Getting Started

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This topic is intended to give you an introduction to JRiver Media Center and how to use it. If you haven't done so already, you can start a download while you read.

If you're completely new to digital media, you may also find our Digital Media topic useful. It provides an introduction and suggest ways you can learn more.


Once you've downloaded the software, the first step is to install it. See Installation & Removal for details.


MC uses an internal database (called the Library) to keep track of your files and to speed up access to them. It doesn't matter where the files are stored but MC needs to locate them and analyze them once in order to build the library. The process of showing MC where to find your media files is called Importing, and can be automatic or manual. You can set which folders to watch or exclude and which file types to import. Check the Import section for further information.

Your machine might be busy during import, so things may seem a little slow. This will change when the import finishes.

More Information: Import and Library

Audio Setup

One of the first things you'll want to do is run through Audio Setup. Under Tools > Options > Audio, you can choose the sound device you wish to use, the Audio Output Mode, and other options. MC will typically choose the best Audio Output Mode for you, but if you have trouble, start with DirectSound until you get it working well. If you use a USB DAC (Digital Analog Convertor), please visit the wiki topic on DAC Settings.

More Information: Audio Setup


The Windows version of MC uses Red October, JRiver's DirectShow management system to automatically download, install and configure the DirectShow filters you need for fantastic video compatibility and quality. Check for options under Tools > Options > Video. Start with Red October Standard. Once you're sure that works well, you can try Red October HQ. ROHQ requires a fairly powerful PC, however, so check the System Requirements for guidance.

More Information: Video Setup and Red October


MC can record television signals using a variety of sources and hardware types, including via a Set-Top Box, OTA (Over-the-Air) signals, and clear channels from cable and satellite. Check out the Television topic for more information. You will need to install a TV tuner or connect to a Set Top Box (cable) and select it in MC. Then scan for channels and set up an EPG (Electronic Program Guide).

More Information: Television

Views and Skins

MC will normally start in Standard View, which lets you use the Tree to select and play files. Theater View is a "10 foot" mode, suitable for viewing from across the room and often used with a remote. A Mini View frees up desk space. Switch among these with ctrl-1 to ctrl-5 or by using the "View" menu, where you can also change the "skin" (appearance). More skins are available on the "Accessories" link below or on the Third Party board on Interact (JRiver's forum). Under Tools > Options > Startup, you can set MC to start in any view, and to start automatically when Windows boots.

Purchasing and Licensing

MC has a 30 day trial of the full version. Once you're ready to purchase, you can do so from the Help menu in the program. The license is installed automatically, but you will also receive e-mail from buybutton at jriver with a copy of your Registration Code. This is a permanent code that can be used to restore your license at any time in the future.

Here is how you can Restore a License. Links to Old Versions.

Support and Other Resources

All user support is done via our forum.