With Windows Media Center, you can record live TV shows and movies directly onto your computer. You can even schedule a recording in advance, or automatically record new episodes of your favorite TV series.

Picture of the recorded tv screen
Browse recorded content in Windows Media Center

With an optional Windows Media Center remote control, you can schedule recordings and play back your recorded content from across the room. If you do not have a Windows Media Center remote, you can use a mouse and keyboard to access the on-screen transport controls.

Picture of transport controls
The transport controls in Windows Media Center
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To record a live TV show or movie

You can choose to record a TV show or movie that is currently airing. When you do this, the show is recorded from the moment you start recording. (For example: If you are halfway through watching a show before you start recording it, the recording will not include the first half.)

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

  2. While a program is airing, move the mouse, and then click Record on the transport controls.

To schedule recordings in the Guide

You can quickly schedule recordings while browsing the Guide for upcoming TV shows and movies.

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

  2. Right-click the program that you want to record, and then click Record to schedule a recording of the program.

To schedule recordings using Search

You can search in Windows Media Center to find a TV show or movie that you want to record.

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

  2. Click the category you want to search by (such as Title), then follow the instructions to initiate a search.

  3. On the search results screen, click the TV show or movie that you want to record, and then click Record to schedule a recording of the program.

To set general recording options

You can change the default settings for your recordings, such as the quality at which a program will be recorded. These settings will not apply to recordings that you scheduled before adjusting the settings.

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

  2. Click TV, click Recorder, and then click Recording Defaults.

  3. In Keep, click - or + to set parameters for automatically deleting recorded content.

  4. In Quality, click - or + to select the quality at which the TV show will be recorded.

  5. In Start when possible, specify the time to start recording. You can choose to start recording On Time or up to four minutes before the scheduled start time of the show. However, if there are two recordings scheduled back to back, and you have only one TV tuner, a recording conflict may occur.

  6. In Stop when possible, specify the time to stop recording. You can choose to stop recording On Time or up to four minutes after the scheduled end time of the show. However, if there are two recordings scheduled back to back, and you have only one TV tuner device, a recording conflict may occur.

  7. In Preferred Audio Language, click English or Any language.

  8. Click Save.

To set recording options for a specific program

It is possible to override some of the recording defaults for a single scheduled recording. This is useful when you want to record a sports game that might go into overtime, or a movie that you want to increase the default recording quality for.

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

  2. Click view scheduled for a list of your scheduled recordings.

  3. Click the scheduled recording that you want to change, and then click Record Settings.

  4. In Stop, specify the time to stop recording. Unlike the default settings, you can choose to stop recording up to three hours after the scheduled end time of a show.

  5. In Quality, click - or + to select the quality at which the TV show will be recorded.

To record a TV series

Rather than schedule the recording of your favorite TV show every week, you can automate the process by scheduling the recording of an entire series.

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

  2. Locate and right-click the TV series that you want to record, and then click Record Series.

Note

  • You can also access the Record Series option by right-clicking search results in Windows Media Center, or by right-clicking a TV show that is currently airing.

To record only the new episodes of a TV series

When recording a TV series automatically, you can skip reruns, or only record shows that are aired live.

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

  2. Click the down arrow button  Picture of the Up and Down arrow buttons to scroll down to the end of the screen.
  3. Under the Series Only Recording Defaults section, in Show type, do one of the following:

    • Click the - or + buttons to select First run. This will record the shows with an original air date that is less than a week old, or that are not marked as reruns.

    • Click First run & rerun to record all shows in a series, including reruns.

    • Click Live to record all shows in a series that are aired live.

  4. Click Save.

To automatically delete recordings for a TV series

When recording a TV series automatically, you can manage hard disk space by automatically deleting old shows.

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

  2. Click the arrow button Picture of the Up and Down arrow buttons to go to the end of the screen.
  3. Under the Series Only Recording Defaults section, click the - or + buttons to select a Keep up to option.

  4. Select the number of shows in a series that are stored in Recorded TV at one time. You can choose to store from one to ten episodes or As many as possible. The recorder stores only up to the limit that you indicate.

  5. Click Save.

To record based on channel and time

You can set up Windows Media Center to automatically record a specific channel at a specific time.

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

  2. Click add recording, and then click Channel and Time.

  3. In Channel, enter the channel that you want to record.

  4. In Frequency, click the - or + button to specify how often you want to record the channel.

  5. If you selected Record Once for Frequency, in Date, click - or + to specify the recording date.

  6. In Start time, enter the time you want the recording to start.

  7. In Stop time, enter the time you want the recording to stop.

  8. Under Keep, click the - or + button to specify how long you want to keep the recorded show.

  9. Click Record.

To change the title of a Channel and Time setting

If you choose to record using the Channel and Time feature, the recordings will be given a title based on the first show in each recording. You can customize the title given to the recordings.

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

  2. Click add recording.

  3. Click Channel and Time.

  4. Click Change Title.

  5. Enter the new title using the numeric keypad.

  6. Click Save.

To record based on keywords

You can set up Windows Media Center to automatically record TV shows and movies based on keywords that are associated with a program. These include an actor's name, the director's name, or even a word that appears in the title. In the future, when a TV show or movie airs that matches keywords that you specified, the program will automatically record.

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

  2. Click add recording.

  3. Click Keyword.

  4. Click Actor name, Director name, Movie title, Program title, or Generic keyword, depending on the keyword that you want to use for recording.

  5. Type the keyword for your recording, and then click the matching keyword in the search results.

  6. Click - or + in the different categories to modify the settings that will be used for your custom recording.

  7. Click Record, and then click OK.

To play back recorded TV

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

  2. Click date recorded or title, and then click the recorded TV show that you want to watch.

  3. On the program info screen, click Play or Resume.

    You can use the transport controls to fast forward, rewind, pause, or stop playing the recorded TV show.

    To see how much time has passed when playing your recording, click Pause  Picture of the Pause button and you will see a time span bar.
    Picture of the time span bar
    Time span bar

Note

To play back a recorded movie

  1. On the start screen, scroll to TV + Movies, and then click either recorded TV or dvd library. (The dvd library option only appears if you have a DVD changer connected to your computer.)

  2. Click date recorded or title, and then click the recorded movie that you want to watch.

  3. On the movie details screen, click Play or Resume.

To add or remove folders that Windows Media Center searches when it looks for recorded TV

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

  2. Follow the steps in TV Discovery to add or remove locations on your hard disk that Windows Media Center will search when it looks for recorded TV.

Note

  • While you can watch recorded TV files from multiple locations, Windows Media Center will only record to the location specified in Recorder Storage.

Notes

  • 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 more information about obtaining a TV tuner card, see Get help for your TV tuner card or contact your computer manufacturer.

  • When you record a TV show or movie, it is saved on your hard disk as a Microsoft Recorded TV show with a .dvr-ms file name extension. For information about managing recorded TV shows and movies, see Managing recorded TV shows: frequently asked questions.