Cutting the Cord Part 4: Building Your HTPC - Installing and Configuring Windows Media Center
Hooking up to your TV and Wrapping Up
Now that we’ve finished most of the setup, we’re ready to hook our HTPC up to our TV! Simply reconnect everything and hook your HTPC up to your TV (or receiver). You don’t need to hook them up, but it’s a good idea to keep the keyboard and mouse handy to the HTPC as you may infrequently get a pop up box that either you can’t close with the remote, or is just easier to use a keyboard/mouse for.
As we’re hooking up our HTPC, consider where you are placing the box. While your HTPC is likely low power, and therefore low heat, it is not “no heat”. Be sure to have decent airflow around your HTPC or you can quickly run into heat related issues, up to and including frying the machine. Have the box somewhat accessible because it’s a good idea to check the HTPC for external and internal dust build up every month or two.
Once everything is hooked up, turn it on and your HTPC should boot up and automatically load right into Windows Media Center on your television screen. We want the Windows Media Center interface to be full screen and on top of any other windows, so if you have not already done so, maximize Windows Media Center window to full screen. Now that we’re getting Windows Media Center in all its glory, we’ll run through a few final settings for your TV and audio.
Head on back into our Settings menu and drill down into “TV.” Then select “Configure your TV or Monitor” and this will launch the Display Configuration Wizard that will walk you through adjusting both Media Center and your television to get the best display image possible.
Finally, after you’ve configured your Television settings, hit up the “Audio” menu in the TV section as well and tweak any settings as needed.
My Experience: If for some reason you notice that your Windows Desktop/Media Center is not filling up the entire screen on your television, you need to check for something called “Underscan/Overscan” in your video card control panel. You should be able to expand or contract the image so it fits perfectly on your screen with those settings.
And there you have it, your own fully working Home Theater PC with Windows Media Center! Explore your Media Center and check out all the options available to view and listen to your Video, Television, Music and Picture content. In our next and final installment, we’ll be looking at some Media Center Add-ons, plug-ins and other options that can expand your Media Center experience even further.
Missed any installments of our Cutting the Cord Series? Catch up on them here:
- Cutting the Cord Part 1: The Assessment
- Cutting the Cord Part 2: Building your HTPC – The Hardware
- Cutting the Cord Part 3: Building your HTPC – OS Install and Tuning
- Cutting the Cord Part 4: Building your HTPC – Installing and Configuring Windows Media Center
- Cutting the Cord Part 5: Wrap up - Media Center Add-ons and Options