How to View a VCR Through Windows Media Center

Written by eric hammer
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How to View a VCR Through Windows Media Center
You can view your old videotapes in Windows Media Center. (data storage media studio isolated image by dinostock from

Viewing a VCR's feed through Windows Media Center is possible in much the same way that you can view live TV from a cable, satellite or antenna signal. You simply need to connect the VCR to the computer and stream it using your standard TV-tuner card. There are, however, a few additional things you'll need to do for the process to work smoothly.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Computer with Windows Media Center (Windows Vista or better) and TV Tuner Card
  • Audio-video (AV) cables

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  1. 1

    Detach your TV card from your TV source. Connect the AV cables to the back of the VCR and then to the TV-tuner card. (If your TV-tuner card or VCR doesn't connect using AV cables, see Tips).

  2. 2

    Click the "Start" button on your computer. In the search bar, type "Services."

  3. 3

    Click "Services" in the list of programs that appears. Locate "Windows Media Center Receiver Service," and click on it.

  4. 4

    Click "Properties" in the "Action" menu. Under the "General" tab, click "Disabled" in the "Startup Type" section, and click "OK."

  5. 5

    Press the green button on your "Media Center" remote control, or open "Media Center" if you don't have a remote control. Select "Live TV."

  6. 6

    Press "Play" on your VCR.

  7. 7

    Repeat steps 2-4 once you have finished viewing from your VCR, except this time select "enabled" instead of "disabled" in the "Startup Type" section. Reattach your TV source to your computer as it was before you attached your VCR.

Tips and warnings

  • If your TV card or VCR uses a different type of connector from those described here, you should be able to buy a converter. For example, there are connectors that will let you connect AV audio to a 3.5mm microphone jack and products that will let you connect your AV connection from the VCR to an S-video jack on the TV card. If you don't have a TV card and don't want to open your computer to add one, an external USB TV card will do the same job.
  • If you regularly use your computer to record live TV, make sure to complete Step 7 once you finish using your VCR. Simply reattaching the TV source is not enough, since you have also effectively disabled the recording features in Windows Media Center.

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