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Cisco Tuning Adapter Firmware Updated

Sometime in the last 24 hours my Cisco STA1520 Tuning Adapter was updated to the latest firmware. We knew the firmware existed and was out in the wild thanks to Ben Drawbaugh over at Engadget HD but there was no specific release date. Well I finally got my update. For those that do not know I live near Charlotte, NC and I have Time Warner Cable.

It definitely was not an elegant notification on the update though. I read that Ceton had updated the InfiniTV-4 firmware and drivers so I did the update. Everything seemed to be working fine until I woke up this morning. I had an SDV issue with one of my recordings. I checked the Ceton diagnostic web page for my tuners and saw that my tuning adapters were not working properly. I then checked the firmware of the SDV adapters through the CETON diagnostic screens and sure enough the tuning adapters had been updated.


Silicon Dust ready to make HDHomerun Prime Announcement?

Silicon Dust updated their Facebook page with a new profile picture and the following message yesterday: “Thursday night…need to get ready for PRIME time.”

We have been waiting for news any day now and it looks like something is right around the corner.

One step closer to a PC as an extender

Engadget HD has a post about the new amendments to the Cable Card spec just announced by CableLabs.  The first and most important for Media Center users is that cable card tuners can now be shared across the network. 

Ceton has already said that their tuners could be shared but the feature was disabled due to the CableLabs spec.  Well now they can turn that feature back on via a firmware update.

This also means that Silicon Dust can enable the feature in their tuner out of the gate and the HDHomeRun Prime will work just like the regular HDHomeRun.

So now all we need is the PlayReady DRM to catch up and allow the CopyOnce content to stream to another PC in the same manner as an Extender and the dream is a reality.

Things are coming together nicely.  Slowly, but nicely.

Ceton Tuner Finally Shipping

According to EngagetHD the Ceton Quad Cable Card tuner is finally shipping to those that pre-ordered the tuner.  While this is great news the excitement needs to be tempered a little bit since the units ready to ship will not cover all of the pre-orders placed to date.  Hopefully Ceton can get more of the tuners into the marketplace and finally build up a healthy supply.

I am a guest on the Windows Media Center Show

The latest episode of the Windows Media Center Show was just posted and I am the guest this week.  Click on over to Ian Dixon’s website to listen.

For those of you discovering the site after listening to this weeks episode, Welcome.  I hope you like what you see and decide to stay and subscribe.  The purpose of the blog is to talk about Windows Media Center and HTPC’s from a layman’s perspective.  I try to stick to what an enthusiast would want to do in their home without getting overly complicated.

Check out the last post to see what’s coming up in the next few weeks and thanks again for dropping by.

– Andres

BigScreenGlobal By Remote Beta Update

If you have been reading the blog you will know that I have been evaluating both of the current remote scheduling applications available for Media Center in Windows 7.  I am currently using BigScreenGlobal’s By Remote so I was excited to see that there is a new updated beta.  If you have not tried it out its definitely worth it.  I will write up a review / thoughts on the update in a few days.

Here is the announcement:

** Big Screen ‘by Remote’ Beta Program Announcement **

We are very proud to announce that a brand new beta version of Big Screen ‘by Remote’ (v0.6a) has been launched – and now available for download from thebigscreenglobal.com website.

The new version adds to the great functionality of the previous beta – and extends the Beta expiry date for another 3 months to 1st October, 2010 (previous v0.5x beta’s are set to expire on July 1st, 2010).

Some of new features in this v0.6a release include :-

  • A new Silverlight v4 Desktop/Browser Client (previously written for Silverlight v3). The new client has an enhanced look + feel – and makes the most the faster and leaner Silverlight v4 engine. The OOB (Out of Browser) client is also enhanced to utilize the new borderless windows and ‘trusted’ installation features.
  • Along with the extended Expiry Date (to 1-Oct-10) is a new Serial Number based activation system (found in the other Big Screen products) – which now gets the expiry date from the bigscreenglobal.com server – rather than being hardcoded into the program itself (as was done with earlier beta versions). This will allow us to further extend your expiry date in future without you having to reinstall anything (and just requires you to run the ‘reverify’ function built into the software).
    Please Note: As we have now launched Big Screen EPG – the By Remote product requires you to register for a Unique ‘By Remote’ Serial Number (which is free for all account holders on bigscreenglobal.com – and can be obtained quickly and easily from the By Remote download page).
  • Mobile Search is also now available in the XHTML and IUI (iPhone/iPad) client. Providing a basic and advanced search capability (with filtered matching – much like what is available in the Silverlight Client) – this allows you to locate programs even faster from your mobile devices. 
  • The new Local EPG Data Caching feature (available in the Silverlight client) allows you to cache EPG data on your client mchines using Silverlights Isolated Storage capabilities – making browsing even faster than before – and saves you loads of bandwidth and roundtrips back to your server. The new cache settings dialog allows you to enable/disable caching as well as configure cache expiry times, view cache details, wipe the cache and adjust the actual size of the local cache.

We’d love for you to come and check it out – so please stop in to the product page at http://bigscreenglobal.com/bgproduct.aspx?PID=BSRV1 to find out more – and signup + download the new release. (Registration is completely free!).

You can also check out some screenshots of the new version – and read some more detailed information at our blog page – http://mobilewares.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!78533A1A2E078194!8124.entry – or follow us on the twitter account ‘niall_bigscreen’ to get instant news as it comes to hand.

HDHomeRun Prime – My Future Cable Card Tuner

I was originally on the Ceton cable card tuner bandwagon but I have since jumped off.  I am waiting patiently for the HDHomerun cable card tuner and now it is one step closer with an official name:  HDHomeRun Prime!


I chose to get the HDHomeRun Prime tuner after they announced that it would support 3 cable card stream off of one card at a price point of $250.  That is $150 less than the ceton tuner for only one less stream but I also get the capability to put the tuner anywhere on my network and not have to put it in my HTPC.  I may end up putting it right next to my HTPC but I at least have options.

I am hoping that this tuner will work better with my SDV tuning adapters because my SDV situation is about to get a lot worse.  More on that later.