|You're out of town on business (or just around the corner at the local coffee shop), and you realize you forgot to set MCE to record something you were dying to watch. Usually that forehead-smacking discovery is accompanied by a panicked call home ("No, no, press the Menu button!") or a speed limit-defying dash across town. |
No longer. Thanks to MSN Remote Record Service, you can schedule recordings from just about anywhere. All you need is a PC and an Internet connection. Actually, there's one other crucial ingredient: Media Center Edition 2005 on your PC at home. The 2004 version doesn't support Remote Record, so if you want this capability, it's time to think about upgrading.
To get started, you'll need a Microsoft .Net Passport account. If you've ever used MSN Messenger
, you already have one. If not, you can sign up for free at the Passport site
. Once you've created your account, head to MCE 2005's Online Spotlight section, then find and select the MSN Remote Record Service option.
Read the provided information on setting up and using Remote Record, then press the Install Now button. You'll see a message indicating you have to run the setup from your Web browser (or save the corresponding Web link to your Desktop). Whichever option you choose, you'll have to manually minimize Media Center to gain access to the Web page.
Follow the step-by-step instructions, during which you'll enter your zip code, choose your local TV provider, sign in to Passport, and download the Remote Record client software (which will ultimately appear as an icon in your System Tray, rather than as an option with Media Center). If you encounter an error message during installation, as we did, try clearing the history and deleting the temp files from your browser (you can do both by clicking Tools > Internet Options), rebooting, and repeating the installation process.
When that's done, find another computer you can use for a scheduling test. Surf to MSN TV
, click Sign In, and enter your Passport account info. You'll see an abbreviated version of your local TV listings. Click "See all TV listings" to access the full grid. Here you can modify the day, time, and category for these listings--helpful if you're trying to pinpoint a specific show. When you see the show you want to record, click it. In the pop-up window that appears, click Record This Show or Record Series. The item will immediately appear in your Media Center PC's Scheduled Recordings list at home. Of course, for those times when you're scheduling from afar, you can click the Scheduled Recordings link on the MSN TV page to see your lineup.
It's worth noting that Remote Record doesn't allow you to schedule recordings of HD programs. What's more, you can't schedule recordings from a portable device such as a Pocket PC (ironic given the MSN Remote Record ads that appear prominently when you view MSN TV on your PDA). Even so, it can be incredibly convenient to set up recordings from 1,000 miles away--or just across town. Now you have absolutely no excuse for missing Arrested Development
. Watch the video to learn how to configure Media Center so that you can program recordings from any PC