Watching TV in Windows Media Center


If your computer has the necessary hardware, you can use Windows Media Center to watch, pause, and rewind live and recorded TV programs on your PC.

Live TV option in Windows Media Center
Watch live TV in Windows Media Center

To troubleshoot problems with watching live TV, see Watching TV in Windows Media Center: frequently asked questions.

To find the TV shows that are on now or later, check out the listings in the Guide. The Guide displays information about all TV programs that are available for you to watch or record. For more information, see Use the Guide in Windows Media Center.

To watch live TV in Media Center, you need two things:

  • A TV tuner (a device that can be connected to your computer through an internal expansion slot or an external expansion port, such as a USB port)

  • A TV signal source (such as from a TV antenna or a cable TV jack)

If you don't have a TV tuner or don't want to buy one, you might be able to use Media Center to watch Internet TV (TV shows that are streamed over the Internet) depending on which region you live in.

There are two primary ways to control Media Center: with a mouse and keyboard, or with a Media Center remote control. Most of the procedures in this topic refer to the mouse and keyboard method, but the remote control method is often a more satisfactory experience. There are many types of Media Center remote controls available to buy—make sure that the one you want is compatible with your computer.

Playback controls in Windows Media Center
The playback controls when using a mouse to control Media Center
Show all

To watch live TV

  1. Click the Start button Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Media Center.
  2. To begin watching live TV, do one of the following:

    • On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to TV, and then click Live TV.

    • On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to TV, click Guide, locate the TV show that you want to watch, and then click a show that's currently airing.

  3. To control playback of live TV, move the mouse so that the playback controls appear, and then do any of the following:

    • Click the Pause‌ button Pause button to temporarily pause the program. You can keep a program paused for about 40 minutes. When you're ready to resume the program where you left off, click the Play‌ button Play button.
    • Move the slider that appears above the playback controls to a different point to start watching from that point in the TV show.

    • Click the Skip BackwardSkip Backward button button or the Rewind button to watch something again, and click the Skip ForwardSkip Forward button button or the Fast Forward button to move ahead in the program.
    • Click the Volume Increase button Volume Increase button or the Volume Decrease button Volume Decrease button to increase or decrease the volume, and click the Mute button Mute button to turn the sound on or off.
    • Click the Channel Decrease button Channel Decrease button or the Channel Increase button Channel Increase button to go down one channel or up one channel, respectively.
    • Click the Pause‌ button Pause button, and then click the Skip ForwardSkip Forward button button repeatedly to move forward frame-by-frame.
    • Click the Pause‌ button Pause button, and then click the Fast Forward button one, two, three, or four times to move forward at different speeds.
  4. When you're finished watching live TV, move the mouse, and then click the Stop‌ button Stop button.

Note

  • Some of the playback controls might not be available depending on the size of your Media Center window. To see all the playback controls, increase the size of the window, or go to full-screen mode by clicking the Maximize button Maximize button in the upper-right corner.

To watch live TV using a Media Center remote

  1. To use a Media Center remote to begin watching TV, do one of the following:

    • On the remote, press the LIVE TV button.

    • Press the GUIDE button, locate the TV show that you want to watch, and then press the OK button.

  2. To control playback of live TV, do any of the following:

    • Press the CH + button or the CH - button to go up one channel or down one channel, respectively.

    • Press the ENTER button to quickly go back to the last channel you were watching.

    • Press the FWD button or the SKIP button to move ahead in the program.

    • Press the REW button or the REPLAY button to watch something again.

  3. When you're finished watching live TV, press the STOP button.

To find movies that are scheduled to be broadcast

  1. Click the Start button Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Media Center.
  2. To find movies that are airing on TV, do one of the following:

    • On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Movies, and then click Movie guide.

    • On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Movies, click Search, choose a search category (such as Movie Director), and then enter your search criteria.

Note

  • An analog or digital TV tuner is required to play and record live TV in Windows Media Center. If your computer did not come with a TV tuner, you might be able to add one. For more information about obtaining a TV tuner, see Get help for your TV tuner or contact your computer manufacturer.



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