Short Bits: CableCARD, Media Center Show

Ed Bott has a great post on why CableCARD will never be
.   Not only is the process
of getting a CableCARD and having it paired a problem, but the lack of
troubleshooting information (or rather the need for troubleshooting at all) on
the PC side of things means CableCARD is likely to never to mainstream.  Ed’s suggestion to fix this is transition
Media Center to a standalone STB type system (which is everyones solution to
everything).  I’m not sure that would fix
the issues with CableCARD, but the transition away from the standard PC is a
whole different topic.

On this week’s Media Center Show Ian
Dixon has Microsoft’s Kevin Collins talking about all the news from CEDIA
and Intel’s Greg Schlechter who serves as a director of the newly announced
Media Center Integrators Alliance.

Hurricane on the way!

5 thoughts on “Short Bits: CableCARD, Media Center Show

  1. I think one of the problems is that there are not enough TV providers supporting the system. If you want to own a media center instead of renting a set top box from a cable company it means that you have to use cable, which for most of us means that you only have one option for how you get your TV. If you want to switch to satellite, it’s no good. If you want high speed fiber access with AT&T, then you’re forced to use their box. When the cablecards were first legislated, it was so that there would be competition in the set top box space, but maybe they should have been thinking about competition for how you get your TV. If Comcast had to worry about me going to DirectTV, they’d be more proactive in supporting cable card users and creating a better experience, but since they know that I’ve already spent a boatload of money on my own box, they can treat their customers lousy because they don’t have the option of going someplace else. If the FCC would create competition amoung video providers instead of just gadget makers, I think we’d see the program be a lot more successful.

  2. I agree with Ed that MediaCenter needs to be rearchitected to run on a headless system. But I don’t think it needs to come from Microsoft. Personally, I have been in favor of Windows Home Server based systems. From a retail standpoint, I believe such a system would need to be sold not only with base WHS unit but also an a bundle. I believe consumers will readily understand what a extender is when sold in such a configuration. The side benefit to this is that the product doesn’t need to be lumped in with other PCs and can be showcased in the retailers AV department.

  3. John, that’s a great idea, but the main problem I see is that the price of the unit will kill sales. Until a WHS+Extender can be sub-$400 together, the integrated headless approach can’t happen.

  4. Chris, I can’t argue that price wouldn’t be an issue. But I think I could argue that a $799 price point would attract a sufficient number of consumers to build a base from. Its not a stretch…

    $199 XBox Arcade
    $549 HP MediaSmart 500GB
    $748 Total

    Now HP MediaSmart does not contain adequate hardware for this. But by the time WHS v2 is ready I’m certain there will be more cost effective hardware on the market. With enough margin, I think more powerful components can be included to optimally run MediaCenter. Just my $.02

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