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How to Do Everything with Windows Vista™ Media Center [Paperback]

Joli Ballew

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Book Description

Nov. 19 2007 0071498648 978-0071498647 1

Now you can enjoy all of your digital media on your PC or TV easily with Windows Vista Media Center! Filled with expert tips, this hands-on guide explains how you can watch and record TV shows, download movies and music, view your photos and videos, and so much more--all through one, integrated system. How to Do Everything with Windows Vista Media Center shows you how to configure this versatile tool for optimum quality and performance and how to make the most of all of its powerful--and fun--features.

  • Connect to a wired or wireless network, the Internet, and a TV signal
  • Configure your settings, including privacy, parental controls, and closed captioning
  • Watch, pause, rewind, and record live TV
  • Download and watch movies and other media
  • Set up a personal music library and buy or rent music online
  • Create playlists, burn CDs, synch mobile devices, and stream music
  • Customize, create, and manage pictures and videos
  • Access your media from an Xbox 360 or other Windows Vista PCs
  • Install a DVD, HD DVD, or Blu-ray disc drive for your PC or Xbox 360
  • Install and configure a TV tuner, a cable card, and an external hard drive

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Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Joli Ballew is a technical author, technology trainer, and website manager. She is the author or coauthor of nearly two dozen books, including CNET Do-It-Yourself Mac Projects and Hardcore Windows XP.

Justin Harrison is an expert in digital media, a three-time Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Windows Media Center, a consultant, and a technical columnist. He has worked with Microsoft on the Casual Games team, and for General Electric.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for experianced PC users, great if you never touched a PC before April 14 2008
By J. Cross - Published on
Really not much in here that you cannot discover on your own in a couple hours of playing around in vista. Save your money and do alittle reseach online. If you know next to nothing about PC's than a good book to start you off. Otherwise full of common sense stuff, almost everything in here is cut and pasted from Microsofts website.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not worth the price June 19 2009
By Bears - Published on
This book reads like a printed copy of the online help you might find in a software program. It provides step-by-step instructions for walking through MCE's wizards and dialog boxes, but that's about it.

There are no insights in the book, such as: which graphics or tuner card should I pick, what are the ramifications of using Vista's "Burn to DVD" function for an HD TV show (I assume it loses quality), how can I tune my MCE machine for optimal performance?

Also completely absent is any discussion of third-party software enhancements for MCE. I noticed the competing "Unleashing..." book has an entire chapter for these.

The book contains a lot of filler. Many passages in the book describe in detail what is about to be done, and then the following passages describe in detail what to do; sometimes it looks almost copied and pasted. There are even two tables of contents.

The book is also inconsistent in its treatment of hardware. In the earlier chapters the user is encouraged to go ahead and install new hardware inside of their computer. But in later chapters, the authors begin making comments about the perceived difficulty of working inside the computer. The last hardware discussion is the only one that includes a complete step by step guide of how to install the hardware. The whole treatment seems entirely backwards.

I got the book from my library to give me something to do while I wait for my new HTPC to arrive. To that end, it served it's purpose, as I now know what to expect with MCE and what the primary configuration options are, not to mention that reading it passed the time. However, I don't feel like I've learned anything I wouldn't have figured out after about 30 minutes - 2 hours of playing around with my new HTPC.

The book is definitely not worth $15+. I would suggest trying the "Unleashing..." book, which at least has a more promising table of contents.
3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Vista Media Center Reference July 19 2008
By Herbert D. Hickman - Published on
Complete coverage of everything 'Vista Media Center'. Includes insights on companion items and helpful hints on their function / value. It has answered all my questions and more. Writen in an easy to follow style with lots of screen shots. Excellent basic, intermediate, advanced skill level coverage.

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