Set up a Windows Media Center Extender device

You can set up a Windows Media Center Extender so that you can enjoy digital media on your Windows Media Center computer in a variety of places. To enjoy your digital media files in your home by using an Extender, you need to make sure that your Extender and Windows Media Center computer are connected to your home network. For general information about Windows Media Center Extenders and the different types of Extenders, see Play your digital media anywhere in the home.

The following image shows add extender selected in Tasks.

Picture of the add extender option selected
The add extender option is selected

This topic explains how to connect a Windows Media Center Extender—either wirelessly or wired (through an Ethernet connection)—to your home network, and then how to set up and configure an Extender.

If you want to control Windows Media Center with a remote control, an optional Windows Media Center remote control is required.

If your computer has no TV tuner, an optional analog or digital TV tuner is required to play and record TV in Windows Media Center.

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To connect an Extender to a wired network

You can connect your Windows Media Center Extender using an Ethernet cable to connect the Extender to your home network, creating a wired connection. This type of connection provides fast and reliable networking and is recommended over a wireless connection. If you have the choice to connect your Extender wirelessly or using a wired connection, you should choose a wired connection for better performance. For more information about what you need to set up a home network and the pros and cons of the different types of network connections, see What you need to set up a home network.

  1. Plug one end of an Ethernet cable into an Ethernet port on your router, hub, or switch.

  2. Plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into the Ethernet port on your Extender.

  3. Plug the power cord of the Extender in.

  4. Check and make sure the network activity light for the Ethernet cable that is plugged into the Extender is on.

Connect an Extender to a wireless network

You can use a wireless connection to connect the Extender device to your home network. This type of connection provides a way for you to connect your Media Center Extender device to your home network without running Ethernet cables throughout your home. For more information about what you need to set up a home network and the pros and cons of the different types of network connections, see What you need to set up a home network.

When connecting to a wireless network, the Extender tries to connect silently without any action on your part. However, if the wireless network has security protocols enabled, such as a Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) key or a Wi‑Fi Protected Access (WPA) password, you must provide this security information manually to the Extender. The three most common security features required by the Extender to connect to a wireless network are:

  • A network name (also known as an SSID).

  • A WEP key.

  • A WPA password.

Only two of these items are needed: the network name and either the WEP key or the WPA passphrase.

To locate this information, refer to the configuration software for your wireless network hardware. Each wireless network hardware manufacturer has configuration software where the network name and other security features are defined. For more information about the different types of wireless network security methods, see What are the different wireless network security methods?

For more information about the network name, security features, or the configuration software for the wireless network, refer to the documentation that came with your network or contact the network hardware manufacturer.

  1. If you use security protocols for your wireless network, use the configuration software for your network to locate the wireless network name (SSID) of your network and any security key (WEP key or WPA password) your network uses.

  2. If necessary, disconnect your Extender from the wired network by removing the Ethernet cable from the network port on the back of the Extender, and then turn off the Extender.

  3. Restart the Media Center Extender device.

  4. After the Extender restarts, it will connect to the wireless network.

  5. Follow the instructions on the screen or consult the manual that came with your Extender to enter any necessary wireless security settings.

Set up Xbox 360 as a Windows Media Center Extender

If you have an Xbox 360 connected to a home network that also has a Windows Media Center, you can add your Xbox 360 as a Media Center Extender device so that you can enjoy the digital media on your Windows Media Center computer by using Xbox 360. For more information, see Xbox 360 online.

  1. Turn on your Windows Media Center computer and log on to Windows. Verify that your computer is connected to your home network.

  2. Turn on your Xbox 360 and verify that it is connected to your home network.

  3. In Windows Media Center, on the Start screen, scroll to Tasks, and then click add extender.

  4. On the Welcome to Windows Media Center Extender Setup screen in Windows Media Center, click Next.

  5. On your Xbox 360, use your Xbox 360 controller to scroll to My Xbox, and then select Windows Media Center.

    Note

    • If you have the old Xbox 360 dashboard, you can find the Extender settings on the media blade.

  6. On your Xbox 360, follow the instructions on the screen to obtain an 8-digit Windows Media Center Setup Key. Write down this 8-digit setup key. This is the key that you will use to affiliate your Xbox 360 with your computer that has Windows Media Center.

    You do not need to download any additional software because the Extender functionality is built into Windows Media Center.

  7. On the Enter the Setup Key screen in Windows Media Center, use the Windows Media Center remote control or keyboard to enter the 8-digit setup key that displays on Xbox 360, and then click Next.

  8. Follow the steps in Extender Setup.

    Several changes are automatically made to your Windows Media Center computer during the Extender Setup, including changes to the Windows Firewall settings. For more information about Windows Firewall, see Windows Firewall: recommended links. During this time, the Windows Media Center Extender service (which is named mcx2svc) starts on your computer, along with other dependent services.

    If you have a firewall running on your computer that is not the Windows Firewall, make sure that the firewall software is set up to allow Xbox 360 to connect to your Windows Media Center computer as a Windows Media Center Extender. Some firewalls are already set up to allow Xbox 360 to connect to a Windows Media Center computer as a Media Center Extender. However, other firewalls will require you to make changes to how the firewall software is set up. For more information about which firewalls are already set up to allow a Media Center Extender connection, as well as information about how to set up other firewalls to work with a Windows Media Center Extender such as Xbox 360, go to the Firewalls and Media Center Extender article on the Microsoft website.

  9. After Extender Setup has finished, in Windows Media Center, click Finish.

    On the TV that is connected to Xbox 360, the Windows Media Center user interface appears. You can then enjoy live TV, recorded TV, pictures, music, videos, and other digital media on your Xbox 360 as you would in Windows Media Center. A new user account named mcx1 (by default) is automatically created to use the Extender.

Set up a Windows Media Center Extender device

You will be able to connect certain consumer electronic devices to your home network, so that the device can be used as a Windows Media Center Extender. For example, some networked TVs or DVD players will be available to use as a Windows Media Center Extender. These types of Extender devices will be available in the future. Many devices that have Extender functionality will come with a remote control that has a Windows Media Center Green Start button Picture of the Green Start button on the remote control .

You will be able to enjoy digital media content that is stored on your Windows Media Center computer from anywhere in your home by using the Extender after it is connected to your home network.

  1. Turn on your Windows Media Center computer and log onto Windows. Verify that your computer is connected to your home network.

  2. Turn on your Extender and verify that it is connected to your home network.

  3. Press the Green Start button Picture of the Green Start button on the remote control that appears on your Extender remote control or on the front panel of the Extender device.
  4. Follow the instructions that appear on the TV or monitor for your Extender to obtain an 8-digit Windows Media Center Setup Key. Write down this 8-digit setup key. This is the key that you will use to affiliate your Extender with your computer that has Windows Media Center.

  5. In Windows Media Center, on the start screen, scroll to Tasks, and then click add extender.

  6. On the Welcome to Windows Media Center Extender Setup screen in Windows Media Center, click Next.

  7. In Windows Media Center, on the Enter the Setup Key screen, use the Windows Media Center remote control or keyboard to enter the 8-digit setup key that you wrote down, and then click Next.

  8. Follow the steps in Extender Setup.

    Several changes are automatically made to your Windows Media Center computer during the Extender Setup, including changes to the Windows Firewall. For more information about Windows Firewall, see Windows Firewall: recommended links. During this time, the Windows Media Center Extender service (which is named mcx2svc) starts on your computer, along with other dependent services.

    If you have a firewall running on your computer that is not the Windows Firewall, make sure that the firewall software is set up to allow Xbox 360 to connect to your Windows Media Center computer as a Windows Media Center Extender. Some firewalls are already set up to allow Xbox 360 to connect to a Windows Media Center computer as a Media Center Extender. However, other firewalls will require you to make changes to how the firewall software is set up. For more information about which firewalls are already set up to allow a Media Center Extender connection, as well as information about how to set up other firewalls to work with a Windows Media Center Extender such as Xbox 360, go to the Firewalls and Media Center Extender article on the Microsoft website.

  9. After Extender Setup has finished, in Windows Media Center, click Finish.

    On the TV that is connected to your Extender, the Windows Media Center user interface appears. You can then enjoy live TV, recorded TV, pictures, music, videos, and other digital media on your Extender as you would in Windows Media Center. A new user account named mcx1 (by default) is automatically created to use the Extender.