No Streaming CableCARD Content to Other Windows PC’s

MCE CableCard Shortcoming: No Streaming to Other PCs (CE Pro)
| Julie is
out with an article about CableCARD in Vista
and how streaming to other PC’s isn’t supported.

Very true, just as with current CGMS-A protected content it
can only be played back on the Media Center PC it was recorded on (inside of
Media Center only, not in Windows Media Player) or a Media Center Extender.

As Julie points out the only Extender that supports Vista is the Xbox 360 right now.  v2
Extenders are on the way
and will support connecting to Vista
and will also support playback of HDTV recordings.

Julie says not to blame Microsoft, however I respectfully
disagree.  Yes, the reason you can’t
stream to other Windows PC’s is because of CableLabs, however if Microsoft had ever
developed “SoftSled” or a software Media Center Extender this wouldn’t not be
an issue.  Microsoft has decided to skip
that side of the market (with some Microsoft employees not even knowing it’s
been a wanted feature for the past four years) it doesn’t look very hopeful
that it will be an addition to the platform anytime soon.

Another bit that you can not do with CableCARD recordings is
convert them to go on portable devices (Zune, Portable Media
Center’s, iPod’s, etc).

Windows Media Connect (or whatever they renamed it to with
Windows Media Player 11) also need not apply to networked playback.

Be sure to check out Julie’s full write up

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11 thoughts on “No Streaming CableCARD Content to Other Windows PC’s

  1. So wait, no Zune support for CableCARD recordings? Is that just for the HDTV recordings or for all CableCARD content?

    I guess my next question is…..Can I have another standard analog tuner card to run alongside with the CableCARD tuner (and not completely screw up the EPG)? I’d hate to have none of my recorded TV available for things like Zune, Orb, WebGuide, etc….. This would be a deal breaker, I really like Orb and I’m very close to getting a Zune.

  2. From where I sit Microsoft has just killed MCE from ever becoming a mainstream DVR contender. Follow the bouncing green button…

    1. The XBox 360, HD-DVD, and the general “sexy” factor are all making consumers want an HDTV set.

    2. Get an HDTV and you need an HD signal, because SD looks horrible on most HD sets.

    3. Get the HD signal via your cable company and discover your current MCE setup no longer works.

    4. You are now told you have to buy a new machine with a certified OCUR just to record your HD content, even though your previous machine was working great.

    5. Oh, you need to upgrade to Vista Home, sorry, forgot to mention that.

    6. You break down and get the new machine, with the new OS, and finally are ready to watch some HD goodness.

    7. All is well until you go on that trip and want to copy the last episode of “Heroes” to your laptop to watch on the plane. Sorry, doesn’t work.

    8. Suddenly the entire benefit of using MCE disappears, that is the benefit to actually have some control over the content you record. At this point there is no good reason at all to use MCE. You can get a dedicated DVR from your cable/sat provider that is cheaper and just as restricted as MCE.

    So, Microsoft wants everyone to enter the HD generation with their XBox 360 yet getting an HDTV is going to be the exact thing that makes people realize how lame MCE + HDTV is.

  3. Will this affect only premium channel recordings from HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc… similiar to the current limits in XP MCE?

    Or does “CableCard content” include even broadcast networks and non-premiums, like CNN, SciFi, MTV, etc… that are received through your digital cable provider?

  4. I believe it applies to everything, since everything has to get wrapped with WMDRM.

    I never understand the concepts enforced here. If under the CableLabs agreement I can stream to my Xbox 360 and have it protected, why can’t I put that same protected copy on a portable media player as long it it stays protected? (well, I guess it’s because it’s hitting a hard drive, but you get the concept).

  5. “At this point there is no good reason at all to use MCE. You can get a dedicated DVR from your cable/sat provider that is cheaper and just as restricted as MCE.”

    Can someone telegraph this to Microsoft ?

    It’s so lame, I can’t believe it. Next time blame it on the rain.

  6. “8. Suddenly the entire benefit of using MCE disappears, that is the benefit to actually have some control over the content you record. At this point there is no good reason at all to use MCE. You can get a dedicated DVR from your cable/sat provider that is cheaper and just as restricted as MCE.”

    I really like your reasoning… That’s so true. Now I’m stuck with my HDTV, my MCE machine, and my Sat box, without any HD programming…

    So from what I understand, you will be able to watch recorded content only on the same MCE machine? What if I buy a new computer? Or if I upgrade? All my recordings are lost?

  7. UPDATE 11/23
    Two questions have come up: Can you use Xbox 360s to initiate CableCard recordings on the host MCE? Absolutely.

    Can you stream protected CableCard content from the MCE to the Xbox? Yes.

    Tim Cutting from Niveus tells us, just like ATSC, the shows will bear the HDTV or DTV logo if they are being broadcast in HD. They will also contain metadata that alerts you that the program may be protected content. This is helpful so you understand you do not have the same freedom of movement with the file as you do with non-protected broadcasts via NTSC.

  8. This will stink if you can’t get CableCard content to portable devices. After reading about Tivo Series3 not offering TivoToGo service due to CableLabs restrictions, I assumed MCE/Vista would be my next DVR but this puts them back on equal footing. I can understand restrictions on moving HD content around but why the hell would they care if the video is downsampled all the way down to a much lower 320×240 resolution for portable viewing…?

  9. It’s interesting to note that this limitation already exists in MCE2005. I had a Sony Vaio Digital Living System XL1, and recorded an analog NTSC airing of “Das Boot”, on a non-pay channel (although part of extended cable services) through the MCE DVR feature. This particular airing actually had the “broadcast flag” enabled, even though it was an analog NTSC broadcast. I could not archive the program to DVD – MCE2005 would not allow the operation and actually told me that this this was becuase the broadcast flag was enabled. This was the only show I found that could not be archived to DVD – I was shocked to find this feature already enabled even for NTSC TV!

  10. bsd107: Yes that is true. It’s not the “broadcast flag”, It’s called CGMS-A protection, and for the most part only HBO, Starz, etc have it enabled. If you are seeing it on non-movie channels (and non-VOD channels) then I would contact your cable company so they can get that fixed. Generally, it should happen like that.

  11. There is one simple solution if we want to motivate the different TV providers to work with the different mediacenter solutions.

    Stop subscribing to them. While I know that sounds like a pipe dream, its the only way I see anything changing. I haven’t subscribed to a pay tv service in over 5 years and it has nothing to do with me wanting to get pirated copy’s. Its 100% related to them not offering a good service at a fair price. (This includes cable card support or what ever future technology is out there)

    Greed.. Plain and simple.. I will not contribute to it.

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