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Like this article? We recommend New Interface Features in Media Center 7

New Interface Features in Media Center 7

However you choose to use Windows Media Center, the new version in Microsoft Windows 7 provides an enhanced experience. It's easier than ever to record and watch TV programming, listen to your favorite music, and view your digital photo library. The changes are subtle but significant.

The first change you notice is in the look of Media Center 7. The menu typeface is larger but also thinner; it's a more sophisticated typeface that's more readable from across the room. The main Media Center menu has changed, in that the old Online Media menu has been replaced by the new Extras menu. The contents are essentially the same, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 The main menu of Windows Media Center 7.

As in previous versions of Media Center, you can navigate the menu system with an optional wireless remote control (ideal for living room use), your mouse, and/or your computer keyboard. Just scroll up and down through the main menu items, and then sideways through the submenu items. It's fairly intuitive.

When you navigate to any of the submenus and select a TV show, video, music album, or photograph, you notice a new item panel. This panel displays information about the selected item—for example, the Album panel in the Music section displays track name, artist, year, number of tracks, and total time (see Figure 2). Click the right arrow to display additional commands related to that item, such as burning a CD/DVD, deleting the item, and so forth. It's a nice addition that puts key information and commands up front, instead of buried behind a right-click, as they were in Vista Media Center.

Figure 2 The new Album pane in Media Center 7.

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