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Schedule a TV Recording with Windows Vista Media Center

To do television on your PC, you need a combination of hardware and software. The software comes with certain editions of Windows Vista, and it's called the Windows Media Center. You use Windows Media Center to view and record television, as well as do other media things (music and pictures).

There are many ways to record a program in the Windows Media Center. In addition to recording what you're watching at the moment, you can do any of the following:

Record a show found in the guide. The Media Center downloads information about your cable or satellite TV service and creates its own guide. To see the guide, choose Guide under TV + Movies. Click to select a show you want to record, and then click the Record button. The program listed in the guide then sports a red Record dot, which is your clue that a program has been scheduled for recording.

Record a future broadcast of the current show. The mantra "nothing is on TV" is true mostly because a lot of television consists of shows broadcast over and over. Therefore, if you miss recording a program, you can check for another showing and schedule it to be recorded.

To record a full copy of the show you're watching now, follow these steps:

1. Right-click the Media Center window.

2. Choose Program Info.

A second menu appears.

3. Choose Other Showings.

4. Scroll through the list to find the future showing you want.

5. Click the future showing.

6. Choose Record from the menu.

Record a series. To record all programs in a series, such as your favorite show every Saturday night, follow these steps:

1. Choose from the guide.

2. Click Record Series.

Every instance of that show is then flagged for future recording. Note that recording all instances of a show consumes a hefty amount of disk space.

  • There's no need to set an "end time" when scheduling a show to record in the Media Center. Thanks to the guide you downloaded from the Internet, Media Center knows when a program starts and ends. The recording starts one minute before the program starts, and it ends about three minutes after the program finishes — automatically.
  • Recorded TV is, logically, kept in the Recorded TV subcategory under TV + Movies.
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