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Windows 7 - Setting Up Windows Media Center

Windows 7 Home Premium and higher editions include Windows Media Center, a program for turning your computer into a complete home entertainment centre. Windows Media Center is basically an alternative interface for Windows Media Player and it runs on top of the program. This means that any plug-ins and visualizations you have for Windows Media Player will also affect Windows Media Center. Likewise, any file type which Windows Media Player can play will also work in Windows Media Center. When you start Windows Media Center for the first time, you'll need to spend a little time setting it up. To get the most out of the software, you should also have a TV card and a remote control for your computer.

1 - First Steps
Open Windows Media Center from your start menu. When you start the program for the first time, you'll be presented with a modified welcome screen where you can set up everything. Click "Continue." Most users will want to use the "Express" setup. This is also much quicker and easier and the default settings are adequate for most people. You can further customize the program at any time you want after setup is complete.

Once the express setup is complete, you may receive some additional messages. If, for example your computer is connected to a network using Windows Home Server, you'll receive a prompt asking you whether or not you want Windows Media Center to connect to it.

Another prompt will appear asking you if you want to use a desktop gadget to access the main features of Windows Media Center. This is quite useful for many people, since it will keep you up to date with the latest TV programs and more. You can customize the gadget by moving your mouse over it and clicking the wrench icon.

2 - Setting up Online and Live TV
Windows Media Center is great for watching online television broadcasts, provided you have a fast enough connection for streaming video. In Windows Media Center, scroll down to the "TV" sections and click "Internet TV." You'll need to review and accept the terms of service before installing this feature. Once the feature is installed, you'll be able to view available online TV broadcasts. Internet TV may not be available in all locations and configurations.

If you have a television card or USB TV device, you can watch live television using Windows Media Center rather than using the software provided by the manufacturer of the TV card. Back in Windows Media Center, scroll down to "TV" and click "live TV setup." Check that the region is correct and select "Yes" if it is. Click "Next" to continue. If prompted to enter a ZIP or postal code, enter yours, since this will enable the program to provide accurate TV guides for your area. Click "Next" again.

Agree to the terms of service and click "Next" again. You'll also need to agree to the EULA for Microsoft PlayReady. Click "Next" again and wait for Windows Media Center to download and install PlayReady. Click "Next" once this is complete. Wait for a few minutes while Windows Media Center scans for available television signals. Once this is done, you'll be able to view the program guide and watch live television channels just as you would on any other television set.


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