How-To Geek

Watch TV Programming Without a TV Tuner In Windows 7 Media Center

Even if your computer doesn’t have a TV tuner card, you can still watch broadcast television programming with Media Center in Windows 7. Today we take a look at some of the features and how to get started.

Earlier this week in another Learning Windows 7 post, we showed you how to set up live TV in Windows Media Center (WMC). Not everyone has a TV tuner card and maybe can’t install one…in a laptop or netbook for example.

Update: This feature may not be available in all countries. Users who are in the UK should be able to use Sky Player which integrates into WMC. If you’re in the US and don’t see this option, make sure you have all of the latest updates for WMC.

Internet TV

Open up WMC and scroll down to TV then over to Internet TV.


In the next screen, check that you accept the Terms of Service and click on Install.


The installation process begins…


Now you can begin browsing through the available programming, which varies from classics to the latest editions of your favorite news, Showtime and CBS shows.


Browse through Golden Globe winning shows and also Netflix (which requires a subscription).


Get the latest news and current events type programming such as 60 minutes and nightly news broadcasts.


CBS Classic is always a lot of fun too for checking out the old school shows.


Click on an episode to find out what it is about and its length…


If it’s your first time watching a show you may nee to install the latest version of Adobe Flash.


Now you can sit back and watch some of your favorite programming.


If you’re a fan of Desktop Gadgets, you can use the WMC one to scroll through shows from the gadget and launch them in WMC.



If you’re looking to watch TV on your computer, this is yet another way of quite a few methods, including several online options such as Hulu. This method is quick to setup and allows you to watch some limited programming on demand with WMC in Windows 7. Not all programs are full episodes, but does include clips from several of them. In the future we’ll be taking a look at some other types of Internet TV and video streaming options you can incorporate into WMC.

You might also want to check out Learning Windows 7: Setup Live TV in Windows Media Center

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 01/22/10

Comments (46)

  1. Nick P

    And of course if you don’t live in the US, then you don’t get the option for Internet TV.

  2. Byron

    I’m running Windows 7 Ultimate, and the only options I’m seeing in WMC under the TV Recorded TV & Live TV Setup. I’m in the US. Any reason why its not showing up?

  3. iCode86

    Well i got Sky Player working on WMC (i live in the uk) but never came across the internet tv option. Im using W7 Ultimate.

    Also, will the internet TV show up on a media extender? For example an Xbox 360?

  4. Tim

    Byron, you probably just need to manually update WMC by going into Tasks >>Settings >> General >> Automatic Download Options. After you do that, it will want to setup its Internet Connection, then it should show up.

  5. Tony Dodd

    Only in the US this works? If this works in only 1 country, should it be mentioned in the article before we proceed with this?

  6. David Levine

    I didn’t have the option for Internet TV either. But after following Tim’s advice and performing an update, it appeared.

    Thanks Tim!

  7. Scott

    I tried to set this up before but it dident work then when I tried it today it came up with the internet option I live in Canada so as far as I can tell right now this is worthless whats the point of showing me a buch of US stations that I cant get unless I use some kind of proxie.

  8. jnordcrane

    I tried this on 3 separate Windows 7 Ultimate computers. When it gets to the “Install Free Streaming Internet TV” I get the message “Error occured During Download. Try again later.” This happens on all 3 PCs (I also have a Vista Ultimate PC, which has a very different Internet TV service, but it does work). Any suggestions on how to get it to install? All three computers are in adminstrator mode.

  9. Willie

    i wonder if my WMC didnt have Internet TV, what i suppose 2 do??

  10. jitsejan

    Any idea if there is any option for the Netherlands?

  11. Mark

    Thanks for the informative article.

  12. Jamin

    Same here, WMC does not have option for Internet TV how do I update it to have that?
    The only thing I have seen is a tv pack for 2008, but it says for vista only.

  13. Jamin

    Thanks Tim!
    Worked for me as well.

  14. Nick P

    Thanks for indicating in the article this is US only.

    As for UK users using Sky Player I should point out that its a subscription service and so not exactly the same thing.

  15. Roy

    Works good, but I hate the TV commercials.

  16. Gasolina

    is this available for Vista? the internet tv i see on my WMC only give me sneak peeks and short videos.

  17. Dan

    @Nick P

    You *can* watch this outside the US. You just need to install hotspot shield.

  18. Ray

    Hi, I got it installed and watched the internet shows but they are usually 3 to 5 minutes of show and then commercials. I think Hula is much better online TV viewing experience.

  19. dude

    How about ripping? Does it work, if yes, what about drm. What channels do you get and of what country … not enough information …

  20. Chris

    Great article. Performed a quick update and started watching shows within 10 minutes. Don’t know if I’ll use it much, but at least it is there if I want to now.
    Thanks for the informative article, as always!!!

  21. Bill

    Great article and thank you Tim for the heads up on updating WMC. Everything works great with Internet TV.

  22. mzoroks

    @ Dan hw do u use hotspot shield i just downloaded it i live in Zimbabwe please help?

  23. carmine

    sorry tim, it does NOT for me I re did the setup 5x

  24. judasbytes

    I have W7, wmc, and a satellite/cable box. i’m thinking of buying a tv tuner card. will i be able to watch satellite/cable programs in my pc?


  25. prasanna

    thanks man…..worked for me……… i live in india!!!!

  26. t

    what is the point of using windows live? Do you need cable or satellite tv to use this?

  27. Hayden

    Crap I live in Canada. That really sucks. Does anyone know a plugin the gets tv in Canada?

  28. Kevin

    I’m running Windows 7 Home 32 bit and every time I open Internet TV, WMC frezzes and crashes.

  29. Stephen Short

    Everytime l watch an Internet TV program on WMC, l get a “Video Not Available” message on my screen. Sometimes the show plays, and other times it doesn’t. How do l get the “Video Not Available” message not to appear on my screen?

  30. brenda

    well after trying to get the program to work and going through the steps above I find by the comments here that this is for the usa only. As usual they think they’re the only country in the world.

  31. Cheral

    My Windows Media center only gives the option for live TV, not internet TV. Is there an update I need to install to get this?

  32. David

    Windows media tv is a scam…WAs watching full tv shows like star trek tos …no problem did not mind tv commercial ..hey it was free cant complain….then around feb 19th 2011…Went to tune in enjoy star trek tos…and all they give you is 2 minute clip ..dont know about others but 2 minute clip is not enjoying a show microsoft is probley geting ready to add a fee …

  33. Gary P.

    I have Windows Vista Home Preminum, which has the beta version of Internet TV, but I am wondering if they they have a free download I get for Windows 7 without having to upgrade? If so, where can I find it?

  34. Nardoni

    I do not have a TV tuner, but am able to watch and stream the free programing available…I was curious if it is at all possible to save or download any of the free programing to watch at a later date through video library when internet access is not available??? would be great if it is, and would love some help explaining how if possible.

  35. bobby cocroft

    i have it workin but as the article says and isnt specific about is that its not live streamin tv and theres like 40 programs about 30 of which are like over 20 to 30 years old and you only get about 15 or less episodes. im not lookin for free cable cause my isp is my is my cable company. i just want to watch it on my pc like i do on my tv, hulu isnt an option cause not all tv companys will join it (syfy spike adult swim etcetera) fact is cable doesn’t want you to cause they cant get money from people who have wifi and milk it for free, wish i could

  36. Omo-Oba

    Great info. It Worked for me, am in Nigeria. and i can enjoy the Internet TV . Thanks man.

  37. Precious

    i have wmc and i live in Nigeria but i’ve been trying to watch the internet tv and each time i get a
    reply that my internet connection is lost abeg Omo wetin I go do?

  38. Antonio

    when go to internet tv it says it can not find the tv tuner so I can not download it. However, my other computer allows me to download it without tellng me “no tv tuner” but it is repairing so I can not use it. Any suggestions??!!

  39. Antonio

    everyone who had problems that showed no internet tv follow tim’s advice. if you can’t find it than this what he said: “you probably just need to manually update WMC by going into Tasks >>Settings >> General >> Automatic Download Options. After you do that, it will want to setup its Internet Connection, then it should show up.”

    if you cant watch internet tv (this answer is only for people outside usa) follow dan’s adivce.if you dont find it, this what he said : You *can* watch this outside the US. You just need to install hotspot shield**.

    **one person said it doesnt work. mzroks said this : Dan hw do u use hotspot shield i just downloaded it i live in Zimbabwe please help?.

    Mzroks tell me whats the problem. i’m good at this “geeky” computer stuff.

  40. modesty

    Is this only for USA region? Unfoetunately, I have an option for an internet TV but it says that our country is not supported with it. How could we access this?

  41. modesty

    Is there any possibilities to access that site in other country?

  42. Bring Movies Home

    You’ve got great insights about Viewing Television, keep up the good work!

  43. tarun


  44. John

    Thanx …It works……

  45. spambrando

    Using Win 7 Ultimate and have done all necessary. BUT… because I do not have a TV Tuner card in place, all I can receive is a bunch of crappy channels and ONE network. CBS. Why?! Why is it that CBS is on here WITHOUT a tuner and networks like ABC, NBC, Fox, etc are not included? Is CBS bankrolling this venture? What a load of manure…

  46. Ashish

    is there any similar software for those who are leaving outside US?
    with which i enjy all the contents.

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