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Windows 7: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Chapter 16. Windows Media Center

Most of the time, you sit about three feet away from the computer screen. But the modern PC is a digital hub for your photos, music, and videos; the concept of the Media Center program, therefore, is to transform playback of these goodies into a 10-foot-away experience. You can play them on your TV while you’re sitting on the couch, or you can play them on your PC from across the room. Media Center uses jumbo fonts, buttons, and controls, so you can see them, and lets you operate them with a wireless mouse and keyboard, or a special Media Center remote control.

Better still, Media Center can turn your PC into a full-blown digital video recorder, like a TiVo. If your PC has a TV tuner card, you can watch TV, pause it, rewind and then fast-forward it, record it, and even burn the result to a DVD.

In fact, if you exploit Media Center to its extreme potential, you could ultimately sell every piece of entertainment hardware you own, including DVD players, televisions, and stereos, as well as your membership to the neighborhood movie rental store. With the right version of Windows 7, always-on Internet, and a well-endowed PC, you can simplify and organize your life and unclutter your home at the same time—all with a single piece of equipment.

You no longer need a special “Media Center Edition PC” to get all this multimedia power; any PC can do this stuff, as long as it’s running the Home Premium or better versions of Windows 7. (The Starter and Home Basic ...

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