How to capture video in windows media center

Written by lori spencer
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How to capture video in windows media center
Using Windows Media Center, you can record from TV and other video sources. (box with movie film image by Oleg Verbitsky from

With Windows Media Center, you can watch and record live TV on your PC. Even when you are away from home, you'll never miss a favourite show as Windows Media Center can be accessed from anywhere with a high speed Internet connection. Or, if your hectic travel schedule doesn't allow for watching a movie, you can schedule shows to record at and view them later.

Before you can use Windows Media Center to watch and capture TV, you'll need a TV tuner. This can either be an internal TV tuner that you install inside your computer or an external tuner that connects through a USB port.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Windows Media Center software
  • TV tuner
  • Computer with USB port
  • Cable or satellite TV service (optional)

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  1. 1

    Connect one end of a coaxial cable to your TV tuner. Then, depending on your preference, you can run the other end to either your cable TV wall jack or your cable/satellite set-top box.

  2. 2

    Plug the audio/video outputs from the TV tuner into your computer's USB port using composite or S-video jacks.

  3. 3

    Open Windows Media Center. From the main menu, scroll to "Tasks," then select "Settings."

  4. 4

    Select "TV," then "Set Up TV Signal."

  5. 5

    Download a TV guide and program listings from your cable or satellite provider. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

  6. 6

    Search the program guide to find programs or movies you want to record. You can search by show title, keyword, or actor/director name. Follow the on-screen prompts to schedule future recordings.

  7. 7

    Press "Record" at any time to record a live TV broadcast in progress. In this sense, Windows Media Player operates just like a DVR, standalone DVD recorder or VCR.

  8. 8

    Press "Stop" when you are finished. The program you just recorded should now show up in your list of shows in the "Recorded TV" menu.

Tips and warnings

  • If you have a Netflix subscription, you can access Netflix directly through Windows Media Center and watch available streaming movies from your queue on demand.
  • Windows Media Center records programs in DVR-MS format. These can only be viewed using the Windows Media Center software. If you want to watch your recorded shows in other players or burn them to DVD, you'll need to convert the DVR-MS files to another format--MPEG, MOV, AVI, MP4--using file conversion software.
  • Many PCs do not come with a TV tuner card pre-installed. If you're planning to buy an external TV tuner, make sure the device is compatible with Windows Media Center or it will not work.
  • Recording or making a copy of a TV show for personal use is considered "fair use." However, mass duplication, broadcast or commercial distribution of copyright-protected TV programming is illegal.

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