In a previous blog posting, Media Center Trick Play Functionality, I briefly talked about keyboard shortcuts that you could use in Media Center.
While Media Center was optimized for a 10 foot interface, that is, it was designed to be shown on a screen 10 feet away and controlled with a remote (a la sitting on a couch), it also has a two foot interface, that is, it can be controlled via the traditional mouse/keyboard combination.
Most Media Center users likely have the Media Center remote (or some similar device) but in some usage scenerios, it is not practical to reach for the remote when you are using the mouse and keyboard. For example, I might be watching Media Center in windowed mode, while sending e-mails or working on spreadsheets. Unless you have three arms (one for keyboard, one for mouse, and one for the remote), it is arguably unproductive to reach for the remote. In such a case, it is good to know that there are keyboard shortcuts for almost all of the commands found on the Media Center remote.
Shortcuts that I commonly use include going to the Recorded TV menu, going to the Guide, Skip/Replay of Live/Recorded TV and Channel Up/Down.
For a list of Media Center keyboard shortcuts, see the following links:
- Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
- Keyboard Shortcuts for Media Center in Vista (Home Premium or Ultimate)
What's different between the two Operating Systems?
From what I could tell, some shortcuts were removed (i.e. shortcut to Messenger functionality was removed in Vista, because that feature doesn't exist anymore) but more or less, there haven't been any substantial changes.
One remote function that I have found that does not have a keyboard equivalent is the 'Return to Last Viewed Channel' function. I have been bugging this since the first Media Center beta in 2002, but no action has been taken yet. On the Remote, while watching TV, pressing either the OK or the Enter button on the remote would bring you back to the last channel that you were on previous to the present channel (for example, if I go from channel 14 to 28, pressing OK or enter would bring me back to 14) . I wonder why they left this one out..
Anyways, check out the keyboard shortcuts, it might help to increase your productivity (ironic, eh?)
Microsoft, Media Center, technology, keyboard, Vista