Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

5+ Plug-Ins Every Windows 7 Media Center Install Should Be Using

by @ 8:00 am on April 11th, 2009 in plugins with 29 Comments

WAIT! This post is a little out dated. Try our new guide to the Top 10 Windows Media Center Plugins for Summer 2010!

Each time a reinstall is in your future it’s time to look around for the must have plug-ins that get installed before you’ve even had a chance to setup the tuner and customize the listings. Below is my personal list of Media Center favorites on Windows 7 beta 1 so far. Let me know yours in the comments!

  • mediabrowser Media Browser
    This plug-in is one of those few that make you slap your forehead and ask why this isn’t the way it was to begin with. Media Browser shows up the native Movie Library by adding fanart backgrounds, detailed movie and cast information and even a fancy coverflow mode. >>
  • heatwave_weather HeatWave
    Yet another indispensable plug-in since the latest revisions of Media Center have all but gotten rid of weather forecasts. This handy little thing will let you setup detailed weather information for any number of locations and give you access right from the main menu. >>
  • mychanlogos My Channel Logos
    Sure adding those colored strips to the Media Center guide does a lot for the astetic of the TV listings but channel logos? Forget-a-bout’ it. Not so much a plug-in as a program, either way this is a must have! You can even add your own custom logos through the program! >>
  • mcshoutcast mcShoutcast
    Media Center may come with the ability to add an XM radio subscription through an awkward interface but why not break free with some Shoutcast Radio? mcShoutcast will give you access to all those free internet streams and a smooth interface to boot! >>
  • playit PlayIt with PlayOn
    There are a few options for adding streaming television to your Media Center but PlayIt with PlayOn’s integration with the default functions and displays in Media Ceter make it hard to pass up. Give PlayIt and PlayOn a shot and you may just want to get rid of your cable provider! >>

A couple other solutions for those who don’t want to sign on for PlayOn are TunerFree MCE and SecondRun.tv. Though not quite as well integrated as PlayIt they do provide great interfaces with some features that PlayIt is lacking such as fanart backgrounds and sleeker interfaces.

Don’t be shy! Drop a line on your favorite plug-ins for Windows 7 Media Center, chime in with your support or hate on the ones above and add any that are left out!


Comment #327 from Anonymous [Reply]

What about MyMovies? http://www.mymovies.dk
Impossible to live without for movie info, plus it works wonders if you have children and want to apply age restrictions to movies.

Comment left April 11, 2009 at 11:57 am Permanent Link
@Reply #330 from mhealy [Reply]

I’ve only used MyMovies a few times. I prefered the MediaBrowser interface but I know many people like MyMovies. Does MyMovies work on Windows 7, I thought last I heard it didn’t but that was quite a while back.

Comment left April 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #332 from Anonymous [Reply]

Mymovies works on Windows 7, with a few peculiar issues at the moment. For instance playback from UNC shares (\\server\share) seems to work for some and not for others. I use a Win7 MPC with a Windows Home Server that only turns on when used (through a plugin called lights out). 4 year old son and wifey finds the interface intuitive and the son isn’t exposed to any of daddy’s action movies etc. Can you do a similar setup with mediabrowser?

Comment left April 12, 2009 at 3:19 am Permanent Link

Keith Stewart
Comment #331 from Keith Stewart [Reply]

I agree Media Browser is the way to go. My movies is OK, but once you get Media Browser configured it’s sweet as pie.

Comment left April 11, 2009 at 7:47 pm Permanent Link

William Negris Rezende
Comment #333 from William Negris Rezende [Reply]

Hi Michael, Thank you very much, I have installed the newst version of mcShoutcast, and for my surprise we get the music lyrics now, and It works with our mp3/wma files just fine (info on extras). For sure I will buy this software.

I am so happy,Thank you very much.

Comment left April 12, 2009 at 8:10 am Permanent Link

angelito asis
@Reply #47825 from angelito asis [Reply]

hi william! is this william of pouso alegre and in latasa… if you are please reply through my email… i am angelito from manila philippines..

Comment left September 19, 2011 at 5:03 am Permanent Link

Comment #336 from Michael [Reply]

Well, you may want to wait until after you set up your tuner to use My Channel Logos… otherwise you may not have any channels to add logos to!

Comment left April 12, 2009 at 10:25 pm Permanent Link
@Reply #337 from mhealy [Reply]

haha, yes I suppose that’s one that would have to wait until you’ve got your tuner setup

Comment left April 13, 2009 at 12:32 pm Permanent Link

Comment #452 from Anonymous [Reply]

Hey is anyone else having trouble running mcshoutcast on build 7077. Because I get a failure to launch app everytime i try to run it?

Comment left April 25, 2009 at 5:37 am Permanent Link

Comment #3048 from Chris [Reply]

While Media Browser is nice, I have found nothing that compares with MyTV… mytv.senseitweb.com

If you’re interested in organizing TV, it does it in a far more easy to understand method then media browser. Now, it doesn’t do movies, only TV.. but for TV, it’s exceptional.

Comment left September 3, 2009 at 1:04 am Permanent Link

@Reply #5105 from Anonymous [Reply]

Gotta agree, MediaBrowser does a fine job for Movies but nothing compares to myTV when it comes to downloaded or recorded television.

Comment left November 24, 2009 at 10:50 pm Permanent Link
Comment #3845 from Tim Wragg [Reply]

Nice article…
I’m all excited about putting the plugins but I’m running Windows 7 RTM and unfortunately Heatwave doesnt work (and doesnt look like it ever will).
The Media Browser currently doesnt support RTM either, but should have a new build by Oct 22nd 09.


Comment left October 7, 2009 at 6:55 am Permanent Link

Comment #4335 from HH [Reply]

Great information, but I’m looking for specific functionality that I can’t see covered…Media Center seems to be built like much of Windows, assuming one user uses one identity rather than multiple people sharing a user profile (as you would with a media center next to the TV).

So any idea how I would organise my movies/music/TV recordings into folders (e.g. Kids, Dad, Mom) and secure them (so the kids can’t access inappropriate content) ? Topfields have a crude Unix-like UI for this. Is there a way to do this in Media Center, or one of these plug ins ? It isn’t mentioned in the blurbage I’ve seen.

And since I’ve mentioned TV shows, one of my favourite Topfield features is bookmarks. MC behaves like a VCR leaving you at a single point in the tape whereve you hit the stop button, but a Topfield lets you leave (and remove) as many bookmarks as you like wherever you like (so son can mark where he’s up to when sent to bed and dad can continue watching, and might leave his own bookmark when interrupted by mom).

I’d also like to be able to either rename or edit meta data tags on my TV recordings (e.g. “dad has seen this episode” of a series) which MC doesn’t seem to like.

Any pointers to tools or techniques to do this gratefully appreciated.



Comment left October 29, 2009 at 5:12 am Permanent Link
@Reply #4342 from Michael Healy [Reply]

The latest version of MediaBrowser supports parental controls and if you’d like you can use Media Center Studio to replace the default movie library menu item. DVRMSToolbox has a Windows 7 plugin which allows you to make multiple bookmarks (as well as adding tons of other possibilities). Finally, even though there isn’t a function for editing show metadata inside Media Center it can be done easily from the right-click Properties dialog in Explorer.

Don’t forget to browse around our archives here as well, we’ve got a three piece series on plugins and programs posted recently even- part 1, part 2, part 3.

Comment left October 29, 2009 at 8:20 am Permanent Link

Comment #4592 from Anonymous [Reply]

HULU ????????????????????????

Comment left November 6, 2009 at 6:31 am Permanent Link

Comment #5897 from Anonymous [Reply]

Comment left December 21, 2009 at 11:17 pm Permanent Link

Comment #6820 from vickey [Reply]

hi friends i have problem with window media centre i open any file or setup it cant and sundenly windo media open even it is not runnig the setup of window

Comment left January 21, 2010 at 10:08 am Permanent Link

Comment #9041 from Joe [Reply]

I recently upgraded to windows7 from vista and ever since I cannot watch youtube or other videos because somehow I lost Adobe Flash Player and I cannot get it to install no matter what I do…safe mode…with anti virus turned off…etc. I thought 7 was supposed to solve problems not create them. I know that flash is a plugin. Any suggestions?

Comment left April 4, 2010 at 9:05 am Permanent Link

@Reply #22317 from Anonymous [Reply]

Are you using win 7 64 bit? try using the 32bit browser and set that as default, then try install 32bit adobe flash.
Media Center runs in 64 bit mode so adobe flash will not run and it’s not installed for 64bit.
If you are running 32bit win 7 then see if it’s installed already under vista in the control panel. If so, remove it, reboot and try install 32bit flash again.

Comment left November 5, 2010 at 5:25 am Permanent Link
Comment #9275 from djfourmoney [Reply]

I tried Meda Browser and my videos have no metadata it seems though I know Transformers Season (G1) Season 1 has been on DVD for years, no data.

Setup it up wrong?

Comment left April 12, 2010 at 7:02 am Permanent Link

@Reply #22320 from Anonymous [Reply]

There is a program I use to get meta data for tv and movies called Media Scout. Older version works a treat but the newer version seems a bit buggy.
site: http://tvscout.codeplex.com/
This will fetch the meta data for the tv show and rename and reorganise your shows into episodes complete with proper titles and also put them into season directory’s as well as fetching artwork for the folder and background images for media browser.
Note: If a film is a remake of an older movie you should be presented with a list to choose from.

Comment left November 5, 2010 at 5:33 am Permanent Link
Comment #9332 from djfourmoney [Reply]

So basically clean up the file structure and it should show up? on TVdb.com all the series I have shows up using the sites search engine, so I guess I have to change it.


Comment left April 13, 2010 at 6:59 pm Permanent Link

Comment #10234 from petey [Reply]

Is there a plug-in that can remember your favorite shows and highlight them in the guide, for easy reference when checking whats showing live that you are interested in. Perhaps even allowing you to set up a play-list for the evenings viewing, so that you don’t have to remember what you wanted to watch and what channel/time it was on.

Comment left April 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm Permanent Link

Comment #12849 from john [Reply]

Hi, i watch tv online and watch it through my tv ,only like justin tv etc. How can i get Win 7 media center to record what I am watching at the time?

The only setup is for tv with a tuner, and obviously I am not using the tuner in my tv


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