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.
MC uses an internal database (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. This can be automatic or manual. You can set which folders to watch or exclude and which file types to import. See Import.
Your machine will be busy during import, so things may seem a little slow. This will change when the import finishes.
Under Tools/Options/Audio, you can set the sound device you wish to use, the Audio Output Modes, and other options. Start with DirectSound, but once that's working well, consider switching to ASIO or WASAPI for better quality. For more details, please see Audio Playback Options.
If you use a USB DAC (Digital Analog Convertor), please visit the wiki topic on DAC Settings.
MC uses Red October, JRiver's DirectShow management system to automatically download, install and configure the DirectShow filters you need. Under Tools/Options/Video, choose Red October Standard. Once you're sure that works well, you can try Red October HQ. ROHQ requires a fairly powerful PC.
MC can record OTA (Over The Air) signals and clear channels from cable. Please read the Television topic here. 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).
Views and Skins
MC will normally start in Standard View, which lets you use a "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. More details are in the Purchase link above.
Support and Other Resources
All support is on our forum. Learn how to post a question on Interact.
Introduction to the basics of Digital Media
For Intermediate Users, please see Up and Running.