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6 TV-Ready Media Center Programs You Should Check Out

Justin Pot 07-04-2011

If you’re looking to set up a media center, you need to know what free software is out there. Choose the media center application that works best for you by comparing the best programs on the market.


If you’re looking for a program to watch your favorite videos from the comfort of your couch, you’re going to need a good TV media center program. These programs are designed to be readable and browsable from your couch, and present you with the media on the web and on your hard drive. All vary in terms of features, and all have something to offer. One of them is right for you. This list is by no means definitive, but it does cover most of the major players.

Browse the list, find more information. Try them all out if you have to; after all, all of these programs are free.


tv media center

It started as a media center for the original Xbox, but it’s evolved to become so much more than that. XBMC XBMC 10 "Dharma" - A Mature, Feature-Rich Cross-Platform Media Centre Read More is considered by many to be the best media center out there, and it’s not hard to see why. Insanely customizable, and giving you quick access to your movies, music and TV shows, it’s simply a hard program to top. Like XBMC, but want more online content? Check out NaviX, the ultimate extension for XMBC. You’ll find lots of streaming content there, so enjoy.


tv media center software


Built using code from XBMC, Boxee can seem overwhelming at first. There are TV shows, movies and more to browse, and even an entire App store. Start using it for a while, though, and you’ll wonder how you lived without it. That’s because Boxee allows you to customize everything enough that your favorite videos on the web are only a few clicks away.

Want to learn more? Read 5 things you should do after installing Boxee 5 Things You Need To Do After Installing Boxee Read More .

Hulu Desktop

tv media center software

Simply put: it’s all of Hulu’s videos, from your TV. There’s really not much more to this program; you can’t add your own videos, or watch any videos that aren’t on This makes it useless outside of the USA, naturally, but assuming you’re in the States and most of the shows you like are on Hulu, this can be a good program to have around.



tv media center software

This one’s a little different. Basically a web browser built for television, Kylo is a pretty good media center in itself. Links to most of the major video sites on the web are easily accessible, and an interesting control paradigm makes for easy browsing. Sadly, Hulu is blocked, but there’s still a lot to discover here. If you want your media experience to be the web, try out Kylo.


media center tv setup

A slick user interface for browsing your own videos. While lacking in online content, Moovida Use Moovida To Easily Organize, Navigate and Play Your Media Files [Windows] Read More is a great option for those looking to organize their desktop video collection. Lots of customization options await, so check it out!



tv media center

A recent addition to the field, Linux media center Enna comes with some capabilities not seen elsewhere. Support for couchbound book reading, for example and a pretty slick photo browser as well. This exciting new application also gives you access to your local music and videos, so give it a spin.

Record Live TV

Like these desktop clients, but want to record live TV as well? You’re not alone, particularly if you’re paying for cable anyway. There are a number of programs you can use to accomplish this, and all are outlined in Dave’s recent article How to record TV shows to your PC How to Record TV Shows on a PC: 5 Methods That Work You can record TV shows on your PC, but it depends on how you're receiving the video signal. We explain what that means and the options you have. Read More . Check it out.


Know of a tv media center application I missed? Share it below; it might well be featured later. Also feel free to recommend any of the programs for the benefit of our readers, because they love to learn!


Related topics: Media Player, Online Video, Television.

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  1. Guest
    April 9, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Sage-TV was popular when I first started looking at these...
    Windows Media Center isn't too bad either...I know people running W7 that didn't even realize it was there...

  2. Mike Giordano
    April 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm

  3. Daniel Kennedy
    April 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    What about Mediaportal?

  4. Stan
    April 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Is there any prgoram for chinese user in Hong Kong ?

  5. Laura Fiscal
    April 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Plex is better than all of those.

    • jhpot
      April 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      And we've somehow never written it up. I'm going to remedy that in the weeks to come for sure. Thanks!

  6. Guest
    April 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm


  7. Jhpot
    April 9, 2011 at 11:59 am

    And we've somehow never written it up. I'm going to remedy that in the weeks to come for sure. Thanks!

  8. Greg
    April 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I agree, media portal, and I'm not sure how you don't put windows media center on this list either. It's one of the few areas that Microsoft has really done a good job.