Get started with Windows Media Center

You can use Windows Media Center, a home entertainment center 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 analog 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 info 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, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.)

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

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Make 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, and 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, and then tap or click Set Up Your Speakers.

  2. Choose your speaker configuration, and then play a chime sound to test it. Listen closely to each individual speaker to make sure 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, and then tap or click Set Up TV Signal.

Make sure your shows get recorded

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

  • Set recording priorities. Media Center will choose which shows 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 programs 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, and 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 there's enough space on your drive. You need to have enough space on your PC's drive to store your recorded programs. 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 shows, 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, and 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 shows, but it can only save recorded TV shows to the drive specified in Recorder Storage.

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

    • 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 your PC is turned on or your laptop battery has a full charge. Media Center can record a show when your PC is in sleep or hibernate mode, but it won’t record anything if your PC is turned off.

  • Check the history recording to see why a show didn't get 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, and then tap or click History.

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

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

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

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