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Windows Media Center Wizardry

Book Description

This short cut is a series of "How To " sections, each concentrating on an area of functionality little exploited by typical users, although extremely useful when exposed.

Section 1 Smarter Media Center Configuration There are smart ways, and not so smart ways, to configure a PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. Smart configuration means understanding which hardware components best integrate together and how those components should be set up to best deliver their unique set of services. All in all, smarter configuration facilitates a better Media Center experience for everyone.

Section 2 Media Center's Best Kept Secrets

Once the Media Center has been set up and is integrated into the required environment, the next thing a user needs to understand is where the real power of MCE lies. At first glance it's not at all apparent. This section delves into the depths of using and really leveraging the essence of MCE.

Section 3 Taking Media Center to the Next Level

There are, as with most software solutions, things that MCE doesn't do that well (or at all). However, as is the case with all Microsoft platforms, MCE comes with its own API and is highly extensible. Many software developers have augmented the Media Center feature set with new and exciting enhancements that bolster its capabilities. This section details the author's preferences on essential additions to a MCE implementation including information on Xbox, PSP, and the iPod.

Table of Contents

  1. Windows Media Center Wizardry
    1. 1. Getting the Most from XP Media Center
      1. Smarter Media Center Configuration
        1. How to spec a Windows XP MCE PC
        2. Locating a Media Center PC near you
          1. Choosing the right chassis
          2. Networking your Media Center PC
        3. How to Select the Right Components
          1. Optical drive
          2. Card reader
          3. Video card
        4. How to Install and Listen to FM Radio
          1. Listening to FM radio
        5. How to Choose the Right TV Receiver(s)
          1. Choosing the right components for MCE
          2. Connecting MCE to your TV
          3. Make sure the region is set correctly on your system
        6. How to Decide Between Wired and Wireless Networking
          1. Setting up your wireless network
        7. How to Use MCE in Another Room without Buying a Second PC
          1. Where can you get an Extender?
          2. Media Center Extenders around the world
        8. How to Watch Television Shows Recorded by MCE on Other Systems
          1. Playing video content on standard DVD players
      2. Media Center’s Best Kept Secrets
        1. How to Get the Most from the EPG
          1. Additional program information
          2. Whistle-stop tour of recording programs
          3. Fast forward through the schedules
        2. How to Use Guide Filtering
        3. How to Record a Series
          1. Advanced series schedules
        4. How to Do Advanced EPG Searching
          1. More on keyword searching
        5. How to Install Support for Playing Back New File Types
        6. How to Do Basic Editing on Digital Photographs Using MCE
          1. Rotating a digital image
          2. Using the Touch Up feature
        7. How to Synchronize with a Portable Media Center
        8. How to Add Internet Radio Channels to MCE
      3. Taking Media Center to the Next Level
        1. How to Find the Best Updates, Plug-Ins and Power Toys
          1. Power Toys
        2. How to Customize MCE with Tweak MCE
        3. How to Transfer MCE Content to Your iPod, PSP, or Smartphone
        4. How to Run MSN Messenger Through the MCE Interface
        5. How to Access Email Using the MCE Interface
        6. How to Access MCE Through an Xbox 360
          1. Network tuning
          2. You’re done
      4. Copyright
    2. About the Author