Managing Media Center’s TV listings can be a tricky business, options are spread out across multiple areas and the interface makes for slow and tedious work. Luckily, 1geek1tool has a solution with it’s Guide Tool program. Guide Tool will allow you to manage all your channels, tuners and listings from a single handy application which can even manage your listings remotely.
To get started you’ll need to download and install Guide Tool on your Windows 7 Media Center machine. During installation Guide Tools installs a background program allowing you to access your listings remotely. Once installed on the Media Center machine you can install it on any other machine to access your listings remotely.
Upon first opening Guide Tool you’ll be asked to provide the name or IP of the machine you’d like to edit listings for. If editing listings on a local machine simply enter “localhost” otherwise you can enter the network name or IP address to connect remotely. It should be noted that Media Center must be running on the destination machine while using Guide Tool however.
Once connected you’ll get a your current lineup on the left hand pane along with the option to select any available listings for your area into the right hand pane. You can browse through the listings and assign the guide data from the right hand pane to channels on the left by selecting one from each pane and pressing the Subscribe button in the toolbar. Conversely, unsubscribe will clear the association or the dropdown Subscribe menu to automatically assign listings to a channel by number or name.
Guide Tool also allows you to rename and renumber your channels any way you’d like by using the left hand pane and the renaming tools found in the toolbar. Just select the channel you’d like to change and press the rename or renumber buttons. Reverting is as easy as pressing the appropriate button as well.
Perhaps the best feature of Guide Tool, however, is the ability to manage tuners assigned to specific channels. Merge channels available on different tuners by selecting the Merge Tuners button and you can merge all channels by number, name or guide subscription. Manage channels individually using the Merge and Split buttons to combine channels available on multiple tuners or split them into separate listings.
I’ll admit that at first I wasn’t convinced of the value of this tool, the built-in settings dialogs seemed sufficient, but that soon changed as I found an error in my own listings that had been giving me trouble for some time. Using Guide Tool made tracking down the problem unbelievably simpler than Media Center’s built-in tools. A problem I had suspected was driver related was in reality just an improperly split channel.
Guide Tool does have a few lingering issues however. The tool doesn’t yet work properly on 64-bit machines and selecting a channel in one pane removed the selection color on the other though it was still selected. The 64-bit issue is on the docket to be fixed in the near future though and Guide Tool has certainly cemented it’s position as an invaluable tool for Windows 7 Media Center users.