Best Windows Media Center Freeware

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Overview and Features of Windows Media Center

Windows Media Center is a software program that is included in Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate, and Windows 7 Home Premium, Ultimate, Professional and Enterprise editions, as well as the Windows Media Center Edition of Windows XP. You can use Windows Media Center to watch live TV on your computer, to watch Internet TV, play games, browse the media library on your hard drive and much more. There is a wealth of freeware available for Windows Media Center online. These free programs allow users to do additional tasks, such as watching videos, listening to music, browsing their movie library or checking their local weather, all within Windows Media Center.

Yougle Vista for Windows Media Center

Yougle Vista, produced by Push-A-Button software, is a free plugin that will allow you to watch media from the Internet in Windows Media Center. It works both with Vista 32 bit and 64 bit. Using Yougle Vista, you can use Windows Media Center to watch videos on Youtube, Yahoo! Music and MSN Soapbox. You can also use Yougle Vista to listen to online radio such as Live365 radio, view pictures on sites like Flickr and watch animations on sites like Neurotically Yours. You can search these sites easily from within Windows Media Center.

To install Yougle Vista, simply navigate to the Push-A-Button website and click the “Downloads” link. Select the “Yougle Vista” link and then select the right version for your operating system. After you’ve installed the program, open Windows Media Center and select “Tasks,” then select “Program Library.” Yougle Vista should appear in the list. Select the source you’d like to browse within Windows Media Center or select “Get More Sources” to see more options.

My Movies 3 for Windows Media Center

My Movies 3 is a free program that can catalog your DVDs and Blu-Ray disks and store them on your hard drive for easy playback in Windows Media Center. Within Windows Media Center, My Movies displays the front and back cover, rating information, plot synopses, cast information and a list of the special features on your disks. You can also change the audio and subtitle setup within My Movies. My Movies can also monitor the folders on your computer for DVDs and Blu-Ray disks to add to your collection. To install My Movies 3, download the zip archive file from the website. Extract the file and install the program. Open My Movies in the “TV and Movies” section or “Program Library” section of Windows Media Center.

Netflix Plugin for Windows Media Center

The free Netflix plugin will allow you to watch streaming content from your Netflix queue in Windows Media Center. You will need a Netflix unlimited subscription to use this free plugin, which installs directly through Windows Media Center. You must also install Microsoft Silverlight for the free plugin to work. This free plugin will allow you to browse Netflix categories or search the Netflix website for instantly streaming movies. If you like, you can even sign up for a free trial from within Windows Media Center. Just open Windows Media Center and scroll down to “TV and Movies.” On the left, select “Netflix.” Click “Install” and “Open Website.” Click “Run.” Then click “Install” again. Click “Install now” when prompted to install Silverlight. Click “Next.” Select “Restart Windows Media Center” and click “Finish.” When Windows Media Center restarts, log into your account and click “Instant Queue” to watch the instant movies and TV you’ve saved in your Netflix queue. Mouse over the arrows on the left and right of the screen to scroll right or left. Click “Movies You’ll Love” to see additional suggestions.

mceWeather for Windows Media Center

MceWeather is freeware that can display local weather information, supplied by the Weather Channel, within Windows Media Center. Using this program you can monitor temperature, humidity, UV index, sunrise and sunset times, weather forecasts and satellite imagery. You can download mceWeather for free from the website. After installing the program, you can only access it from a shortcut or the Windows start menu. There is no way to open the program from within Windows Media Center. After installation, click “Settings” and enter your city and state or zip code and your language. Then select the type of satellite image you’d like to view. In the “Settings” menu, you can also select a color for the mceWeather interface and change the icons mceWeather uses to display weather information.

For even more information on this topic, read Top Freeware for Windows XP and Top Free Plugins for Windows Media Player.


“Do you have Windows Media Center?”