Over the weekend, Microsoft released the CableCARD firmware update for Windows 7 Media Center which relaxes DRM for recordings in a big way and adds support for SDV. The package arrived as the “ATI Digital Cable Tuner 1.19.12.09050155 firmware” — available to all of those with the ATI CableCARD tuners via Windows Update. Next, Microsoft also pushed out the Digital Cable Advisor tool, which checks your computer to ensure it meets minimum hardware requirements for CableCARD viewing/recording. The Digital Cable Advisor, found in the Windows Media Center Extras Gallery, measures system CPU speed, RAM, graphics card support for hardware acceleration, and digital connection capabilities. If your PC meets the minimum requirements, it enables digital cable functionality on your PC. (CableCARD tuner and connection from your cable company required of course.) Once you have it all set up, you’ll be able to use your Windows 7 computer’s Media Center HTPC front-end to access cable TV, including premium content.
Check out more of Brent’s reflections on tech, gadgets, software and media at Brent Evans Geek Tonic.