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March 10, 2011

Launch the NASA TV live stream from within Windows Media Center

Space Shuttle Discovery landed yesterday at Kennedy Space Station in Florida, completing it’s final mission.

I watched both the launch and landing of the shuttle Discovery on our main TV screen thanks to a cool little hack first published in the Windows Media Center community over five years ago: adding the NASA TV live video stream from the ‘Net directly to Windows Media Center. It was on back in 2006 that WMC enthusiast Buellpilot posted three simple steps that let you add the live NASA TV video stream into your My Videos library inside of Windows Media Center.


“Back in 2006 that NASA TV trick was one of my Media Center WOW factors to impress friends and family,” he recently wrote on TGB. “…real live TV streamed from the Internet, and back then it looked pretty good on my old 4:3 SD CRT 21″ TV and MCE2005”

Over the years, this trick has made the occasional rounds in the blogosphere. A few weeks ago when Discovery was launching on its final mission, I reposted the steps on TGB.

1. In your browser, go to


2. Look in the Other Viewing Options area to the right of the player.


3. Right click on the Windows Media (best for full screen) link (it is an ASX file) and select ‘Save Target As…

4. Save it to your My Videos folder.

5. In Windows Media Center, navigate to your video library, and you will see a tile there with *_NASATV_Windows as part of its title. Select it and enjoy the broadcast.

Here’s what it looks like in your video library.


You click this icon and it launches the NASA TV stream:





New Plugin Lets You Add NASA TV to your Extras Gallery

While this is one of my favorite tricks for Media Center, I have always wanted to launch the NASA TV stream from its own, better looking tile in WMC’s Extras Gallery, rather than in my video library, which is where I keep my family’s home movies. So last week, I pinged Windows Entertainment and Connected Home MVP Michael “Mikinho” Welter with an idea. Mikinho is not only one of TGBs most active posters, he’s a senior writer at and regularly releases WMC plugins and tools to the community.

“Not a problem,” Mikinho replied.

And a few days later, he had evolved the NASA TV trick into a cool plugin.


Now when I want to watch NASA TV, I just hit this tile in my Extras gallery.  In fact, you can right-click on the icon and add it to the main Extras strip:



You’ve got to love it when the community makes stuff like this happen.

Mikinho’s plugin automates this process entirely. He has released the plugin on MissingRemote. Give it a shot before Endeavour is scheduled to take off on April 19 at 7:48 pm.