If you’re interested in Windows 7, you’ve probably seen lots of positive blog posts and reviews about its overall functionality. Gizmodo’s  Windows 7: The Complete Guide is a good example. In my experience, Windows 7 works well. The clean install process was painless. All my devices just worked. Performance-wise, it seems snappier than Vista on just about everything. It’s been rock-solid for a while now. There’s a lot to like—especially on the Media Center front.

I’ve been using Media Center on Dell PCs for years now, starting with Windows XP on my Dimension 8400. I agree with the folks at EngadgetHD said in their Win 7 MCE review (see the Conclusion section): Media Center on Windows 7 is simply in a class by itself. Media Center functionality is built into Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate versions.

I’ve been running Win 7 on my current rig, an XPS 720 with a two-year old 3.0GHz Extreme Edition processor and 2GB RAM. I have it connected to an Xbox 360 over Ethernet. TV Tuner-wise, I’ve been running my Cat’s Eye 150 HDTV tuner that’s connected to an over the air antenna. The Windows 7 install recognized all of devices so setup was pretty easy. And the little things just work as well. Just before writing this post, I downloaded the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack from Amazon. Even before my PC had finished downloading all the songs, I was able to see them in Media Center without doing anything.

One thing that's improved over Vista is the channel guide. In the Windows 7 version, several thing make it easier to find things you're looking for. Microsoft's Ben Reed, who's the product manager on the Windows Media Center Team walks you through featurees like Turbo Scroll, color coding of programs by type, creating customized guide views and more in the video below. Thanks to Brandon LeBlanc over at the Windows Team Blog for the video.