Chapter 25: Mastering Windows Media Center
If you want to use Windows Media Center to watch TV, you must have a TV tuner
card. If you want to use Windows Media Center to manage recorded TV programs,
you need to install a video capture card. Listening to music with the music library or
watching a movie requires that you install a sound card. If you want to use Win-
dows Media Center to download album and additional online content, you need a
connection to the Internet. To make it easier to navigate the TV functions and movie
library features, you should purchase a programmable remote control. Table 25-1
summarizes Windows Media Center functionalities and their respective require-
ments for successful use.
Selecting the Correct Hardware for Windows Media
As with all other operating systems, purchasing the correct hardware for use with
Windows Media Center can mean the difference between using something that
merely works and having a great experience while using it. Microsoft has gone to
great lengths to increase the reliability of video functions within Windows Vista.
Drivers for the video card work differently than they did in previous operating sys-
tems. The kernel mode drivers and their functions in previous operating systems do
not exist in Windows Vista.
Windows Vista uses a fully rendered 3D accelerated desktop called Windows Vista
Display Driver Model (WDDM), which offers greater flexibility than previous Win-
dows display models. WDDM moved most of the driver components out of the ker-
nel environment and into the user environment. This driver arrangement isolates the
graphics driver from the operating system and additional applications.
Table 25-1. Windows Media Center functionalities and requirements
Watch TV TV tuner card
Record TV Video capture card
Listen to music or watch a movie Sound card
Download online content Internet connection
Access via remote control Windows Media Center IR remote control
Listen to radio stations Radio tuner card