Sync TV shows to a device

You can use Windows Media Center to sync (or copy) digital media files such as recorded TV shows, music, and pictures to your Portable Media Center, Smartphone, Pocket PC, or mass storage device, provided that your portable device can play back these different types of digital media. This lets you enjoy the digital media that you have on your Windows Media Center computer away from home.

For more information and to find a portable device that suits your needs, see Windows 7 Compatibility Center.

Not all mass storage devices are recognized as portable media devices that can be used to sync media files from the Windows Media Center computer. For example, some USB devices are classified as a hard disk and are not recognized by Windows Media Center as an available device in which you can sync to in Windows Media Center.

The sync playlists are used to determine what content is synced to the device. In Windows Media Center, the sync playlist can contain one or more Windows Media Player playlists or auto playlists.

To understand how sync works, here is an example for syncing TV shows. TV shows are transcoded, or converted from one video format to another. In this process, the video is converted using a setting for the specific device. This creates a smaller video file in a file format that the device can play.

When syncing, TV shows are synced in the order that they are added to the sync playlist. When the portable device is full, no more TV shows are synced. If the device is not full and additional files are added to the computer that meet the criteria of one of the selected auto playlists, the content is transferred to the device the next time that the device is connected to your Windows Media Center computer. In this way, your device is always ready with the latest media entertainment for when you want to take it with you.

To sync a TV show

  1. Create or change a regular playlist or Create or change an auto playlist in Windows Media Player that contains your recorded TV shows.

    You can also create playlists that contain other types of digital media content, such as pictures, music, and other videos if you want.

  2. Connect your portable device to your Windows Media Center computer.

  3. On the start screen, scroll to Tasks, and then click sync.

  4. If you have synced the device with another computer and you want to sync to your Windows Media Center computer, when the notification appears to create a new sync relationship, click Yes.

  5. On the manage list screen, do one or more of the following:

    • Click the Up arrow or Down arrow on the screen to move a playlist or auto playlist up or down in the list.

      The auto playlists and playlists at the top of the list sync to the portable device first. You should place the playlist or auto playlist of media that you most want on the device at the top of the list.

    • If you do not want to sync a playlist to the device, click Delete next to that playlist. This does not delete the playlist; it just removes it from the list to sync.

    • If you want to add other playlists that are not displayed on the manage list screen, click Add More, click the appropriate media category, select the check box for the playlist or auto playlist you want to sync to your device, and then click Save.

  6. To sync the selected playlists or auto playlists and the digital media files in those lists to your portable device, click Start Sync.

  7. In the Sync Progress notification, click OK to sync while still doing other tasks on your Windows Media Center computer.


  • 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.