Ceton to Unveil CableCARD Quad-Tuner ($399)


I’ve just received word that Ceton will be unveiling a low profile, PCI Express “Quad-Tuner” card at CES. Strike that. Steve Ballmer will be unveiling the Ceton card. During Microsoft’s opening CES keynote tomorrow evening! The $399 PC accessory is expected to ship in Q1 and enables simultaneous tuning of four live channels of digital cable via one multistream CableCARD. (We don’t yet know how many tuners the new CableCARD HDHomeRun offers.) While more tuners are better, without a holistic whole-home approach their full potential won’t be tapped. But given the pressure encouragement I’ve received from various directions to attend Microsoft’s keynote, I suspect they’ll have more to say in this space. Hopefully something which includes the resurrection of the Media Center Extender and the introduction of a headless Windows Media Center component running on WHS. And I’ve heard recurring whispers of new/more “IPTV” initiatives. Will the Xbox 360 finally see some television services in the US? Stay tuned…

12 thoughts on “Ceton to Unveil CableCARD Quad-Tuner ($399)”

  1. Sounds like Ceton is also still working on 8 or 6 tuner cards for OEM integration, whereas this 4-tuner M-Card model might be available to anyone who wants to use it (now that those CableCARD restrictions have been eased).

    This CES is shaping up to be a winner, much more interesting than last year. I feel guilty for having contemplated skipping the show. Bad, Dave! Will do my best to get the deets on the stuff we care about. In addition to the keynote, which I may or may not attend (90 minutes waiting to get in kinda sucks), I have some related briefings later in the week. Unfortunately, my TiVo briefing is being held under a NDA – meaning there’s likely no big box announcements.

  2. Dave…haven’t you learned not to get your hopes up regarding media center? Though I must admit the news on all these tuners is pretty cool.

    To me, the most important thing now is a good extender that can play MKVs.

    William & Mary? Seriously?

  3. While I love the idea of more cablecard compatible devices, I gotta wonder if the cable companies are ready to support them. New Tivo owners continue to discuss horror stories with cablecard pairing and similar problems, and that’s with just one product (making it feasible for third level support to have one to play with). What’s going to happen when there are multiple products, all with different UIs, procedures, etc? While I hope that these new products are successful, I fear a consumer backlash if/when they find out how problematic it is to get these devices installed and fully working.

  4. Yep, CableCARD has been a rocky road for many of us. And my situation’s gotten noticeably worse since moving to a SDV provider. But I’m hopeful that the more CableCARDs out there, the smarter the cableco reps will become. It’s in their best interest, as there’s money to be had. We shall see…

  5. My cablecard install with Verizon was incredibly easy and has been rock solid. In terms of Windows, I think things have matured. It took about a half hour. The tech had never heard of media center before.

    I think it is analogous with setting up a router.

  6. @kevin

    Verizon FIOS doesn’t pair cablecards to equipment. My TivoHD Scard and Mcard installs have been flawless. Just wish it didn’t require a truck roll.

  7. Kevin, When I moved this summer the first installer wasn’t very motivated and the second installer, their CableCARD expert, took two hours to get two M-Stream cards and two SDV tuning adapters working. Which involved several calls back to someone to get it paired/mated/synced.

    And I periodically lose those SDV stations. I’ll try rebooting the TiVos and adapters, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. Then if I have to call in they hit the SDV adapters with a signal to reset them which sometimes works after 10 or 15 minutes, but usually doesn’t. My choice is then wait for a tech to come out (and reboot like me) or give it a day or so and some more reboots until it all syncs up again.

  8. This could pay for itself really.

    Ok so right now I pay $16.95/month for a Motorola DCX3400 320GB DVR.

    I pay $8.90/month for a Motorola DCT-700 SD STB for the Bedroom.

    Right there is 3 tuners in the home.

    So if I get rid of $25.85/month in rented equipment, instead get a cable card for $6 or whatever it is… and also gain an additional tuner for watching at the PC or recording another program, it would make up for the cost over time.

    I already have an XBOX360 Elite to use as a media center extender. I would just have to get another one for the bedroom to pull the TV content in there.

    Added is the benefits of the smooth HD user interface, something Cable Companies are still living in the past with their 15+ year old UI’s, and all the add ons you can install on your own whim to media center… it really makes the platform look great.

    No video on demand? Well the TV Everywhere initiative brings a lot of that content to the web. From Fancast to Hulu, to Bit Torrent… I think we would find enough ‘on demand’ content for now, until (and IF) they ever figure out Cable VOD support.

  9. @Kevin

    There already are extenders that can play .mkv and any other media file. Check out popcornhour.com

    It plays it all.

    I’m looking forward to one of thee Ceton tuners, but I don’t see the need for a quad-tuner. Dual tuner will be just fine.

  10. No one needs a f**** quad-tuner at $399,

    Normal people just need a DUAL-Tuner at $199

    but it seems we will need to wait for other manufacturers to open the market…

    tired of waiting

  11. Okay, quad tuner sounds great. What type of system am I going to need to build to capture 4 HD streams at a time? Right now running a Core 2 Duo at 2.93Ghz, 4GB PC6400 memory, nVidia 9600 gso, 2 Sata drives in a Raid 0 config and recordings have glitches if record 2 channels, while I’m watching a recording…

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