Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Windows 7

Entertainment at your fingertips

23rd October, 2009

This is a cross-post from the Microsoft Student Facebook page. Why not become a fan?

So the worldwide release of Windows 7 has happened, and everyone can now go and buy the latest operating system from Microsoft. In many ways Windows 7 revolutionises how you use your computer, and I’ve already written about the benefits of Windows 7 for students.

But what about when the work is all done and it’s time to play? Windows 7 has some fantastic entertainment enhancements, based on its legacy from Windows Vista and Windows XP Media Centre. Here’s an overview of the best bits you can expect with the new operating system.

Windows Media Centre

It started out with a bit of a tough life, but over the years Windows Media Centre has really evolved. It’s now available as standard in Windows 7 Home Premium, with some excellent user interface enhancements to make it ideal if you want to hook your computer up to your TV and sit back and relax.

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Check out the end of the post for some more pictures of the new Media Centre interface.

Your PC as a DVR

Windows Media Centre allows your PC to act just like your DVR - browse channel schedules on-screen, and press one button to start or schedule recording, so you can watch, pause, rewind and replay TV in one go.

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IPTV on your PC

Windows 7 Media Centre now supports even more IPTV providers, and depending on your country you can expect to see even more great content available for streaming to your Media Centre PC.

Along with this, Microsoft are introducing SportsLounge, which is a central point for sports fans to navigate content, track fantasy football teams and more. This builds on the coverage provided to Media Centre PC users during the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

On top of all of this, IPTV schedules will now be supported, and integrated with the schedules in Media Centre. Additionally, Netflix subscribers can now take advantage of Windows Media Centre to watch any Netflix movie instantly!

Here’s one massive play on Microsoft’s part - Media Centre now supports touch-screen navigation. So if you have one of these very nice Sony VAIO L-series computers, you can watch content in full HD and interact with the multi-touch display.

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Better with Windows

Media Centre has been enhanced to provide a much better user experience on the Windows 7 desktop. With the new Jump List functionality, you can quickly access new TV that you have recently recorded, as well as Frequently played items and more. Now there’s a great reason to get an integrated TV card in your PC and start enjoying this media straight away.

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Conclusions

A lot has changed in Media Centre with Windows 7 - from making it easier to get TV on your computer, to improving the experience of using Media Centre, there are improvements across the board. If you have a TV tuner in your PC, or want to update your Television, getting a version of Windows which comes with Media Centre is now an absolute must.

Media Centre Screenshots

Here are some shots of the new Media Centre interface (click for a larger version):

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