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Recording TV Programs in Windows Media Center (Windows 7)

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This document pertains to HP computers with a television tuner installed and Windows 7 Premium or Ultimate Editions.
Use this document to learn about:
  • Determining the type of TV tuner your computer has installed
  • Setting up the TV input signal with Windows Media Center
  • Recording HDTV and SDTV programs
  • Creating a DVD of your recorded programs
NOTE:HP supports the lawful use of technology and does not endorse or encourage the use of our products for purposes other than those permitted by copyright law.

Video on watching and recording TV on your PC

Learn about TV broadcasting and your computer

Before you begin recording TV programs, know what type of TV tuner are installed on the computer. The number and type of TV tuners on your computer determines which channel types you can record and how many programs you can record and watch at the same time.
Know the type of broadcasting that is available in your area.
ATSC - Advanced Television Systems Committee. Over-the-air digital broadcasting capable of supporting high-definition TV. Primarily used in North America.
DVB-T - Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial. Over-the-air digital broadcasting capable of supporting high-definition TV. Primarily used in Europe, Asia Pacific.
DMB-TH - Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast. Over-the-air digital broadcasting capable of supporting high-definition TV. Primarily used in Asia Pacific.
NTSC is the analog television system primarily used in North America. It is named for the National Television Standards Committee, the U.S. standardization body that adopted it. Available from most cable TV and satellite set-top boxes using a coaxial, composite (RCA), or S-video cables.
PAL is the analog television system in use in several parts of the world. PAL stands for Phase Alternating Line and is a color encoding system used in broadcast television systems in parts of South America, Africa, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Available from most cable TV and satellite set-top boxes using a PAL cable.
Your system might include one of the following configurations:
  • One ATSC TV tuner that can receive over-the-air channels with an antenna.
  • One dual tuner that has two connectors (ATSC/NTSC) or (ATSC/PAL) that can receive one analog signal (over-the-air or cable/satellite) and one digital over-the-air TV signal.
  • One combo tuner (ATSC/NTSC) or (ATSC/PAL) or (DVB/PAL) or (DMB/PAL) that can receive one analog signal (over-the-air or cable/satellite) or one digital over-the-air TV signal.
  • One NTSC or PAL analog TV tuner that can receive cable channels.
  • Two NTSC or PAL tuners that can receive two NTSC or PAL cable channels.
  • Two dual ATSC/NTSC or ATSC/PAL tuners that can receive up to four channels (2 ATSC and 2 NTSC or 2 PAL).
NOTE: There are other possible combinations of TV tuner configurations than those listed. In general, Media Center can simultaneously record one TV program for each active tuner on the computer.
TV Tuner and Channel Recording
TV Tuner PC configurationRecord analog (NTSC or PAL) channelRecord a digital channel
1 ATSC TV TunerUnable to record NTSC or PAL programming1
1 dual tuner (ATSC/NTSC) or (ATSC/PAL) 11
1 NTSC/ATSC, PAL/ATSC, DVB/PAL or DMB/PAL Combo Tuner 1, but not simultaneously1, but not simultaneously
2 NTSC/ATSC or PAL/ATSC Combo Tuners22
2 NTSC or PAL TV Tuners2Unable to record ATSC programming
1 NTSC or PAL TV Tuner1Unable to record ATSC programming
To determine which TV tuners you have installed on your computer, open the Device Manager:
  1. Click Start , and type Device Manager in the Search box.
    Click Device Manager in the search results.
  2. Click the + next to Sound, video and game controllers to view the names of the TV tuners.
  3. Right-click the TV tuner and select Properties to find out more device information.

Receiving HDTV over-the-air with an antenna

High-definition television (HDTV) is a digital television broadcasting system capable of carrying higher-bandwidth broadcasting. Typically carrying higher resolution programming than formats such as NTSC, SECAM and PAL.
To view and record high-definition broadcasts, you need one of the following, depending on the type of broadcasting that is available in your area:
  • An HDTV ATSC TV tuner, an antenna, and a high-defintion display device (preferably HDCP).
  • An HDTV DVB TV tuner, an antenna, and a high-definition display device (preferably HDCP).
  • An HDTV DHB TV tuner, an antenna, and a high-defintion display device (preferably HDCP).
  • NOTE:For more information about antennas and over the air reception, go to the CEA Antennaweb.org Web site (in English, U.S. only).

Receiving HDTV over cable or satellite

Viewing protected HDTV programming through cable or satellite requires a special computer system and equipment. HDTV content providers protect their content to prevent them from being copied and played back on other systems. To view and record HDTV, protected content needs to be unlocked. For example, to view protected HDTV content in a Media Center in the United States using Cable TV you might need the following: a Windows 7 digital cable compatible computer, a special digital cable tuner, a CableCARD account that is setup by the cable company, and an HDCP display device.
Most digital cable and satellite set top boxes output HDTV through an hdmi or dvi connection.

Setting up the TV tuner(s) and downloading the TV Program Guide

Before you set up your TV tuners with Media Center, make sure you have a active TV signal source connected to each of the TV tuners on the computer. You can use a cable splitter between two NTSC or PAL tuners or between two ATSC tuners.
If you have a dual ATSC/NTSC or ATSC/PAL tuner, you must connect the ATSC connector to an over the air ATSC-compatible antenna, and the NTSC or PAL tuner to an analog cable source.
To set up the TV tuner and download the TV Program Guide, complete the following steps:
  1. Press the green Media Center Start button on the remote control, select TV + Movies, and then select Set Up TV Signal.
    If you have already gone through the set-up wizard, select Tasks, Settings, TV Signal, and then select Set Up TV Signal.
    Figure 1: Setting up the TV Signal
    Setting up the TV Signal
  2. If you have already gone through the setup before, click Yes to continue. The Region page displays.
    Confirm your region, and then click Next. Windows Media Center downloads the TV options for your country/region.
    Figure 2: Confirming your region
    Confirming your country/region
  3. Select Configure my TV signal automatically (Recommended). Windows Media Center scans for the type of TV signal that is connected: cable, antenna, and set-top box, if any.
    Figure 3: Setting up the TV signal
    TV setup screen
  4. The Program Guide Terms of Service page displays. Click I Agree, and then click Next.
    Figure 4: Agreeing to the Terms of Service for the guide
    Agreeing to the Terms of Service for the guide
  5. The Agree to the Microsoft PlayReady PC Runtime End-user Licence Agreement page displays. Click I Agree, and then click Next.
    NOTE:PlayReady allows you to play protected, premium TV content from your service provider in Media Center.
    Figure 5: Agreeing to the PlayReady PC Runtime EULA
    Agreeing to the Terms of Service for the guide
    Windows Media Center downloads PlayReady.
  6. Wait while Windows Media Center downloads the latest TV Setup and Guide information from the Microsoft servers.
    NOTE:You must be connected to the Internet.
    Figure 6: Downloading TV Setup Data
    Downloading TV Setup Data
    Figure 7: Downloading the TV Program Guide
    Downloading the TV Program Guide
  7. Wait while Media Center examines the TV signals. This might take several minutes.
    Figure 8: Examining TV Signals
    Examining TV Signals
    Windows Media Center lists the TV signals available to your computer. If your signal listing is correct, select Yes, configure TV with these results, and then click Next.
    If your signal listing is not correct, check your TV signal input connection, and select No, let Windows Media Center detect again or No, let me configure my TV signal manually.
    Then click Next.
    Figure 9: Viewing the TV Signal Detection results
    Viewing the TV Signal Detection results
  8. Media Center displays the TV signal configuration page. Click Next.
    Figure 10: Configuring the TV Signal
    Configuring the TV Signal
  9. When the configuration is complete, the TV Signal Setup Finished page displays. Click Finish to return to the Media Center TV Setting menu.
    Figure 11: Completing the TV Setup
    Completing the TV Setup
  10. If your computer has an ATSC TV antenna input, you can check the signal strength of your ATSC channels in the following screen. Click Digital TV Antenna Signal Strength to check the signal strength of your ATSC channels. Click Yes to continue, and then click Next.
    Figure 12: Checking the signal strength
    Checking the signal strength
  11. Media Center scans each of the channels and displays available signal strength. You might need to adjust your antenna to improve the signal strength for some channels. You can clear the check box next to any channels you want to remove. Click Next to continue.
    Figure 13: Adjusting the digital TV antenna
    Adjusting the digital TV antenna
  12. Click Finish to exit from the setup.
    Figure 14: Completing the TV Signal Setup
    Completing the TV Signal Setup
  13. To check your channel listings, click the Back button go back to the Media Center main menu, select TV + Movies, and then select guide .
    Figure 15: Opening the guide
    Opening the Guide

Viewing TV

After the TV setup in Media Center is complete, press the Live TV button on the remote control or click Live TV within the Media Center window. After a moment, the TV program displays full screen.
Change channels by pressing the +/- or Ch+/Ch- button on the remote control or by pressing the channel number on the remote control keypad. Use other controls to pause Live TV, change the sound volume, etc.
To quickly change channels, open the Electronic Program Guide in the Media Center window, and click the name of a TV program that appears in the current time slot.
Figure 16: Viewing the Electronic Program Guide
Viewing the guide

Using the Electronic Program Guide to Record TV

You can record more than one TV program at the same time, if your computer has more than one tuner installed. For example, if your computer comes with two TV tuners: an analog and a digital tuner, you can record two TV shows at the same time--one from an analog broadcast and one from digital. If you try to record more shows than your computer has TV tuners, Windows Media Center displays conflict messages and often displays alternate airings of programs to help you prioritize your recording schedule.
To record programs by using the TV Program Guide, use the following steps:
  1. Press the green Media Center Start button on the remote control, select TV and movies, and then select Guide.
  2. Select a program in the guide and press the Record button on the remote control. The TV program name is marked with a red circle.
    Or
    Press the Live TV button on the remote control, enter the channel you want to record, and press the Record button on the remote control. The TV program name is marked with a red circle.
    NOTE:If multiple TV programs are scheduled for recording and they cannot be recorded at the same time, the red circle is overlaid with an exclamation mark to show a scheduling conflict has occurred. If this happens, you must decide which programs you want to record and which programs you cannot record.
  3. If you have more than one tuner, enter another channel using the numeric keypad on your remote control or your keyboard, and then press the Record button.
If a station is not broadcasting, or if your antenna is not receiving a strong signal for a particular channel, this message displays:
Figure 17: No TV signal detected
Error

Tips for recording TV programs

  • If you turn off your computer, Windows Media Center does not record a scheduled program. The computer must be turned on or be in sleep mode to record a TV program. The computer does not automatically go into sleep mode if Windows Media Center is open.
    Make sure you turn off the monitor and turn down or mute the volume if you have a scheduled a recording in the middle of the night and do not want to be disturbed.
  • Your scheduled recording might not record in the following situation: You schedule a recording in Windows Media Center to start in less than ten minutes, close Windows Media Center, and put your computer in standby or hibernation immediately. Use either of the following to record your scheduled recording:
    • Do not close Windows Media Center before you put your computer into standby or hibernation.
    • After you schedule a recording, wait one minute before you put the computer into standby or hibernation.
  • If a recording error occurs, the program does not record until the conflict is resolved. Windows Media Center records the first show selected if there is a conflict without resolution.
  • To make sure your program is being recorded or is scheduled to be recorded, check the guide for a red dot next to your program, or select TV + Movies from the Windows Media Center menu, select Recorded TV, and then View scheduled to see a list of your scheduled recordings.
  • When playing back high-definition recordings, it might help to close all other open applications.
  • Media Center records TV programs and saves the recording in a DVR-MS format
  • Recorded TV programs are stored in the Recorded TV folder in the Public folder on the local hard disk drive of the system.
    To find your recorded TV programs, click Start , Documents, Public, and then double-click the Recorded TV folder.
    Figure 18: Recorded TV Programs
    Recorded TV folder

Recording TV programs without the TV Program Guide

You do not need the electronic TV Program Guide to record TV. You can record a TV program by pressing the Record button on the remote control while watching live TV. You can also select the program you want to record manually.
Recording a program manually allows you to select a specific date, channel, and recording time. For some programs, you might want to begin recording before the scheduled beginning and after the scheduled ending of the program.
  1. Press the green Media Center Start button on the remote control, select TV + Movies, recorded TV, and then select Add recording.
  2. Select Channel and Time.
  3. Select the channel number box, and enter the channel number using the numeric keypad on the remote control.
  4. Select the + or - buttons, and then press OK on the remote control to scroll through choices. Then enter the recording frequency, date, start and stop times, and storage and quality options.
  5. To set the recording and return to the Recorded TV window, select Record in the window, and then press OK on the remote control.
  6. To return to the previous window, press Back on the remote control.
NOTE:Recorded TV programs that have been copied to a DVD can be played on your system and on some DVD players. Recorded TV programs can be backed up as part of a full system backup and restored to the same system, but not to other systems.

Creating a CD or DVD with recorded TV programs

  1. Press the green Media Center Start button on the remote control, select Tasks, and then select Burn CD/DVD.
  2. Insert a blank, recordable CD or DVD.
  3. Select Audio CD/DVD or Data CD/DVD, and then click Next.
  4. Use the arrow buttons on the remote control to select the untitled text box.
  5. Use the numeric keypad buttons on the remote control to enter a name for your CD or DVD, and then select OK.
  6. Select Recorded TV.
  7. Select the files to record. A checkmark displays next to the file when it is selected. Use the Back button on the remote control to select more files from different menus.
  8. When you are finished adding files, select View CD or View DVD to see the files you have selected.
  9. Select Yes.
  10. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete recording your TV programs to disc.
    The discs you create can be played on other computers with Windows Media Center or Windows Media Player version 9 or greater.

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