First DIRECTV Tuner Details?

DIRECTV
and even Sky TV support appear to be picking up speed.  Like many of you,
I’ve been awaiting
the DIRECTV tuner for Media Center
since it
was announced
.  Microsoft and DIRECTV have been quiet on the subject
which has made it hard to find out any details on the upcoming product.

Lucky
for us, Microsoft happens to be looking for a few employees to work near the
project.  Feel free to apply, but for the rest of us who just want the
shipping product here are the first small tidbits of information.

According
to the job
posting
, Microsoft is working with newly developed dual satellite
tuners.  Among the basic features will be Pay-Per-View (PPV) access and
H.264 HD.  These features aren’t that exciting if you understand how
satellite works; you must have two-way communications for it to function so you
are not going to run into the one-way OCUR issue and DIRECTV has moved to H.264
for all new HD.  That said, it is now confirmed that it will support both.

In
addition, DIRECTV support in Media Center appears to support in-band EPG
data.  Instead of using Internet-based EPG listings, it looks as if Media
Center will use the EPG data currently delivered by satellite.  This is
important for several reasons, but among the top is more accurate data
delivered whenever needed.

In
a
second posting
, Microsoft states that they working with satellite TV
providers in both the US and in Europe, which could just mean Sky TV users will
have something to look forward to next year as well.

Most
of these details are not earth shattering, but they do reinforce some
points.  First is that the Xbox 360 Extender will have to get a codec
upgrade for H.264 in the future.  Currently only the Dashboard supports
H.264, so except an upgrade before the DIRECTV tuner ships. Second, I
personally never thought about the technical side of this product as the
details are not there.  However, now that I see things like PPV and
in-band EPG I can see why it might be taking so long.  Just tuning and
decrypting the video is one thing, but if these details are right Microsoft
taking the in-band services and developing them within Media Center is a huge
undertaking.

These
tuners will only come with or shortly after a new Media
Center release
.  We still don’t have official information from
Microsoft on the Media Center update or Satellite tuner cards, but hopefully
CES will bring something new this year.

7 thoughts on “First DIRECTV Tuner Details?

  1. Wow!

    So now when H.264 is starting to be used in the US maybe we Europeans can finally get support for it.

    If nothing happens soon, a lot of users will abandon the product!

    Let’s hope for the rumoured 2008 update!

  2. YES!!! This would easily be the most exciting thing to happen to the media center universe in years. This would the thing that keeps me hooked on the Media Center/XBOX 360 platform because lately I’ve been fed up with the IR port hassle that I have to go through now, including slow channel changing and channel changes not even registering at times.

    A new, quieter XBOX 360 Model in 08 or 09 coupled with the media center update and satellite tuners would be a dream come true for me. MS, please make this happen, and drop us a dime at CES, will ya…

  3. More interesting in the context that at least a few people just this minute got renewed MCE beta surveys in their email.

  4. Seriously, how hard is this to do? We don’t want to pirate anything; we just want to have the awesome one-stop-shop for media instead of having to keep flipping inputs from HTPC to DirecTV receiver. Some of us have wives that don’t handle this well. One place to do it all would be so wonderful.

    The DirecTV card technology isn’t that hard. The hardest part is the satellite, and it’s been in the sky for years. Just move the tuners and card interface from the STB to a PC. It’s a smartcard, and smartcard readers exist. Give us a $50-$100 reader to buy to unlock our stations GIVE US SOME SATISFACTION!

  5. Nice find, I’ll sign up for DirecTv as soon as a Windows Media Center DTV card is available. Now, I’m part of the 13% of people that ONLY have OTA.

  6. I am wondering about the cost of this card. I am thinking it may be prohibitively expensive which would suck. I mean, I already own set top boxes and am not going to dish out hundreds for a card….

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