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Windows Media Center, the Awesome Tool You Aren’t Using!

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I consider myself fairly proficient on Windows computers (tee hee).  I tout myself as someone who knows everything there is to know about them!  I knew about Windows Media Center.  I’d opened it a few times (mostly by accident, as my old laptop had a button right near the power button that would turn the computer on and straight into Windows Media Center, which REALLY bugged me!).  I never really USED it though.  I have a plethora of entertainment options, and didn’t really think that I needed another (boy was I wrong!)

Travel back in time with me a few months.  I was sitting at my laptop, like I typically do all day every day (I’ve mentioned I work FULL TIME from home right?  I’m NEVER far from my laptop!)  As I sat working a little pop up asked me if I wanted to install Internet TV for Windows Media Center.  ***NOT A POPUP ON THE INTERNET!!  It was a message from within Windows that I recognized… don’t just go installing things willy nilly when the computer tells you to!**  I admit, I was intrigued by this little message on my screen.  I quickly installed it, and decided to check out what this program was really all about.

Obviously, the first thing I tried out was the internet TV.  I quickly found a show I wanted to watch (if you are interested the show was “I Get That Alot”).  I watched the show, and was pleased by the limited amount of commercials (if I even remember any!)  The show looked and sounded great and I was quite pleased with my new little discovery.  I will mention that they only have a few networks “signed on” at the moment, so the selection isn’t super great.

This is when I turned to the movies area, and noticed a familiar icon… Netflix!  I connected my unlimited streaming Netflix account to Windows Media Center, and I was browsing through my rental queue fast as can be!  Again the quality is great, and the user interface flows easily between the different areas.  It is very easy to find titles to add to my Neflix queue, and watch them right on my computer.

Lastly I checked out the music area.  Now the time I was checking this out, I had not installed my Zune Software which I’ll talk about tomorrow.  I really liked how easy it was to scroll through albums and find exactly the song you wanted to play.  Now that I have the Zune software though, I’ll probably be using that more for music.

All in all, I was quite pleased with Windows Media Center.  I don’t have a TV Tuner in my laptop, but using it kinda made me want to get one so I can use it more as a DVR and record shows, live.  It’s a great little tool that I didn’t even know existed already in my Windows 7.  Go check  it out today!

*Disclosure – Microsoft did NOT pay me or compensate me in any way for this post.  They don’t even know I’m writing it.  If you are from Microsoft and would LIKE to though, please feel free.  🙂


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.

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About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career working in IT Services in Orange County, California, as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com

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  • I LOVE LOVE LOVE our media center!! My boyfriend, who is the real techie, has had one from the first version of it. We just upgraded ours and plan on upgrading again soon. Right now we have 4 tv external tv tuners (it’s actually two with two cards in each), so we can record 4 shows at a time. We also have 2 2 terra byte hard drives that are raid controlled. I could not imagine living without a Media Center now. Before we moved in together, I had a DVR, which was nice, but really it’s not as good as a Media Center. We have all our music on there, netflix (which my teen aged boys use all the time), and there’s even a Hulu add in for it too! Plus one thing that we added to it was an automatic commercial skipper, which means it’s almost seamlessly skips through the commercials… which is really showing you how lazy we are! LOL!

    What we’re going to upgrade to is a PCI cable card. I’m not sure exactly how that differs from the tv tuners but it’s supposed to be better, but the only manufacturer of these cards is back ordered right now, so it’ll take a while to get one. LOL!

    Oh yea, there are also some other great add ons to it too! Like if you have XM, there’s a plug in for that! We also have a My Movies add on, which has all of our movies on a hard drive and we can view them through the media center. I love this thing!! And we have an extender in our bedroom which lets us watch all the shows, movies, etc. from our room as well. We’ll be getting an xbox 360 for my boys room soon so they can have the same functionality!

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