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Video Playlist in MediaCenter

2010-Apr-05 3 comments

I have a couple videos that would be really nice to have in a Playlist for use in Windows MediaCenter. For example, I have some cartoons that are really short and I just want to play them all back to back. Also, my wife has some exercise videos that can be played in different orders depending the intensity of workout she wants to do. Rather than remembering which videos go in which order, she just wants to select the set for that day and get to sweatin’! There is a mechanism built into MediaCenter for building playlists for music, but how do you do this for videos? It’s simple, and you already have the tools to do it.

You start out by making a playlist in Windows Media Player (NOT Center). Just open Media Player and select “Playlists” on the left side. Now you can drag the video files into the right column where it says “Drag items here” in bold. You can drag files from within Media Player or from Windows Explorer if you like.

Once you have your playlist set the way you want, click the small “List Options” button in the upper right corner and select “Save List as…”

When saving the playlist, make sure you select “Any Playlist” as the type and change the file extension to “.ASX” This is required since MediaCenter, for whatever reason, does not understand any other kind of playlist.

You can put this file wherever you want, but you probably want to put it someplace that MediaCenter can find it. Your Videos library is good place to start.

In my case, I did not get a thumbnail, and it doesn’t show how long the playlist is, but it does play the videos one after the other.

Advanced tip: You can edit the .asx files in a text editor like Notepad and change some settings manually. One thing I like to do is adjust the path to my video files so they are relative to the location of my playlist as opposed to absolute paths. This lets me move my videos and playlists or read them from different computers and they still work.

If you think this process is a little too manual or “hackish”, there is a utility out there called “Windows 7 Media Playlist Creator” written by mbcrump that looks pretty straight forward to use but I haven’t tried it so I can’t really vouch for it.

Categories: MediaCenter Tags: ,

Change MediaCenter’s Aspect Ratio in Windowed Mode

2010-Mar-31 1 comment

Sometimes it’s nice to see what MediaCenter would look like in “Full-Screen” mode vs “Widescreen”. By default, MediaCenter will display the aspect ratio that is appropriate for your monitor or tv. So if you run a screen resolution of 1024×768 you’ll get a square “fullscreen” 4:3 display, if you run 1280×720 or 1920×1080 (HD resolutions) you’ll get “widescreen” 16:9. When you run MediaCenter in a window, as opposed to maximized, you can manually switch between these aspect ratios, and it’s really simple.

Just click the corner of the window as if you were going to resize it, and then hold the control key on your keyboard and drag the edge in or out. While it scales to size (aka “scaling”), it’ll eventually snap from one AR to the other.

When you maximize the window it’s still going to fill your display, so if you have a 4:3 display and drag MediaCenter to Widescreen it won’t letterbox the interface. Same goes for users with 16:9 or 16:10 displays, you won’t get sidebars.

If helps you then please click the “Vost as Helpful” link on the left side of my post in the TechNet forums.

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