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Managing Digital Movies (part 4) - Watching and Managing Movies with Windows Media Center

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1/23/2014 1:20:04 AM

4. Watching and Managing Movies with Windows Media Center

Windows Media Center is, of course, the premium environment in Windows for enjoying digital media content such as photos, music, movies, and, yes, even live and recorded TV shows. But Media Center — isn't just for people with expensive home theater setups. There's no reason you can't use Media Center with a mouse and keyboard on your desktop PC or notebook. In fact, you may find it quite enjoyable to do just that.

NOTE

Because it is a premium feature, Windows Media Center is not available in all Windows 7 product versions. You have to be using Windows 7 Home Premium or better (Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate) to get Windows Media Center.

As shown in Figure 10, Windows Media Center is a seamless, home theater–like application that works best full screen but can absolutely be enjoyed in a floating, resizable window alongside your other applications if you feel like doing a bit of multitasking.

Figure 10. Windows Media Center is a nice graphical front end to a variety of digital media experiences.

To use Media Center to manage your digital movies, navigate to the Pictures + Videos experience in the Start page and then choose Video Library. The first time you enter this area, Media Center will ask if you'd like to choose other folders for locating videos. If you've already configured the Videos library to watch the folders you use for videos, or you intend to only use the default folders for video content, you can select No.

NOTE

Unlike Windows Media Player and Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Media Center actually does integrate with the folders you monitor via the Videos library. So if you've configured Videos to aggregate content from other locations, those videos will automatically appear in this application as God intended. Hey, one out of three ain't bad when you're Microsoft.

NOTE

Confusingly, the Windows 7 version of Windows Media Center also includes a top-level Movies option, so you're forgiven for thinking that this might be the place to go to see your digital movies. It is not. Instead, Movies is designed as a front end for online movies, like movie trailers, as well as DVD movies you might play via Media Center. Videos stored on your PC will be found in Pictures + Videos, Video Library.

If you choose Yes, Media Center will walk you through its Library Setup wizard. From here, you can easily add other folders to monitor for video content.

NOTE

If you do add monitored folders via Windows Media Center, those locations will be added to the appropriate libraries as well. So if you add a folder with video content here, that folder will be added to the Videos library too.

The Video Library experience, shown in Figure 11, provides a horizontally-oriented grid of videos through which you can navigate by either name or date. To watch a video, simply select it.

Figure 11. In Media Center, videos include graphical thumbnails, providing a highly visual navigation experience.

NOTE

Although Windows Media Center offers tag-based navigation for music and photos, it does not do so for videos. To navigate your video collection by tag, you'll need to use Windows Live Photo Gallery.

In a related vein, you can't tag, rate, or add captions to videos in Media Center. Essentially, Windows Media Center simply offers a high-end place for video consumption. If you want to interact with videos, you'll need to look elsewhere.

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