Microsoft’s powerful home theatre centrepiece, Windows Media Center, is easily one of the best applications that ships for free with Windows. But you can still make it better — and take it into new realms — with these plug-ins, helper apps and tweaks.
Photo by ryaninc.
We’ve previously covered a couple of these as part of our feature of top 10 apps that boost your media centre, but we thought that Windows Media Center (WMC from here on) deserved its own special loving list. It also fills out the capabilities and powers of WMC, as many commenters felt our media centre comparison chart didn’t give the big picture when it came to their Windows boxes. Fair enough — here’s an extended list of powers that the little blue-green app can pull off.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, most of these apps and plug-ins are intended for use with Windows 7’s Media Center. Many keep older versions, compatible with Vista’s WMC and the “Media Center Edition” XP systems, available at their srighites, but some may not. Similarly, one or two apps may only work with an older WMC edition, and that’s been noted in the text as well.
Start WMC in live TV mode
Play more video formats on your Xbox 360 Media Center Extender
Kill commercials, inside or outside WMC
Convert recordings for iPods
Customise menus and rip DVDs
Control WMC from anywhere with WebGuide
Get the best view of downloaded and ripped files
What’d we miss in the way of Windows Media Center add-ons, plug-ins and tweaks? What other apps make your own WMC setup the kind of thing you brag to friends (and random internet commenters) about? Tell us in the comments.