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Tweaks to Windows 7 Media Center

October 13, 2009

Here are the things I did after setting up Windows 7 Media Center to better the user experience:

Set up media libraries for each of Music, Videos, Pictures and Movies by deleting the default locations for these files and adding the locations where we store these files on our SBS 2008 server. Note that as we have over 30,000 such files, adding these files was a multi-hour process for each extender (and the process must be repeated for each extender. Even after this, albumn art takes a while to display the first time creating a somewhat sluggish initial experience.

Installed mcShoutcast. This add-in provides access to a bunch of internet radio stations from the Extras menu. It also adds an “Info” extra that will supply photos and other information to complement whatever music is currently playing.

Installed channel logos for the TC guide. These are both a functional and an aesthetic addition.

Deleted all the channels we don’t subscribe to or don’t want to ever see (e.g. Spanish language channels) by going to TasksSettingsTVGuideEdit Channels and unchecking those channels to be removed. This makes the Movie Guide useful because it no longer shows movies from premium channels we do not subscribe to.

Set up the color coding of shows in the TV guide by going to TasksSettingsTVGuideGuide Page Options and checking the option to apply colored backgrounds to shows.

Set up a group of core channels that broadcast a significant amount of HD content as a group of favorite channels by going to TasksSettingsTVGuideEdit Favorite Lineups.

Soon I also plan to combine channels that are present on both the CableCard and ATSC (digital broadcast) tuners and then set tuner priorities to the ATSC tuner. This will hopefully get me non-DRM’d recordings of the shows when possible. But that was a little too much work for now.


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