Now that we’ve covered a handful of great plugins to improve your Windows 7 media Center, here and here, it’s time to go through a few programs and background plugins that can greatly improve your experience. These programs and plugins will improve on the Media Center interface as well as adding some missing options and features that are lacking in the basic Media Center installation. Add logos to the TV guide listings, create your own Media Center themes, put Caller ID on your TV and more.
My Channel Logos
My Channel Logos allows you to quickly and easily add channel logos to your Windows 7 Media Center’s TV guide listings improving both the appearance and usability of the guide. The newest versions of this program even include sets of downloadable channel logos including color versions. Using the program is quite easy as well, once you’ve setup your TV guide listings inside Media Center just open the program and select your region then apply channel logos. My Channel Logos will search through your guide files and make the appropriate changes to add logos, just relaunch Media Center.
Media Center Studio
Media Center Studio, the successor to Menu Mender, is the ultimate in Windows 7 Media Center customization apps. Allowing you to design, create and distribute your own Media Center themes as well as customize and create your own start menu strips. Change the Media Center background, add a games strip and more all with ease using this handy program. This program makes it simple to create and rearrange your Media Center interface until you’ve got it just the way you like it. Make changes to the graphic interface by using your own images and fonts then just drag and drop start strip tiles to make your Media Center truly unique.
MC7 Sleep Timer
Though a sleep timer likely isn’t one of the firs things to cross your mind as a missing feature, if you’re used to having one on your television it can be a sorely missed feature. MC7 Sleep Timer is exceptionally easy to use as well. Simply install the plugin then use the plugin interface in the Extra Programs listing to set a sleep timer for any number of intervals. Quick buttons are available for 30 and 60 minutes as well as teh ability to create a custom timer button and even just turn off your monitor. This handy little tool is sure to make at least a few Media Center enthusiasts’ setups complete.
Refresh Rate Changer
There are plenty of movie and media enthusiasts that prefer to watch their content the way is was originally intended, which includes in the original refresh rate. By default Windows 7 Media Center runs in the default resolution of your monitor, typically 60hz, however much of today’s HD media is intended to be played back at 24hz. Refresh Rate Changer will let you do just that. Just setup the resolutions and refresh rates for your monitor and media in the options file then access the plugin inside Media Center to change the refresh rate. Though not automatic and requiring an automatic restart of Media Center it’s a solution to the problem.
Vista Caller ID
Not just for Vista any longer, Vista Caller ID’s developers have even create a plugin to allow you to harness the program’s functions to get Caller ID right inside your Windows 7 Media Center. A feature commonly included in modern cable and satellite DVR boxes and sorely missed by many making the switch. As long as you’ve got a compatible analog modem, install the basic program and the Media Center plugin to get started. Then be sure to setup your preferences and you’ll be all set.
Check out part one and part two of this series!
Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to Hack7MC as we bring you the latest and greatest news from the Windows 7 Media Center community including plugins, hacks and programs to complete your dream Media Center setup. Hopefully you’ve found most of the plugins you need already in this guide, including the previous parts 1 and 2. Stay tuned to Hack7MC as we bring you even more!