Thomas Hawk got the scoop on Microsoft providing HD CableCARD support for the Media Center Edition (MCE) of Windows Vista in 2006. Even though they’re using the existing one-way standard, this is very exciting news which extends encrypted digital cable beyond the TV.
It makes me wonder if TiVo is sitting on the sidelines waiting for the multistream, bi-directional CableCARD 2.0 or if they’re also pushing forward. It’s much easier to upgrade a computer than it is a proprietary set-top box, so TiVo could be holding out. I also wonder what this means regarding the future of software like SnapStream’s BeyondTV. Unless they too are able to harness encrypted cable, their days could be numbered.
Microsoft says: Microsoft Corp. and Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs®) today announced they have reached an agreement that will allow Microsoft and PC manufacturers to bring to market digital-cable-ready Windows® Media Center-based PCs in the holiday 2006 time frame. This agreement is an important milestone for our customers who want access to high-definition digital cable content on their PCs and a major step toward enabling a solution for the delivery of that content, said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of the Windows eHome Division at Microsoft. The cable industry is very interested in having the PC serve as another means to allow consumers to enjoy cable programming, said Richard R. Green, president and CEO of CableLabs. By working with Microsoft and the IT industry, we have come up with a solution to enable consumers to enjoy the wide range of entertainment options they want.