Spruce up your Windows Media Center TV guide with My Channel Logos XL

My Channel Logos XL enhances your Windows Media Center program guide in many cool ways.

Despite Microsoft's endless attempts to crush my enthusiasm, I continue to be a fan of Windows Media Center. At least, I'm trying to be: It's not included with Windows 8. I'd literally have to spend $100 to get it as part of Microsoft's Pro Pack. (Windows 8 Pro users can buy WMC for $9.99, a slap in the face to the rest of us.)

Thankfully, I still run Windows 7 on my tuner-equipped media-center PC, and therefore still get to enjoy the benefits of the software.

Especially the add-ons. WMC is nothing if not customizable, and one of my all-time-favorite additions is My Channel Logos. The latest version, My Channel Logos XL, is the best one yet.

True to its name, My Channel Logos adds TV-network logos to the program guide in Windows Media Center. That may not sound like a big deal, but it really enhances the look of the guide, while at the same time making your favorite channels easier to spot at a glance.

The new XL version brings a few nifty updates to the table, including the option of making the logos 25 percent wider. The developer also improved their visual quality, while at the same time letting you reduce the wasted "white space" around them.

I especially like the new guide-sizing features. For example, with one tick of a check-box you can switch to a three-hour view (meaning the guide shows three hours' worth of listings instead of the usual two).

You can also add more rows to the guide—anywhere from seven to 12. MCL accomplishes this without changing the font size, instead simply leveraging all that extra empty space that's usually around the guide.

See for yourself: In the accompanying screenshot, I've got 10 rows and a three-hour view. Nothing is lost; much is gained. I am so loving this.

To get My Channel Logos XL, you'll need to donate either $5 or $10 via PayPal. If you're a hardcore Windows Media Center user, that's a fair price for such a cool add-on.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community ForumsSign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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