If you have Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate, as well as a compatible TV tuner device, you can use Windows Media Center to watch and record live TV on your computer. Here are answers to some common questions about managing TV shows that you record in Windows Media Center.

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How do I change the default storage settings for my recorded programs?

To set the drive on which to record all programs

  1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recorder Storage.

  2. Under Record on drive, click the - or + button to select the drive that you want to record to. The available disk space on the drive you select will appear below.

    Picture of the Recorder Storage window
    Recorder storage in Windows Media Center is divided four ways: available recording space, live TV pause buffer, recorded TV, and other content.

    You can record TV shows and movies to multiple hard disk partitions on the same computer, or directly to an external drive. If only one hard disk is available, the - and + buttons under Record on drive will be unavailable.

To set the maximum amount of disk space for TV storage

  1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recorder Storage.

  2. Under Maximum TV limit, click the - or + button to change the amount of disk space you want to allocate to recorded TV shows and movies. The disk space range depends on the size of the hard disk or partition that you select under Record on drive.

To set the recording quality

  1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recorder Storage.

  2. Under Recording quality, click the - or + button to change the default quality setting at which all future recordings will record. The quality setting affects the total recording time available on the selected disk drive. For example, if you select Best quality on a disk drive that has a maximum TV limit of 60 gigabytes (GB), you can record about 22 hours of TV, whereas Good quality allows you to record about 42 hours of TV.

How do I delete my recorded TV programs?

Maintaining free hard disk space is important if you want to record new TV programs. Deleting old recordings ensures that there will always be enough disk space available.

To select a default option for deleting recorded TV programs

  1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recording Defaults.

  2. Under Keep, click the - or + button to select an option:

    • Until space needed

    • For 1 week

    • Until I watch

    • Until I delete

  3. Click Save.

To delete a TV program manually

  1. On the start screen, scroll to TV + Movies, and then click recorded tv.

  2. Click the show you want to delete.

  3. On the Program Info screen, click Delete.

  4. Click Yes to confirm that you want to delete the recorded show.

Tip

  • On the Program Info screen for a specific show, you can override many of the recording default settings, including how long you want to keep a program.

Why aren't my programs being recorded?

It might be because the hard disk space selected in Recorder Storage is full. Windows Media Center will not automatically delete recorded programs to create available disk space unless you select Until space needed in the recording defaults, or from a show's Program Info screen. You might need to manually delete some recorded content to create some free disk space for new shows.

What happens when there is no hard disk space available for recording a TV program?

If there is no available hard disk space, Windows Media Center will look for recorded programs that have the setting Until space needed, and delete them to make room for new recordings. If no recording is set to be deleted, the new scheduled show will not be recorded. To prevent this from happening, try adjusting the settings under Recording Defaults, such as the amount of time you want to keep a recorded program, the length of recording time before and after a scheduled broadcast, or the default quality for future recordings. Also, you can store recorded TV programs on an external hard drive if you need more space.

  1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recording Defaults.

  2. Click the - or + buttons to adjust one or all of the settings.

  3. Click Save.

To find out how many hours of recorded TV content can fit on your computer, do the following:

  1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recorder Storage.

  2. Under Record on drive, click the - or + button to select a drive. Windows Media Center automatically displays available storage in both gigabytes (GB) and recording time available. For example, on drive C, Windows Media Center shows 100 GB, which is more than 70 hours of available recording time.

To find out how to create available disk space for a series broadcast, see "What happens to programs that are recorded as part of a TV series?" later in this topic.

How long does Windows Media Center keep my recordings on the hard disk?

It depends on the settings in Recording Defaults, or on a specific recording's Program Info screen. If you select Until I delete, for example, the recording will be kept until you manually delete it.

What happens to programs that are recorded as part of a TV series?

It depends on the settings in Recording Defaults or the series info screen of a specific series. If you select Until space needed, for example, Windows Media Center will automatically delete older recordings of the same series when your hard disk space gets full.

To set the number of recordings to keep in a series

  1. On the start screen, scroll to TV + Movies, click recorded tv, and then click view scheduled.

  2. Click Series.

  3. Click the series name in the list on the right.

  4. Click Series Settings.

  5. Under Keep, select a setting.

How do I cancel recording a series?

To cancel recording a series

  1. On the start screen, scroll to TV + Movies, click recorded tv, and then click view scheduled.

  2. Click Series.

  3. In the list on the right, click the series that you want to stop recording.

  4. Click Cancel Series.

  5. Click Yes to confirm that you want to cancel recording the series.

How can I change recording settings for future recordings?

You can change the default settings for future recordings on the Recording Defaults screen.

To control when shows are deleted

  1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recording Defaults.

  2. Under Keep, click the - or + button to adjust settings. Scroll through the options and select how long you want each recorded show to remain on your computer.

    For more information about the various options, see Record TV in Windows Media Center.

To change the quality of the recording

The image quality of the recording determines not only how a program will look, but how much space it will use on your hard disk. For example, the Best quality option records TV with the clearest and most detailed image, but it also creates the largest file size and leaves less space for other recordings.

  1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recording Defaults.

  2. Under Quality, click the - or + button to select the desired image quality: Fair, Good, Better, or Best.

    Note

    • High-definition TV programs in Windows Media Center can only be recorded at the highest quality settings in order to retain the picture and audio quality. Therefore, the file size of a high-definition show is larger than the file size of a standard-definition show at Best quality. For more information about recording high-definition content in Windows Media Center, see TV on your computer: Understanding TV signals and TV tuners.

To select a preferred audio language

  1. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, click settings, click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recording Defaults.

  2. Under Preferred Audio Language, click the - or + button to select either English or Any language.

What is copy protection and how does it affect me?

To prevent unauthorized distribution, some digital media files are protected with media usage rights. The rights specify how you can use the file—for example, whether you can sync the file to a portable device or play it on another computer. The terms of the rights are specified by the person or company that provided the file or the TV broadcaster that provided the content. Windows Media Center cannot play protected files unless you download rights for that content.

There are different ways to acquire media usage rights, but the most common way is to download them from content providers (such as record companies). The content provider might issue rights when you download the file. Otherwise, when you play a file that you do not have the rights for, Windows Media Center attempts to acquire them automatically or prompts you to acquire them.

Additionally, some TV content might be marked as protected by the TV content owner, broadcaster, or originator. The terms of the content protection are specified by the content provider and transmitted with the TV show. If you record the show, the content protection terms are stored with the recorded TV file and enforced upon playback.

Some shows or portions of a recorded show might be restricted to play on the Windows Media Center that they were recorded on. If you attempt to play the recorded TV file on another computer, you are notified that it is restricted content and you cannot play it.

In addition, some protected media files or portions of files might have media usage rights that expire after a specified amount of time. If you try to access the media file after the rights expire, you are notified that the media file is no longer available. To play some protected content, you might need to adjust your display settings or connection types. For more information, see Troubleshoot problems with playing DVDs and movies or contact your hardware manufacturer.

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 card, you might be able to add one. For information about obtaining a TV tuner card, see Get help for your TV tuner card or contact your computer manufacturer.