I've been using my new Windows Media Center for a little over a week. So far, I really enjoy it. Recording and pausing live TV works great. The ability to record individual shows and set-up series recordings works as you would expect and includes the usual set of features such as:
- Recording quality
- Keeping a certain number of episodes
- Keeping the show until I watch or delete it
- Starting or stopping the recording on time or so many minutes before it starts, and
- Recording a show on only one channel or any channel where the guide finds it
There were also a few features that are very nice to have but something I didn't plan on getting. The online spotlight was one such feature.
When you navigate into the online spotlight, the menu has several sections that include TV & Movies, Music & Radio, News & Sports, plus a few others. Each section contains several channels. For instance, the News & Sports section includes a Yahoo Sports channel, MSN TV Today, and an NPR channel, to name a few.
Of all the channels, MSN TV Today and NPR are my favorites. NPR allows you to see a list of all of today's shows, such as Morning Edition, and listen to a streaming version from the Web. While the MSN TV channel allows you to get weather, news and sports information by watching individual video clips for that particular story.
Two other features that I find really useful are the My TV and My Music features.
The My TV menu section not only includes the guide and the ability to record live television but it also provides you with a snap shot of what is on. For instance, while in the My TV menu you can press the Movies menu item and see a list of movies that are currently showing for your channel lineup.
With the My Music feature you can listen to your music collection through Media Center. I have a server with a large collection of mp3s that I share with the other PCs in my house. Once I told Media Center where the music share was located, it happily setup the connection and in a matter a few minutes I was streaming my play lists from another PC.