As we all know, we media center users in the UK are the poor relations with regard to content compared to US users-specifically we lack the Internet TV option(s) on our media center setup.

Well actually that might not really be true, while experimenting with my set up, I’ve managed to enable the Internet TV 2.0 Beta option on my W7 MC setup and be able to view the content. Now it has to be said that the content itself is somewhat less than stunning but so what? it’s the principle that counts.

Now before we start this does involve making a couple of (minor) registry changes and as we should all know messing about with regedit can lead to a completely non-functioning PC requiring a complete re-install, but if that doesn’t scare you off then this is the procedure that I’ve used on both my W7 PCs and it works every time.

Firstly a little preamble. I clean built both machines with version 7137 and when I initially installed W7, I told them I was in the US, i.e. all of the regional settings were set to US. Now this might or might not be relevant to the process working properly and I’d really need to do some more experiments to check this.

So having built the PC with Windows 7 set as being in the US, I did notice a few extra features had appeared, MSNBC among others (which actually worked), I added my single DVB-T tuner and ran the setup. I told it I was in the UK, set my postcode etc. and the TV section was then properly setup. I naturally then lost all of the extra features.

So I fired up REGEDIT and navigated to the following sections

HKLM / Software / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / Media Center / Settings / MCE.GlobalSettings

and changed the value of systemGeoISO2 from GB to US (which is the old trick of getting Vista media center to show the DVD library and movies search features which were also a US only option)

Then navigated to

HKLM / Software / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / Media Center / Settings / ProgramGuide

and changed the value for strCountryCode from GB to US

We then need to force a full media center update so I opened an administrative command prompt and typed in

c:\windows\ehome\mcupdate -uf

and lo and behold the Internet TV Beta 2.0 tile appeared along with the MSNBC tile both of which work without having to mess around with VPN tunnels to a US IP address, I even have the extra Internet channels listed at the top of my TV guide.Annoyingly I also have a tile for the older Internet TV 1.1 (which I used to be able to get working fine in Vista if I used a US proxy) which doesn’t seem to work at all – it pops up a message saying that there is no content available for the UK.

All seems perfect however if you check the update log, you will see an error related to downloading the guide data which is fair enough as it now thinks you are in the US and the headend IDs no longer match up. Basically unless you reset the strCountryCode value back to what it was, your guide data will not update but once you do change it back then when the next update happens, the Internet TV tile will vanish again.

So what I have done is to export two versions of the ProgramGuide registry key-one with strCountryCode set to US (called US Settings.reg) and one with it set to GB (called GB Settings.reg)

Next I have created a windows cmd file (which is similar to a standard batch file) which contain the following commands;

regedit /s “c:\utilities\GB Settings.reg”

start / wait c:\windows\ehome\mcupdate.exe

regedit /s “c:\utilites\US Settings.reg”

start /wait c:\windows\ehome\mcupdate.exe -uf

regedit /s “c:\utilities\GB Settings.reg”


which does the following

a) load in the registry settings for GB where c:\utilites\GB Settings.reg is the location of the exported registry key with strCountryCode set to be GB. The /s runs regedit in ‘silent mode’ so it doesn’t prompt.

b) Runs the standard mcupdate which updates my guide data ok (at this point the Internet TV tiles will vanish)

c) loads in the registry settings for the US

d) run mcupdate and force a full update of media center which gives me the tiles back. You will see an error in the update log here saying that the headend data is invalid-and this part does take a while to complete.

e) Just to tidy everything up, reset the registry settings back to GB.

All I need to do each morning is to right-click on the command file, run it as an administrator and watch it all happen automatically. What I intend to do but haven’t gotten around to it yet is to schedule this command to run overnight in place of the built-in mcupdate task. As both my machines are ‘live’ media center computers, I’m loath to make too many changes too quickly less I break something and suffer the wrath of my family!

This procedure has worked everytime for me on both W7 media center computers I have at home. I presume it will also work for anyone else who wants to give it a go unless it is only working for me because of some fluke when I originally built the machines. Please give it a go, as long as you are happy playing around with registry settings and see if it works for you. Hopefully this technique will still work with the RTM and shipping versions of W7.


0 thoughts on “So we can’t see Internet TV here in the UK?…… well actually…”
  1. Interesting I wasn’t aware you could get Internet TV without a VPN connection to the US ?

    Is Internet TV beta 2.0 also available on Vista ? or just Win7.

    I tried this on a Vista machine and I didn’t get a 2.0 Internet TV icon. I already had a regular Internet TV 1.0 icon in Media Center as the systemGeoISO2 was already set to US.

    However when I click on the Internet TV icon it says its not available in Thailand.

  2. I’m not sure about Vista, personally I think that Internet TV 2 works but this ‘hack’ to enable it outside of the US doesn’t work. There may be a different way of doing it but I don’t know.

    I used to get 1.1 working in Vista as long as I first set up a VPN tunnel, I was also very surprised to find that 2.0 worked without needing one in W7, they may simply be relying on most users outside the US not having the tile displayed in Media Center so didn’t bother to place any IP restrictions in it-hopefully MS won’t change this in the RTM version.

    I also have the 1.1 tile appearing in the Extras Menu (presumably due to the systemGeoISO2 setting being US) but clicking on this give me the error message that ‘There is no content available in the UK’, this also happens even if I first establish a VPN tunnel to the US which would indicate to me that MS have changed the checking routines in W7.

  3. This is even more interesting. I’ve just installed Win7 RTM, I left it set as US locale etc, clicked on Internet TV 2.0 in Media Center it asked me to update and it installed an update. I can watch Internet TV with no VPN and I have not hacked anything to get it working.

  4. Which is precisely what I found, but as soon as you add a tuner and tell it your true region so as to download the guide data, you will lose the tile for Internet TV from the extras strip. You will need this ‘hack’ to get it back.

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