Is Your Computer Also A TV

Is Your Computer Also A TV

In these days of uncertain television, wouldn’t it be great if you could record your favourite programmes automatically, so you could watch them at your leisure. What if you could also schedule a recording so that every episode of a series could be recorded automatically – even if the times changed? How about if you could also store all of your digital music collection alongside your digital photos all on the same box?

What we are talking about here is a media centre computer and in addition to all the things above it is also a “normal” computer that will connect to the Internet, allowing you to send and receive emails, book flights etc.

With the advent of Windows Vista (Home Premium or Ultimate Edition) we all have the ability to do these things. This is worth bearing in mind if you are looking to upgrade your computer.

If you have a large screen TV just imagine using it with your computer together with a wireless keyboard and mouse. In order to do this most people will only need a decent TV card (around 100 euros) which is plugged into your aerial or satellite receiver to take advantage of this excellent feature within Microsoft Vista.

1. DVD playback – nothing particularly special here, just the ability to play DVD´s, however it is fully integrated into the console.

2. DVD Burning – you can take any media (photo’s, TV recordings, music) and burn them to DVD so that they can be played on another computer or DVD player.

3. Remote Control – the ability to add a remote control to allow navigation of the “Media Centre” menu screens easily.

4. Extenders – you can extend the “Media Centre” onto other Microsoft Vista computers so that photos and other media can be shared. You can even integrate it with the Microsoft x-box 360 if you are so inclined.

5. EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) – this is one of the best features. It allows “Media Centre” to download programme listings via the Internet for the channels broadcast by your TV supplier.

6. Music and Photograph integration – the “Media Centre” integrates all of your music and photo collection into one easily viewable and usable interface which is accessible via your remote control.

Overall the power and flexibility of the “Media Centre” feature of Vista is quite incredible, given that it is additional to the standard features that you would expect from a home computer.

Another thing that you might be interested in – if you have Vista and receive your TV via a UK proxy server (like the one advertised in this magazine) then you could download and install the “TunerFree MCE” add-in to the Vista Media Centre at the following address…

…yes its a bit of a mouthful isnt it!

Anyway, after installing, it allows your computer to view downloaded content from the UK terrestrial TV channels – all in one easy-to-use interface.