How To HTPC Windows Media Center

Customizing Media Center

togetherlove While Windows Media Center provides access to broadcast, local and internet content, sometimes it’s just not enough.  Some people, like myself, want more.  Conversely, we also want less.  Less scrolling and less clutter within our menu structure.

How to get more content?  That’s easy with the use of Boxee, Hulu Desktop and the great integration scripts provided by Teknowebworks.  With the Boxee and Hulu Desktop integration they provide, it’s easy to jump from one application to another without ever getting up from the couch.  The only issue is that it makes your main menu that much longer.  While adding two entry points and having to jump around more might not seem like that big of a deal, it can be enough to get annoying.  Especially when there are other things you don’t use within that same interface.  Why keep a “Sports” or “Movie” strip you’ll never use?

MCStudio-Themes1 That’s where Media Center Studio comes in.  This handy application allows you to completely customize your Media Center experience.  From changing backgrounds to adding and removing entry points, this is what you need if you want to tweak your interface to your liking.  You’ll see in the screencast below how I quickly add, remove and consolidate menu items to make a much cleaner and easier to navigate experience.

MCStudio-StartMenu1Media Center Studio has a bit of learning to it but once you see how to use it, things move quickly.  Making menu changes becomes quick and easy.  Don’t have a TV tuner and just use Media Center for viewing your locally stored content?  One checkbox and that TV strip is gone.  Enjoy gaming on your HTPC but tire of having to get up to grab a mouse and keyboard just to switch applications?   Just drop in an entry point, name it as you see fit and you’re done.  There’s very little that Media Center Studio won’t allow you to do.

I hope you find the screencast below helpful.  Feel free to contact us here at The DMZ if you have more questions or if something doesn’t seem to be working for you!

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Adam Thursby

Adam Thursby is the founder and creator of The Digital Media Zone.