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10 Things – Windows Media Center Movie Browser

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Old 09-04-2007
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10 Things – Windows Media Center Movie Browser
Although many of us have used Windows Media Center Edition, there are a couple of things that may not be that well known -- one of my favorites being the Movie Browser in Windows Vista. Let's see how it works...
Have you ever been in the mood to watch a movie but you don't have a particular one in mind -- and you really don't want to have to go through all the information in the guides to find one that appeals to you? Movie Browser allows you to see a list of movies that are either playing currently or those that will be starting in the near future. While using Movie Browser, you can specify the type of movie you're looking for and search using any of several criteria.
Assuming that you have the correct hardware installed to run Media Center, using the Movie Browser is simple. Open Media Center, select "TV & Movies" and navigate to "Search." You can search by any of the following:
  • Title
  • Keyword
  • Categories
  • Movie Actor
  • Movie Director
If you're connected to the internet, once you select the search criteria you'll also see the cover art from the DVD (in the US). You can even view metadata that may include things like reviews, ratings and cast.
As an example, I did a search for movie actor Brad Pitt. The resulting list showed 44 movies:

Clicking on any one of them gives the option to:
  • Record it when it airs
  • Read the Plot
  • See the Cast Info
  • Read Reviews
  • Look for Similar Movies
My favorite feature on Media Center in Windows Vista is the ability to find a movie and set it to be recorded when it's next scheduled to be shown on TV, even if it isn't currently listed in the guide. Once you select the movie, Media Center will automatically record it for you the next time it’s playing on TV. Although this capability isn't new to Windows Vista, it's still something that isn't known by a lot of Windows Vista users.
In the example above, you'll see that Ocean's Thir**** is not scheduled to air within the timeframe indicated in the guide. But, that doesn't mean that you'll need to continue checking continuously to see when it's going to air. Once I chose Ocean's Thir**** from the menu, the option changed from "Record" to "Record in the Future."

Once I selected "Record in Future," the movie was set to record when it plays on television.

And helpfully, whenever Media Center is opened, you'll see the red "Record" dot to remind you that you have a pending recording session scheduled.

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