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Cutting the Cord Part 4: Building Your HTPC - Installing and Configuring Windows Media Center

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Microsoft

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.”

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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.

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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”.

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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”.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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December 11, 2012 | 01:25 PM - Posted by HTPC User (not verified)

If you map your photos or videos as a shared drive they will show up nicely in MCE instead of clicking the shared folder first. The downside to this i've noticed is that some applications don't like to install/uninstall if your photos folder location is mapped as a network drive.

December 31, 2012 | 07:50 AM - Posted by Kara (not verified)

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December 12, 2012 | 11:18 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The next Part of these articles should be right up my alley, I can't use a HTPC without My Movies now.

December 25, 2012 | 06:37 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Can someone give me a link to the WMC guide data? Before installing WMC, I want to see the quality of their guide data for my zipcode. Or must I install WMC on my win7 system to get it in a format that I can read?

April 11, 2013 | 11:03 PM - Posted by Nick (not verified)

I'm getting an error in Windows Media Center "Video Error: Files needed to display video are not installed or working correctly". This happens when I click on the live TV button. I've updated the drivers and followed the instructions, the only change to the hardware specs is an A10 processer. THanks.

December 10, 2013 | 02:11 PM - Posted by David S (not verified)

hey guys im running a bone stock hp touchsmart 520. i just hooked up my new att uverse wireless receiver to my computer via cable. i set up some recordings with all settings to make it grab the best quality it can. i had the recordings set to the hd channels offered with the service.

my problem is that when i go to play back the recordings, they are BAD quality. the audio is at a low echo, the picture is compressed it doesnt go to full screen and the quality of picture is just wrong and it seems to be ghosting.

any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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