Getting started with Windows Media Center

You can use Windows Media Center, a home entertainment centre in Windows, to watch and record live TV, create slide shows of your photos, listen to songs in your music library, and play CDs and DVDs.

Some editions of Windows include Windows Media Center. If you don't have Windows Media Center, follow these steps to get the Windows Media Center Pack. Note that you need an analogue or digital TV tuner to play and record live TV. A TV tuner is a hardware device that lets you connect a TV signal to your PC. If your PC didn't come with a TV tuner, you might be able to add one.

Set up Windows Media Center

Connect your PC to your TV or a monitor, and the first time you start Media Center, you'll see a setup page with information about various features, as well as a couple of different setup options. If you want the quickest setup, choose the Express option. If you want to set up Media Center with more options, choose Custom setup.

To open Windows Media Center

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the bottom-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, then click Search.)

  2. Enter Windows Media Center in the search box, then tap or click Windows Media Center.

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Making Windows Media Center look great on your display

  1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, tap or click Settings, tap or click General, tap or click Windows Media Center Setup, then tap or click Configure your TV or monitor.

  2. Choose the display settings you want to change, such as aspect ratio, brightness or contrast.

Set up your speakers

  1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, tap or click Settings, tap or click General, tap or click Windows Media Center Setup, then tap or click Set up your speakers.

  2. Choose your speaker configuration, then play a chime sound to test it. Listen closely to each individual speaker to make sure that it's receiving a signal.

Notes

  • If you're not getting any sound at all, check whether all cables are plugged in correctly and that the volume on both your speakers and your PC is turned up.

  • If your PC is connected to a TV, the video card or the type of cable you're using might not support audio signals. You might need to connect the sound card in your PC directly to your speakers.

Set up a TV signal

If you have a compatible TV tuner, you can connect a TV signal to your PC to watch and record live TV.

  • On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, tap or click Settings, tap or click General, tap or click Windows Media Center Setup, then tap or click Set up TV signal.

Make sure that your programmes get recorded

Here are some actions you can take to help make sure that your programmes are recorded successfully.

  • Set recording priorities. Media Center will choose which programmes to record when there are scheduling conflicts based on the priorities you set. If you have frequent recording conflicts, consider adding an additional TV tuner to your PC so you can record two TV programmes on different channels at the same time. Here's how to set priorities:

    1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, open TV.

    2. Tap or click Recorded TV, tap or click View scheduled, tap or click Series, then choose Change Priorities.

    3. Use the Up and Down arrows to move a scheduled series up or down in the priority list of the series.

    4. Tap or click Done.

    Note

    • When you schedule a new series, it's automatically added to the bottom of the list with the lowest priority, so you might want to move it up in the priority list if it's important to you.

  • Make sure that there's enough space on your drive. You need to have enough space on your PC's drive to store your recorded programmes. If there isn't enough space, you won't be able to record everything you want. To create more space, you can delete previously recorded programmes, add more storage (such as an external drive) or increase the amount of space used by Media Center. Here's how:

    1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, open Tasks, tap or click Settings, tap or click TV, tap or click Recorder, tap or click Recorder Storage, then, under Maximum TV limit, tap or click the plus (+) or minus (-) button to increase or decrease the limit for recorded TV on the drive.

    2. Tap or click Save.

      Note

      • Media Center can monitor multiple drives for recorded TV programmes, but it can only save recorded TV programmes to the drive specified in Recorder Storage.

  • Make sure that the TV signal is available. If you're not getting a TV signal in Media Center, make sure that:

    • All of the cables are connected

    • The TV signal from your provider is working (contact your provider)

    • Your TV tuner is working (get the latest driver)

    You can also try restarting your PC.

  • Make sure that your PC is turned on or your laptop battery is fully charged. Media Center can record a programme when your PC is in sleep or hibernate mode, but it won't record anything if your PC is turned off.

  • Check the recording history to see why a programme wasn't recorded. Here's how:

    1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to TV, tap or click Recorded TV, tap or click View scheduled, then tap or click History.

    2. Tap or click Sort By Date, Sort By Status or Sort By Title to organise the list.

      The status for each programme is listed next to the title.

      Tap or click the title of the programme for more details on the recording status.