Using a Media Center PC to manage media like TV shows, music, and photos is becoming more and more popular these days. If you’re using either XP or Vista Media Center, wouldn’t it be nice if you could remotely view and schedule programs from any browser? There’s actually a very simple way to do that and it’s called WebGuide. Today I’ll walk you through What WebGuide is, and some of its great features.
–What is WebGuide–
WebGuide is software that’s available for both Vista and Media Center 2005 that allows you to schedule and stream shows from your Media Center PC to any web browser. The streaming feature allows you to watch both live and recorded TV remotely. You can also remotely schedule and manage your recorded TV shows, and manage pictures, videos, and music.
Downloading and setting up WebGuide really couldn’t get any easier. As mentioned, it works with both Vista and Media Center 2005, and you can find both of those downloads here. Ever since Microsoft hired on the developer of the software last month, it’s been offered for free!
Once you download WebGuide and install it, it will connect to your router (if you have one) and configure everything for you so that you won’t have to worry about port-forwarding. Downloading and setting up WebGuide is something that anybody can do.
One of WebGuide’s best features is that it has a great interface. Below is a screenshot which shows what the interface looks like. Notice to the right that it displays shows that I recently recorded, as well as shows that are scheduled to record. To the left is where I can access the TV guide, search for a show, view recordings, or manage pictures, music, and videos. (Click to enlarge)
Another great feature is the ability to stream shows that you’ve already recorded, or live TV to any browser (Or Windows Media Player). For example, one of my recently recorded shows shown above is MythBusters. All I have to do to stream it from my media center PC to the browser I’m using is click it. A window will appear with the following options:
- Play Program
- Stream Program
- Download Program
- Delete Program
- Other Showings
Just click “Stream Program” and then another box appears asking if my screen is normal or widescreen, and then I choose the speed that I want to stream the program at. It will tell you up at the top how much bandwidth you have available. I’m on a local network, so my available bandwidth is pretty high.
All that’s left is to click “Start Stream” and you’ll be able to start viewing the program that you selected.
WebGuide has many other great features besides the two I mentioned above, they include:
- Search by show, date or time
- PocketPC and Smartphone enabled
- Available in multiple languages like Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, and English
- Access to recent and upcoming recordings
An extra added bonus is the Vista Sidebar Gadget that’s available for WebGuide. I have it in my sidebar, and from there I can view the TV Guide, search for a show, view which shows that have recorded, or view shows scheduled to record. It also displays a red dot if there is something currently recording.
–Wrapping it Up–
WebGuide is a must-have add-on for anybody using Media Center in either Vista or XP. And the fact that the software is available at no cost makes it even sweeter!