Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

Setting Up Custom Channel Lineups in Windows 7 Media Center

by @ 9:00 am on June 9th, 2009 in Atsc\ClearQAM, tv listings with 18 Comments

Custom Channel Guide Windows 7 Media Center doesn’t always get your lineup right from the start. Channels may be assigned to the wrong number, improperly labeled channels or channels might be missing all together. What do we need to do to get our listings sorted out?

Step one is to select the right guide for your area during TV signal setup. This should be fairly straight forward though if you find that you don’t have a complete lineup of listings available in later steps you may want to choose another nearby location.

choose the best zip code for your lineup

Entering the zip code of a nearby urban center might provide better results for your lineup if you find that your unable to select the proper lineup options in the later steps. Afterward complete the TV Signal Setup as usual then enter the TV Guide. You should now have a channel lineup, hopefully somewhere close to what you need in the end.

Now we’ll add any channels that are missing from the guide. Go to the TV –> Guide menu under Settings in the main menu. Here you should see an option to Add Missing Channels.


After entering this menu you’ll see options to add either Analog or Digital Channels to your lineup (provided you have the proper hardware). The steps are slightly different for each channel type but should be fairly simple.

add channel

Select the type of channel you’d like to add Channel for analog, QAM channel for ClearQAM or ATSC for antenna channels. Next Media Center will ask a series of questions about the channel you’d like to add including the name of the channel, the channel number and modulation (if applicable).

digital channel name

If you are unsure about QAM modulation, for example, in the United States selecting QAM256 is a fairly safe bet. If that turned out to be the incorrect choice however you can always change the modulation later through the Edit Channel menu.


Once you’ve entered your missing channels re-enter the TV guide and you’ll notice that you’re still missing the guide data for each of these channels. That’s because though you have assigned a name and number to these channels Media Center still isn’t sure which data to use for the channel.

no guide data

To tell Media Center what guide data to use for this channel we need to bring up the Edit Channel menu for this channel. Press the i button on your remote or right-click the channel with your mouse. Select Edit Channel from the menu. You can also use this menu to disable any channels that appear in the guide that you don’t receive by selecting Disable Channel.

edit channel

Inside the Edit Channel menu you’ll find a number of options available. The one we’re interested in is Edit Listings. This is the option that will allow us to assign the listings to be used for this particular channel. Once selected you should be presented with a large list of potential channel listings to assign to the channel.

add listings

This list should include all the channels downloaded by the Media Center guide retrieval application. As you can see above, even though I’ve selected an analog lineup I’m still given the option to select paid digital channels (even those on the opposite coast!).

Select the lineup that best represents the channel you’re currently editing. This is made slightly easier by using the “Show Preview” option and the details of the currently selected listing at the bottom. The currently selected channel will play in the background and should match up with the details listed.

Once you’ve got the right lineup selected Save your settings and return to the TV guide. You should now see the selected data imported to the guide along with a name assigned by Media Center to the channel.

listings added to guide

Repeat these steps for each channel you need to customize and you should have your custom lineup ready for use in no time! Remember to remove any channels that you may not receive as well by selecting Disable Channel from the menu.

Spice up your TV guide even more using the My Channel Logos program and custom color logos!


Comment #1557 from Nick [Reply]

Is there any way to backup/restore these listings? That would be a great feature.

Comment left June 10, 2009 at 7:31 am Permanent Link
@Reply #1559 from Michael Healy [Reply]

Not yet, we’re still waiting for a programming hero to come along and give us an application to restore the lineup’s mxf backup data properly.

Comment left June 10, 2009 at 8:41 am Permanent Link

Comment #2017 from merdzd [Reply]

is there way just make List of channels from 1 -999
with no Guide data. just List?

Comment left July 6, 2009 at 2:43 am Permanent Link

Comment #5619 from Ichinisan [Reply]

I don’t know how this guide left out the most useful part. 7MC lets you assign your own channel numbers so the ClearQAM channels can have the same channel numbers as it would with a set-top box from your cable provider.

Comment left December 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm Permanent Link

Comment #5819 from SoniG [Reply]

Well, in France there is just no Add Missing Channels on the TV/Guide Settings. Only the six others options!

Comment left December 19, 2009 at 2:23 am Permanent Link

@Reply #6137 from Anonymous [Reply]

I have the same problem. no “add missing channels” option in Windows 7 Media Centre. Did you find a solution to your problem?

Comment left December 30, 2009 at 4:45 am Permanent Link

Comment #6096 from Greg [Reply]

It was asked back in June if there is any way to backup/restore the channels, which at the time there wasn’t.

Is there anything of the sort now? I hope to never go through that process again :D .

Comment left December 28, 2009 at 10:20 pm Permanent Link
Comment #8361 from zvonko [Reply]

this is OK but first you must to get the data , I recommend my program see more details here it downloads data, translate it and inject into MC (it integrates more grabbers and big screen epg but also translates th titles and synopsis for the shows from various languages to familiar language….

Comment left March 8, 2010 at 5:32 am Permanent Link

Comment #8475 from Dan [Reply]

Okay I don’t have a Set Top Box I just take what channels my TV decodes over the line coming into my house. I only get channels 2.x – 13.x
If I go through the TV setup and choose the “Antenna” as the source (Cable, Statelite, Antenna) the EPG it pulls is the exact one I want, need with the right channels: (2.1, 4.1, 7.1, etc…) All the #.1 are the HD version.
Yet when I finish the wizard they don’t have a signal but my TV gets these just fine. So is there a way to grab the EPG from the Antenna selection and then switch the source to the ClearQAM. I think then that would be perfect. I have the Happague HVR-2250.

Comment left March 12, 2010 at 4:21 pm Permanent Link

Comment #9984 from Robert [Reply]

Hi, I have a DVICO Fusion HDTV7RTGOLD,Media center will NOT see the ATSC/QAM portion of tuner card. I am running Windows7 Home Premium. Does anyone know any way to get this card to fully work in Media center under Win7? Please contact me via direct email.
Thanks in advance.

Comment left April 20, 2010 at 12:14 am Permanent Link

David Sepulveda
Comment #22860 from David Sepulveda [Reply]

Well this information is great. But it still wont help my situation.
I have a AVerTV PCI-e Combo Card, (dual tuners) analog and DVB. I’m on Time Warner Cable. When I do a scan, some DVB channels are at first found, but then automatically deleted from the final channel list.
That really dosent matter to me, but what does matter is that one of the channels that it does find, isn’t the proper station. On the ABC local station, 12.1, I get a Digital Music station only. (no video) Then on the 12.2 channel I get one of the PBS HD sub channels. I work for the ABC station, so I had enough clout to get the TW cable engineer come out to my home and check the cable sub stations frequencies. We found that on all my other HDTV’s, 12.1 came in as it should with the ABC channel, and 12.2 came in with the proper station. Then when I ran the scan again on my AVerTV combo card, again, we got the digital music station and PBS. I’m thinking that maybe my Media Center Frequency table is corrupt, if so, how would I fix it…I’ve tried downloading the table several times….with the same results at the end. So could it be that AVerTV has wrong info for this area? (78210)

Comment left November 10, 2010 at 8:39 am Permanent Link

David Sepulveda
Comment #22861 from David Sepulveda [Reply]

Just to add more info, to my previous help request.

I’ve also tried several zip codes for this area, when downloading the frequency table. And still got the same results.

Comment left November 10, 2010 at 8:42 am Permanent Link

Comment #25969 from Michael [Reply]

I also am missing the “Add Missing Channels” menu item. I was told on a forum that it is because my HD-PVR is seen as a cable tuner rather than a “set top box”. Microsoft should leave the “Add Missing Channels” for all tuners, since even a Cable box can miss them.

I sure would like to know a way around that, even if it means manually editing XML files.

Comment left December 14, 2010 at 7:30 pm Permanent Link

Comment #56078 from jon [Reply]

Is there a file associated with the channel listings? I want to save a copy of my edited listings and revert back to original. Can this be done?

Comment left December 30, 2011 at 8:44 pm Permanent Link

Comment #67102 from Tonyf [Reply]

With normal channel scan I get up to 50 TV channels from several different transmitters that are duplicates of the 16 or so channels that are being broadcast in my state.

There is an optimal transmitter i should tune to by frequency and each frequency would have up to four sub-channels.

How do I get media center to tune to the ideal channels for my location. I know the frequencies of the 6 transport streams I really should tune to to get all the TV channels available.

Media center goes bananas when it needs to keep track of 50 channels. I want to prune it down to the channels from the best transmitter for my area.

I live very high up and get many repeats of the same channel
from lots of different antennas at time they all work well but there are optional ones I should tune to

Comment left March 27, 2012 at 11:21 pm Permanent Link

Comment #67104 from Tonyf [Reply]

Maybe the quick and dirty fix to my problem is to know where and how the WMC TV channel lists are stored so that I can hack them to contain what I need. If they are just XML files stashed away someplace (even protected) I’ll be fine if the file contains stuff I can relate to channel tunings and sub-channel numbers.

Has anyone published a directory of the data structures and files used in WMC (win 7) and where they are located or what you look at to find where they are located.

Comment left March 27, 2012 at 11:53 pm Permanent Link

Comment #67112 from Tonyf [Reply]

another problem I get is that I cannot relate the channel numbers used by WMC to the Australian channel numbers.

I get channel numbers in the hundreds and two hundreds and there does not seem to be a way to relate these to the published broadcast frequencies and Channel numbers.

Comment left March 28, 2012 at 1:46 am Permanent Link

Comment #118824 from Pj [Reply]

I always had WMC7 (64) locking up since I got this computer (Nov 2010). Just the other day, I decided to remove the WinTV V7.2 Ver 2.0 software.

It is too early to tell, but WMC seems more stable. I have played about 7 or 8 programs in a row and usually would have froze/locked up by now.

However, I did a fresh scan of channels and all but a few of the ClearQAMs did not show up. I had to manually add all the other ones. (…and reassign channel numbers and link the guide listings.)

I have not updated this Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 since its original install (Nov 2010). I shall try to do so at some point.

Comment left April 24, 2013 at 12:13 am Permanent Link

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