Short Bits: Media Center Show, Hauppauge HD-PVR, CableCARD

Ian
Dixon had Scott Evans from Microsoft on The Media Center Show
this week
along with AMD talking about AMD Live!

A
lot of information dropped today about Hauppauge HD-PVR’s Component Capture
device
.  I’ve been meaning to do a whole big post about this and how
it relates to Media Center and other products like SageTV but never found the
time so here is the quick version.

Some
information about the device, it is a single input (also has passthrough)
Component video capture device that encodes to H.264 (13.5Mbs max) at up to
1080i  It is expected to go for around $250 in early May, produces AVCHD recordings
perfect for authoring to Blu-ray Discs, etc, etc.  Product page is
here
.  It will not work with Media Center out-of-the-gate, Media
Center doesn’t support H.264 capture.  Expect that part to get added in
Fiji, but I doubt Hauppauge is working directly with Microsoft here so no clue
when working Media Center support will be added.  This has ramifications
in the content protection field; expect content owners to start looking at
enabling ICT on Blu-ray Discs.  That means a max output of 540p unless
HDMI-HDCP is used.  Brent Evans has the blog to
subscribe to for up-to-the-minute information on the device.

I’m
questioning if the 13.5Mbps can be changed via a registry entry, the encoder
can do more.  Price is high at the expected $250/device; you also have
to add your two cable/satellite STBs that connect directly which puts you at
CableCARD prices for a dual tuner setup. Upside is all content is unprotected
and no OEM PC is needed.  SageTV will benefit greatly, they will now have
a true HD PVR and Extenders
to boot
.

Engadget
HD confirms
the obvious that DIRECTV tuner testing
is part of the Media Center
beta
.  I’m not happy with whoever keeps leaking this stuff BTW. 
You got into a private beta, be happy and keep your mouth shut.  It was clear DIRECTV was a part of this, leaking it means less opportunities for beta access in general.  You thought over a year wait for this beta was bad, wait until the next when it skips any type of public access and goes only to Microsoft employees and partners. On the
plus side, hardware loan agreement because include a PC so the tuner works
without a special BIOS.  This puts the chances for a retail consumer
installed device pretty high.

Ben
Drawbaugh is posting about his
first day with a Dell XPS 420
which he just got to ditch his TiVo’s.  Ed Bott has a similar overview
of his CableCARD setup.

8 thoughts on “Short Bits: Media Center Show, Hauppauge HD-PVR, CableCARD

  1. “This puts the chances for a retail consumer installed device pretty high.”

    Which means that we can install the DIRECTV device into an existing Vista PC?

    Any speculation on timing given the FIJI and typical beta testing process timelines?

    Thanks!

  2. Right, so you need two of them for a dual tuner machine.  That means $250×2 + your monthly rental fee for two STBs.  For most that’s $500 for the capture devices then an extra $200/year for the STBs.

  3. Brian: That would be the conclusion I draw from the hardware loan agreement picture, but nothing has been confirmed. I’m not expecting to see the update until Oct. at the earliest.

  4. For those of us in Canada this is the ONLY solution for HD. Since MS obviously doesn’t care about us, and is unlikely to support this product in the near term, it is likely to drive me away to Sage.

  5. “Right, so you need two of them for a dual tuner machine. That means $250×2 + your monthly rental fee for two STBs. For most that’s $500 for the capture devices then an extra $200/year for the STBs.”

    So then, this is on par with buying 2 CableCard tuners for a CableCard PC, except you actually SAVE $1200+ since you don’t need to spend extra to buy a OEM CableCard PC!

    CableCard PC with 2 CC tuners = $1700
    Hauppauge HD-PVR x2 = $500

    In either case you have to pay the monthly fees for digital cable + HD channels + STBs/CableCards.

  6. I’m not trying to directly compare the two, I just said you are talking “CableCARD money” for the tuners. CableCARD tuners are around $280/each, the HD-PVR is $250 each. The difference is that CableCARDs post like $2/month, where STBs cost $8-$12/month. In the end, you still have advantages and disadvantages in both. You can pick which one is for you. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *