Just thought I’d make up a list of all the additions i’ve added to the HTPC.

First and foremost, there’s BSE, Big Screen EPG: A great app that essentially replaces the useless Over-the-Air Free View EPG and gives you fresh data straight from the source. In addition to this, you also get categorised data (by genre e.g. sports) and most importantly, the ability to add pictures to EPG data meaning you get a title picture of the show in the guide. Cool eh?. I should also mention that this will cost you $20 for 5 licences (2 year).

Next on the list there’s Media Browser, which creates a fully catalogued library of all your videos and inside you get a very pretty interface (skinable). Also it includes support for ISO mounting, which is really cool. I used to use that particular feature lots, but not so much since I converted all of my movies to MPEG4 h.264.

Thirdly, there’s Media Studio, which allows you to pull out and rearrange or rename components of the 7MC start up menu. So for instance if you wanted to remove the movies strip, you just untick it and its gone. Also you can get themes for 7MC with Media Studio which are currently in short supply, though some are pretty good. And I suppose if you’re so inclined, you could make your own.

Then there’s MyChannelLogos, which technically I don’t need as I can do  it through BSE but anyways; it automatically downloads all the logos you need for each respective channel and shows it in the 7MC TV Guide.

Next there’s Shark007’s Windows 7 Codec Pack. Now I’m sure you could live without it and work all the little things out on your own, but this takes all the work out. Basically it installs the right codecs for the job, and it works out of the box, but of course you can also fiddle and make changes yourself with relative ease. This was actually an essential part of my setup because I needed to be able to set an audio delay (in the output tab if your interested) and play mkv’s and also I wanted to utilise FFMPEG’s DXVA h.264 decoder, which uses your graphics card to take the load off the CPU.

Oh damn, I nearly forgot the absolute best, useful, life/hair-saver, MCE Standby Tool (MST).
This little baby is the only way possible, unless you really, really know your way around W7’s power management system in the registry and also know the registry configuration of Media Center very well, to ensure your HTPC acts like a PVR/TV and not a PC.

In essentials, MST takes control of deciding when your PC needs to sleep and when it needs to wake up. It can open up 7MC when you resume from sleep, it can also exit 7MC when you put it to sleep, in case it buggers up (which it most certainly will).

And finally, there’s MCEWebView, which is a set of plugins for Media Center that allows you to browse Internet TV sites (such as iView, Fixplay) using the remote (the cursor keys become the mouse).

To the people/groups who made all these tools available (and most for free),


It is thanks to your skills and generosity that I have a working HTPC running Windows 7 Media Center.