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Old 12-03-2007
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Try Windows Media Center - you may already have it!
If your PC is running Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate, you have a great feature set you may not even know about: Windows Media Center.

Windows Media Center can turn your PC from a “plain vanilla” computer into something pretty powerful and impressive: the hub of your entertainment system. Surprised? Well (if you ask nicely), I’ll tell you more.

Use Windows Media Center to browse your music collection by cover art or year, organize photos and create albums and jazz up custom slide shows with music. If you’re a sports fan, you’ll definitely want to check out your favorite team’s scores and stats on SportsLounge (U.S. and Canada only).

And if you like movies and TV, you’ll enjoyInternet TV Beta. This new feature allows you to play free streaming video content on demand, choosing from more than 100 hours of TV entertainment, music concerts, movie trailers, news, and sports content from MSN Video.

Are you a film buff? If so, you’re in luck. Windows Media Center, you can watch movies on DVD and stream or download movies from a growing list of content providers through Online Mediaan innovative portal that helps you find movies over the Internet. If you want a quick glimpse of all the movies you've recorded or the movies coming up on TV, check out the Movies Guide. You can see movie jackets, search for films by actor, director, genre, or title, and read descriptions and reviews of the films.

TV features are some of the most exciting in Windows Media Center. [FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']You can [FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']watch, pause, and rewind live TV shows in standard and high definition (HDTV available only in the U.S.)1.[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']Schedule [/font][/font][/font]recordings with the Electronic Programming Guide and find shows in the Windows Media Center Recorded TV library using picture thumbnails from the actual programs. You can also view live TV through Picture-in-Picture or as a background while performing other activities in Windows Media Center.

Want to save what you’ve recorded? No problem. Go ahead and burn your favorite shows to DVD. Windows Media Center will even create a simple DVD menu, which you can navigate using your DVD remote.

Right about now, you’re probably thinking “Hey, this sounds pretty good – but I’ll bet set-up is complicated.” Not so! A TV tuner is all you need to start enjoying live TV on your Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate PC.2 Just plug your TV antenna, cable, or the video output from your satellite set-top box into your TV tuner, open Windows Media Center, and follow the appropriate set-up instructions. To find out what else you need to perform specific functions in Windows Media Center, take a look at the handy charthere.

Some Windows Media Center users like to stream their digital media throughout the house. If that appeals to you, Extenders for Windows Media Center are just the ticket. And here’s a tip: If you have an Xbox 360, you already have a first-rate extender available.

1 Enjoying live and recorded HD content may require additional equipment, including but not limited to an HD compatible receiver, tuner, set-top box, and TV or other display.

2 Windows Media Center supports as many as two NTSC Standard tuners and two ATSC HD TV tuners, for a maximum of four TV tuners in a Windows Media Center PC.

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