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Windows Media Center Edition 2005

Written on September 29, 2006 by William George

Using Media Center

Just like any application in Windows, you can use the mouse and/or keyboard to interact with Media Center (MCE for short). However, there is also an optional remote control designed specifically for MCE - which I highly recommend. It has all the buttons you need to properly manage your MCE experience, including a cell-phone style text entry system (useful when searching for things by name). Here is a picture of a typical MCE remote:

As you can see, there is a large green button located near the center of the remote. This is where Media Center begins - the Start Button. Pressing it, while in Windows, will open the MCE interface (of course this can also be done from an icon in the start menu, but in most home theater setups you won't be at your keyboard when using MCE).

Once the MCE interface is up on-screen, you can navigate through the menus with either the directional buttons on the remote, the directional buttons on the keyboard, or by clicking on options with the mouse. Since the remote control is probably the easiest to use, and the most convenient, it is the method which will be used for the rest of this article.

When you first open Media Center, you should be presented with a setup walk-through that will allow you to select what type of TV service you have, and where you are located. This is vital information that lets Media Center download the correct program guide information for you. It also lets you set up your display and speakers correctly. Once setup has finished, you will be sent to MCE's main menu, which is also where Media Center will default to opening in the future.

From here, you can select whichever aspect of Media Center you wish to use by navigating up and down through the available choices. When you are on a given selection, you can often navigate to the right as well, given you direct shortcuts to recently played media and/or specific shortcuts (like going directly to recorded TV). The next section will cover each menu option in more detail, with tips to help you get the most out of your Media Center experience.

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