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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.

Time Warner Officially Supports Windows 7 with Cable Card

As some of you may know, I am a Time Warner customer that has to live with a lot of Switch Digital Video (SDV).  I get letters all the time from Time Warner informing me of the next batch of channels that they are going to put behind the dread veil of SDV.

Well as I opened the latest letter I noticed something different.  Instead of just talking about Tivo’s and “other” cable card devices, they were now calling out by name Tivo, Moxi, and Windows 7 Media Center.

Could the days of calling Time Warner and saying “Yes I have a Tivo.  Please bring out a cable card.” now be over??  It looks like Media Center is no longer the illegitimate cable card child anymore.

Check out the scans of the letter below.

Back from EHX

ehx_spring_2010 I just got back from EHX (Electronic House Expo) in Orlando, Florida.  I was down there for reasons I will post about later, but it was a great trip with a few Media Center morsels.

The first is Amulet Devices.  Ian Dixon had Eddy Carroll of Amulet Devices on the Media Center Show podcast episode #248.  Amulet Devices is getting ready to ship a new universal remote for Media Center that includes voice control.  I had a chance to test the remote at EHX and I came away impressed.  I’ll be doing a full write-up on my hands-on time with the remote this week.

The other bit of interesting news is that the Media Center Integrator Alliance has been dissolved.  This group was formed about a year and half ago I think to really push Media Center in the custom integrator channel and provide custom integrators with exclusive training, tools and educational resources.  The website is already down and custom integrators are being pushed over to the Green Button.  Microsoft is still hosting a Custom Integrator landing page for Media Center but it links out to other sites such as the Green Button.

Speculation is that they were not getting the participation level from the members of the alliance that they had hoped and were doing much of the work for the MCIA.  I hope this does not mean that Microsoft is giving up on this channel as I think it has more legs than ever over the next few years.  My biggest question is if they are going to make the testing tool suite that was once exclusive to MCIA members available to everyone.  That would be great for enthusiasts!