to thwart the planet-destroying plans of the Empire. Thrilling fantasy adventure with Felicity Jones.'season: nullepisodes: nullepisode: nullduration: 128year: 2016warnings:showing:started: '2018-02-04T21:00:00.000Z'attributes:epg:channel: '311'started: '9.00pm'title: 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'description: 'A ragtag group of rebels embark on a daring, against-all-odds mission to thwart the planet-destroying plans of the Empire. Thrilling fantasy adventure with Felicity Jones. (2016)(128 mins)'system:message: nulltrickplay: nullpin: nullpower: nullinteractive: nullother:
– Pete Rai