Windows Media Center

Windows XP Media Center or ‘freestyle’ as it was coded during its development is an application with a 10-foot user interface design that can easily serve the purpose of a home-entertainment hub for the living room television. It is enclosed in the Windows XP Media Center Edition as well as the premium editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. It is designed to be user friendly and in a way that it can be controlled by a special remote control but can also be operated with a mouse or keyboard. Media center plays the user’s pictures, videos and music found in the local hard drive, optical drives and network locations. It also gives the user detailed information about the file by categorizing each file by name, date, tags and other file attributes. The media that is managed by the media center can be easily communicated through a home network to a standard television set through Windows Media Center Extender or Xbox 360.

Windows Media Center with Different Versions of Windows Operating Systems

Windows Media Center with Windows XP

The final version of Windows XP Media Center, 2005 Update Rollup 2 (UR2), is fundamentally Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 (SP2) with an additional functionality of Windows Media Center. This version of Windows Media center lacks the support for Domain controllers. This version of Windows Media Center can work on low-end hardware. XP MCE 2005 was the first version of Windows Media center that was available only under the OEM licensing.

Windows Media Center in Windows Vista

Media center in Windows Vista includes a redesigned system that makes the best out of the graphic capabilities of the operating system. Each button that is constructed on the main menu contains sections by the name of “music”, “pictures”, “Videos” et cetera. These sections are enclosed within a box that shows up when the user selects the particular option. For every section, a sub-menu appears, extending horizontally. When any of these options is selected, the entries for each are laid out in a grid-like structure, each being identified by the album art.

Windows Media Center and Internet TV beta

Internet TV is a characteristic that mixes with the Windows Vista version of Media Center. The users are allowed to browse as well as view the streaming, which is internet-delivered.

Windows Media Center TV Pack 2008

Media Center TV pack 2008 is not a part of Windows Vista Service Pack 2. It offers an enhanced control over TV tuners, DVB-S support, MHEG support, favorite channels listing, digital OTA sub channel support, Native QAM support, ability to change digital OTA channel numbers and a heterogeneous TV tuner support.

Windows Media Center Advantages

Windows Media Center helps the users of different operating systems to enjoy an entire digital entertainment library on the PC or television. The biggest advantage of Windows Media Center is that it saves the user from consuming a lot of time that might go in searching for files from different location s on the computer. It automatically checks the user’s PC for several media files during the setup process. It is optimized for wide screen as well as High Definition displays. It is designed in such a way that the user can easily select and deselect the options with the help of a remote control, although it works with other input devices like a mouse, keyboard, touchscreen or a tablet PC.

Windows Media Center Features


Media center can play back as well as record scheduled TV shows. It records the shows in either over-the-air High-definition TV, standard antenna or Digital Cable w/Cable CARD, cable or satellite signal. There are 2 analog tuners in the 2005 version of Media Center. It can stream live and pre-recorded television to Xbox console and Windows Media Center Extenders.


It includes analog to digital conversion inside the tuner card, which facilitates the customer to alternate older media to digital media. It classifies and displays music that is found on the computer. The user has the freedom to pause and fast forward music while it is playing as long as the Media Center is not in the “view queue” mode. The user can easily shuffle or repeat the music in the queue. The visualizations that the users are familiar with as in Windows Media Player can also be viewed in Media Center.

Streaming video

Users can easily add third-party plug-ins to be able to play back video from URLs, server as well as client side playlists.


Media Center supports the play back of all stations tuned to FM, although only some TV tuners support FM.

Portable devices

Media Center can synchronize media with certain kinds of portable devices, namely, Windows mobile pocket PCs, portable media centers, smartphones and players that synchronize with Windows Media Player. Media Center encodes the television shows with the help of Windows Media Encoder to a Windows Media Video format.

Commercials skipping

Windows Media Center permits for quick advancement in the course of commercials of recorded programs. The user can install an external plug-in like DVRMSToolbox, MCEBuddy or Lifextender to skip commercials automatically.