If you have never downloaded, always start by visiting the Download Page and downloading that build.
There may be several updates available. Here's how it works.
Any minor version update is free. So if you purchase 29.0.19, you can get 29.0.49 for free. Just download and install it. Your settings and data will be preserved.
A change of major version (28 to 29, for example) is not free, but all minor versions are.
Major upgrades are announced on our forum and in our newsletter. They can be purchased for about $20 when they are first available.
MC can automatically check for the minor updates and download them. Under MC's Help menu, you can set the update level you prefer. It does not check for major upgrades.
This is the build that will be found on the Download Page. It is the recommended build for most users.
This is the build that will be found at the top of the latest Media Center board on Interact. While it is believed to be good, it has not always been thoroughly tested, especially if it has just been posted. The latest update can always be found manually be visiting Interact, and choosing the board for the current version of MC. At the top of that board, you will find a thread called something like "JRiver Media Center X.0.xx -- Available Here".
This build is private and by invitation only. About 100 people participate in beta testing and we're very grateful for their help.
Check for Updates
This is the way MC finds builds to download. MC has a feature called Check for Updates. It checks the jriver.com web site to see if there are any new, recommended updates. This can be done automatically by setting the interval in options for startup. Note that the update recommended may not be the very latest one available, depending on which channel you have selected.
When you install, there is no need to uninstall. Just install over the previous update. Your data will be preserved.
Purchasing a Major Upgrade
When you install, if your data is from one of the last couple of builds, MC will find it and offer to copy it to a new location where it may be converted to a newer database format. Your old data will be preserved and, for versions from MC11.1 on, you will be able to run your old program, too.
MC15 added the ability to import your old settings when you restore a library from a previous (major) version.
MC16 added Update Channels, to automatically download new updates.
You have 30 days to try each new major version. If you decide not to upgrade, you can uninstall the new version.
MC uses three segments in each version number. For example, MC 22.0.30 has a major version of 22, a minor version of 0, and a build number of 30.
If you purchase an MC22 license, for example, any new minor version or build is available without charge. If you start at 22.0.30, you can continue to install without charge until the version becomes 23.0.1.
More about how JRiver does development can be found here: JRiver's Business Model