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Windows Media Center on
Windows Media Center is an application designed to
serve as a
home-entertainment hub. It is included in
Windows XP Media Center Edition and higher-end editions of
Windows Vista. It is designed to be viewed from a distance
up to 3 meters (~10 feet) and is controlled by specially
remote controls which prominently feature the Green Button.
This button is used to either launch Media Center from Windows
or to return to the Start Menu from within the application.
Media Center visualizes the computer user's pictures, videos,
and music from local hard drives, optical drives, and network
locations. It then categorizes them by name, date,
tags, and other file attributes. Media managed through Media
Center can also be relayed via a home network to standard TV
sets via specially designed
Windows Media Center Extender or the
Xbox 360. The original
requires an additional kit to function as an Extender and no
longer works with Windows Vista.
With the addition of
TV tuner cards, Media Center can record and schedule
TV shows in either over-the-air
High-definition TV or standard antenna, cable, or satellite
signal. After recording, it can then burn the shows to
or transfer them to a
portable media player. Media Center originally had a
limitation of 2 analog tuners. With Update Rollup 1 for Media
Center 2005, support for a digital tuner was added, but an
analog tuner must still be present for the digital tuner to
function. With Rollup 2, up to 4 TV tuners can be configured (2
analog & 2
Media Center can stream live and pre-recorded television to
Windows Media Center Extenders. However, Media Center can
only stream live TV to media center extenders and to the
consoles, not to other computers. Media Center creates a buffer
to enable the user to rewind or skip backwards when viewing TV,
timeshifting. This buffer cannot be transferred from one
instance of TV to another on a different device. The buffer is
deleted when the user changes the channel or closes Media
Center, although the buffer is not deleted if the user only
presses "Stop" on the remote. If that is the case, Media Center
will continue recording until the buffer is full, then it will
delete TV off the end of the buffer to enable more TV to be
recorded. Also, the size of the buffer limits the length of time
the user can pause TV.
Connectivity features of Media Center include various inputs
and outputs, for example for
type cables (e.g., from cassette players or analog videocassette
recorders), microphones, digital video signals and other inputs.
Analog to digital conversion within the tuner card enables users
to convert older type media to digital media.
Windows Media Center organizes and displays music found on
the computer. Music can then be played by selecting "My Music"
from the Start Menu. In the default view, albums are arranged in
alphabetical order with accompanying album art. Album art can be
downloaded off the internet automatically, or it can be added
manually into Media Center. The user can create playlists of
different songs or albums, but once created, playlists cannot be
When playing music, the user can pause and fast forward
music, as long as Media Center is not in the “View Queue” mode.
The user also has the option to shuffle or repeat music in the
queue. Visualizations, as in Windows Media Player, can also be
viewed, although Extenders do not have this option.
Media Center in Windows Vista
Sports scores in Windows Media Center on Windows
Windows Media Center in Windows Vista includes a redesigned
menu system that takes advantage of the graphics capabilities of
the operating system as well as the common
aspect ratio. Each button in the main menu, which contains
sections such as "Music", "Videos", and "TV", gets encased in a
box when selected, and for each selection, a submenu comes up,
extending horizontally. When any of the options is selected, the
entries for each are presented in a grid-like structure, with
each item being identified by album art, if its an audio file,
or a thumbnail image if it is a picture, a video or a TV
recording, and other related options, such as different views
for the music collection if "Music" is selected, extend
horizontally along the top of the grid. Similarly, other items
are identified by suggestive artwork. The grid displaying the
items is also extended horizontally, and the selected item is
enlarged compared to the rest.
Other features of Windows Vista Media Center include:
- Support for two dual-tuner cards
- Native DVD/MPEG-2 support
- Addition of Movies and DVD button which lists all
the movies on the hard drive and DVD.
- Tasks button that provides access to jobs such as
setting up and configuring a media center extender device.
- Any video playing is overlaid on the background of the
user interface, if the UI is navigated while the video is
- Support for high-definition (HD) content, and
- Ability for a digital tuner to function without an
analog tuner present.
- New "Sports" section which gives real-time access to
sports scores, as well as free broadcasts of games over the
Microsoft partnered with
Fox Sports and
NASCAR to provide these services. Support for
fantasy sport-style player tracking has also been
TV partnerships key to Vista's Windows Media Center. CBC
2007). Retrieved on
Windows Media Center Main Page
Information about Windows Media Center in Windows Vista