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First look at Windows Media Center in Windows 7

Windows Media Center 7
In case you hadn't heard, Microsoft is officially pulling back the curtain on Windows 7 today. And while the Windows taskbar, Window behavior, and gadget/widget engine have been overhauled, so has the Windows Media Center interface.

Windows Media Center is a built-in application for accessing music, movies, photos, and live TV (if your PC has a TV tuner card) using a 10-foot interface rather than the typical 3-foot PC interface. In other words, you can plop down on your couch and watch videos using Windows Media Center and a wireless remote or keyboard without finding yourself squinting at the screen.

The Windows 7 version of Windows Media Center includes a number of changes, including:
  • New fonts in the Start Menu make it easy to see a larger number of items without the display looking too cluttered.
  • The Now Playing thumbnail window is a bit larger than in Windows Vista.
  • If you don't have album artwork available, Windows Media Center will create multi-colored backgrounds for your albums rather than filling you screen with a bunch of blue boxes with white text.
  • There's a new details view (shown above) which lets you view information about videos, albums, or photos without launching a whole new window.
  • The new "Turbo Scroll" feature lets you scroll through large music libraries much faster by holding down your left or right remote control buttons. Turbo Scroll also works when browsing the TV listing menu.
  • H.264 video playback is supported out of the box.
  • The TV and video seek bar is now clickable, letting you jump to a particular point in the video.
There's also a new on screen keyboard that makes text entry much easier.

Tags: osupdates, windows-7, windows-media-center