Did you know that it's possible to watch and record live TV on your computer? All you need is Windows Media Center, a TV signal, and a compatible TV tuner device.
If you're new to Media Center, see Getting started with Windows Media Center to learn the ropes.
There are different types of TV signals available in different regions, and it's important that your TV tuner is compatible with the TV signal you're trying to connect to it. Here are some common TV signal scenarios that will help you determine what type of signal you have, and what type of tuner you'll need. (Check the documentation that came with your tuner or visit the manufacturer's website to determine what type of signals your tuner is compatible with.)
|If your TV tuner supports this type of signal||And your signal comes from||Here are your options|
|NTSC||Analog cable||Set up the TV signal directly from a cable TV wall jack, or from a set-top box using an IR blaster|
|ATSC||Antenna||Set up the signal directly from your antenna (see the section below about scanning for signal strength)|
|ClearQAM||Digital cable||Set up the TV signal directly from a cable TV wall jack, or from a set-top box using an IR blaster|
Note that the channels available using this method will vary depending on region, and you'll likely need to manually add some channels in Media Center in order to tune them properly.
|Premium high-definition digital cable (OCUR)||Digital cable||Set up the TV signal directly from a cable TV wall jack, or from a set-top box using an IR blaster to receive basic digital cable|
Set up a digital cable signal using a digital cable tuner and a CableCARD (only available in the United States)
If you have multiple TV tuners connected to or installed in your computer, it's possible to set up multiple TV signals. This allows you to record shows on different channels at the same time. It's even possible to tune two different signal types using a hybrid TV tuner. However, Media Center might not be able to access both signals simultaneously.
When Media Center appears finished scanning for more channels, it might still be working in the background. If you didn't see the channels you were expecting during this scan, it's best to wait about 15 minutes before trying the scan again.
If you have a digital cable tuner (or another type of digital tuner) but no digital cable service, you might be able to use an antenna to watch and record over-the-air high-definition television (HDTV) (sometimes referred to as ATSC), standard TV, and digital cable channels that are not encrypted (such as "clear QAM" channels).
Some premium digital cable channels might contain protected content that can't be recorded.
If you see a message saying that TV setup was not successful, make sure that you have the latest driver installed for your TV tuner. For information about how to download and install the latest driver, see Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly.
If you have the latest drivers installed for your TV tuner and Media Center still can't set up the signal using this method, try setting up the TV signal without preserving your settings from Windows Vista.
During the setup process, you might be asked to install a program called PlayReady. PlayReady allows you to play protected, premium TV content from your service provider in Media Center.
If you receive an error while setting up your TV tuner—for example, a download error, or an error during PlayReady installation—you might need to go through the entire setup process again in order for your TV signal to work properly.
Article ID: 14208 - Last Review: May 31, 2016 - Revision: 16