Demo: Setting up a TV tuner and digital video recorder with Windows Media Center

Snapshot from this demo

Watch this demo to learn how to add an inexpensive TV tuner to your PC so you can watch and record your favorite TV shows using Windows Media Center.




Show all

Read the transcript

Did you know you can watch and record your favorite TV shows on your PC using Windows Media Center?

Hi, I’m Ben Reed from the Windows Media Center team and I’m going to show you how you can turn your PC running Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate into a TV and DVR by adding an inexpensive TV tuner.

Now, some PCs come with TV tuners installed. If yours doesn’t, you can add one. But don’t worry, you don’t need to take your PC apart. Now there are a number of options like this USB tuner. If you do need to buy one, make sure it's certified for Windows Vista.

So what is a TV tuner? Well, it’s a device that can receive TV signals over the air or from your cable provider and then, with Windows Media Center, turn your PC into a TV and powerful DVR.

Here’s how to install a USB TV tuner on your computer.

First, turn on your PC or laptop. If your tuner came with an installation CD, like this one did, place it in your CD drive and follow the on-screen instructions.

Next, locate an unused USB port on your computer and plug in the tuner.

Some USB TV tuners come with extension cables like this one, which can be used if the tuner blocks an adjacent USB slot.

Now connect the other end of your tuner to your cable TV source. If you don't have cable TV, then you can use a rooftop antenna or a portable antenna like the one provided with this tuner.

Next, start Windows Media Center. Click the Start button and open the program. If you don’t see it listed, type Windows media center into the search box. I’m using the keyboard to navigate the set up. If you have a remote, you can use that.

To complete the TV tuner set up, scroll down to Tasks, select Settings, then TV, and then select Set-up a TV Signal. Then confirm your region and follow the on-screen instructions to automatically set up your TV signal. The program will scan for signals and notify you when finished.

Next, you can download the free Electronic Programming Guide, which allows you to see up to 2 weeks of guide data. You can sort by categories such as HDTV, movies, news, sports and kids’ shows in order to quickly and easily find what you want to watch or record.

And recording something is as simple as selecting it. Notice that a red dot appears when I select this show. I’m now recording it. And recording the whole series is just another click of a button.

I can also select a live TV show, pause it, rewind, and then start it again. I can even play in slow motion. So that’s the TV tuner set-up process.

This set-up uses cable as a source, but Windows Media Center also supports many other scenarios, including HD digital cable, over-the-air digital, and even satellite set top boxes. Satellite will require a few extra steps to set up. To learn more, visit or from the Windows Start menu, click Help & Support, and then search for "tuner."