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Living With Media Center: Music

I know a lot of people have complained about the music functionality in Media Center, but I really like it.

It has a really cool slick UI.  You can sort you music by a few canned sort options such as Year, Genre, Artist, Album.  You can see all of the album art in a small icon or large icon in almost all of these views.  Looks very slick.  Overall I am satisfied.

One of the biggest complaints in Media Center’s music implementation is the album art.  If you have taken the time to make sure you have nice high resolution album art prepare to be slightly disappointed.  Media Center does not show the album art directly from the MP3 tag.  It actually pulls a copy of the album art out of the MP3 file and places it in the folder in a 200×200 resolution version.  On a small TV, no problem.  On a 52” HDTV not so hot.  I personally have a 42” HD set and at the end of the day it does not bother me too much.  It’s not horrible, but it could be better.

Media Center – Music Experience Video

Another thing to be aware of is that Media Center relies 100% on tag metadata.  You do not have an option to traverse your music through a folder structure.  Because of this I highly recommend that you have your tag metadata in order before you add your music to Media Center.  I actually put my music in a TEMP folder first, fix/update the metadata with MediaMonkey and then move the files to a subfolder of my main music folder.  This has kept my music in a nice organized condition.

My family’s everyday use with music has been positive.  I have a few playlists ready to go and it is super easy to build a playlist on the fly.  You can search for music using the number keys on the remote control or by typing on the keyboard if you are at the PC.  It has been great during parties with friends and nice to have music coming through my main sound system without having to hook-up the iPod.

One of the best ways I have found to make playlists though is with Windows Media Player or MediaMonkey.  Just save or export the playlist to a subfolder in your Music folder that Media Center watches.

We do not use Music as much as the TV/Movies functionality but when we do it works well for us and overall we really have no complaints.

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