Cutting the Cord Part 4: Building Your HTPC - Installing and Configuring Windows Media Center
Configuring Windows Media Center - Part 2
Now we begin the process of setting up our TV signal and scanning what our tuner cards are able to receive through the antenna. Windows Media Center should detect what tuner cards are installed in the system and list them. If you do not see any tuners, make sure you have the latest drivers and the tuners are recognized in device manager. Assuming Media Center detected everything correctly, choose “Yes, configure TV with these results” and hit “Next.”
Windows Media Center will once again go out to the Internet for TV information, this time downloading two weeks’ worth of local television program listings for your area.
Once the TV listings are downloaded, you will see a status screen showing you that Media Center has configured your tuners and downloaded the correct lineup information. Go ahead and hit “Finish”.
Unless you are already hooked up to your television, we can skip setting up your display and speakers for the time being and come back to them once we are hooked up to the TV. If you setup includes streaming any media from other machines on your network, you will want to add those other machiens to Windows Media Center’s “Media Libararies.” Choose “Set up my media libraries” and click on “Next”.
In the Media Library setup, you can add and remove folders from any of the libraries including Music, Pictures, Videos, Recorded TV and Movies. As I mentioned earlier, your libraries do not have to reside on the Media Center itself and multiple locations can be bundled up into each library so when you open the library you see all of it as if it was in a single location. For example, you could have your Music Library pointing to both a local directory on your Media Center PC as well as a Network Share on another PC. When you pull up your Music in Media Center, they’ll all show up as one large “Library”. Choose the Library you want to configure and hit Next.
You will be asked if you want to add a folder to the Library or remove a folder from the Library. By default Windows Media Center will set up local directories on the HTPC as locations for your Libraries. You can leave the locations alone, or remove them and point the Library at other file location. In this case, I wanted to add afFolder on another machine in my Homegroup to the Music library, so I chose “Add folders to the library” and then “On another computer”.
Because my “Mediaserver” machine is in the same Homegroup as the machine I have my music files on, I can just pick the Music folder that’s already shared with the Homegroup on the remote machine and it will automatically be added to my Music Library.
After you’ve added or removed a folder to a Library, you will be shown all the folders and locations that make up your current “Libraries.” At this point you can either accept the current locations/libraries, or make more changes. For example, in the screenshot below you see there are 3 locations in my Music Library. The first two are the default ones that Media Center created on its own, C:\Users\mce\Music and C:\Users\Public\Music. The last one is the shared location I just added, \\MEDIASERVER\Music. Since I want to also add different locations to my other Libraries, I chose “No, I want to make more changes” and hit continue.
Once again Media Center asks what Library I’d like to change, this time I choose Video. Instead of using the Homegroup to get to my other files, I will actually add this share manually. I chose “Let me manually add a shared folder” and hit Next.
When adding a manual share simply enter the share location in the format of \\computername\sharedfolder. If you need to enter a User name and password to access the Share you can also enter it here.
Unfortunately you can’t make more than one change at a time to your Libraries, and until you add and remove all the file locations you want, you have to continue saying “No, I want to make more changes” and adding or removing one location at a time until your locations are correct. When you are all set, finally hit “Yes, use these locations” and press continue. You’ll once again be dropped to the Optional Setup screen and can select, “I have finished” and hit next and you’re done!