The other day I had a weird problem with my Windows 7 Media Centre PC. The audio worked fine for all WMV and AVI (divx) files I had, but when I tried to play any WTV files, there was no audio.
The video played OK, just no audio. Files I had recorded on that computer, files I had watched a few days ago with audio, no longer had any sound.
After a little bit of searching on the web I thought it might be a driver problem.
So I uninstalled the drivers for the two sound devices, and then rebooted.
Upon reboot it detected the two devices again, reinstalled the drivers.
Then everything was working again. Sound on all WTV files.
Any TV programs that you record with Windows7 Media Center is written in a WTV format. Which is a new format for Windows7*. Which is fine if you only plan to watch it back on the same PC or on another Windows7 PC. If however you wish to watch it on a Vista or XP computer, or you wish to shrink the file size a little, then you will need to convert the file.
You can pay money for programs like WTV2AVI to do it but you can also do it for free in Windows 7.
I recently got myself a USB TV tuner and have started recording TV with it and Windows Media Center in Windows 7. It is fantastic! I love how well Media Center works its so easy.
One thing I wanted to know was how to change the location where Windows Media Center records TV to. It’s quite easy,
- Open Windows Media Center.
- Click on Settings.
- Scroll down to TV and click on it.
- Click Recorder.
- Now click on Recorder Storage.
- Change Record on drive from C: to the desired one.
- Click Save to save the changes.
I haven’t actually changed it myself, because I had planned to change it to one of the USB drives I have plugged into my media PC. But I haven’t had time to see if and how recording to the USB drive effects recording performance.
Although Windows 7 media center does a very good job of creating thumbnails for all the videos, sometimes they’re just not good enough.
Luckly there is a simple answer. Simply put a JPG file in the same location as the movie file, with the same name (but different extension of course) and media center will use that image as a thumbnail.
However, if you’re looking for good thumbnails you can’t use just any image. It has to be the right dimensions. The actual image size appears to be 320×420, but if you use an image that is 1024×768 it gets scaled down nicely as well.
If you don’t have ready access to an image for your movie, heres a tip for using google to find the right image size.
If the search field type
groundhog day imagesize:1024x768
That will return all images relating to “groundhog day” of the size 1024×768
I’ve been using Windows 7 on my media center PC for a few months now and wanted to share some of the reasons why I really like it.
1. No third party codecs
I didn’t have to mess around loading any third party codec programs. It plays DivX and MP4 videos natively.
2. Resume playback.
When you stop a video and come back to it later, even after watching another video, Windows 7 will ask you if you want to resume playback from where you left off. Very useful.
3. It just works.
It was easy to install and setup, and I didn’t have to do any messing around to get it to play my media. It just worked.
4. Media Libraries.
Windows 7 has a new feature called libraries. To add media to media system you simly right click on the folder and choose add to library, then select the folder that you want to add the media too.
5. It’s easy to use.
The menu system is easy to navigate and eveything is easy to find.
To be honest there is one or twp things that I don’t like about Windows 7 Media Center
1. Pictures and video together.
This is only a small gripe. But I’d prefer picture and video to be seperate menu options like they were in XP MCE, not together like they are in VMC and W7MC.
2. Black Thumbnails.
It creates thumbs nails ok but it seems to create the thumb nail from a frame just a few frames on from the start of the video. Which most of the time seems to be black. So while all my videos have nice thumb nails, most are simply black. This seems to have been fixed with build 7077