Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Report of CableCard Tuner working on Non-OEM Windows 7 PC - Fluke?

CableCard Tuner Will Windows 7 allow CableCard tuners on non-OEM computers?

The details are pretty sketchy, but a GreenButton Forum member is reporting that he was able to he has a Digital Cable Tuner (CableCard Tuner) to a non-OEM PC with the Windows 7 beta on it and it worked!  Here's an excerpt from his post on GreenButton:

"I connected the tuner and booted up. The system detected it and installed it hardware wise. I then started MC and proceeded to TV Signal Setup. It proceeded to produce TWO EULAs for acceptance - EPG v5 and PlayReady. It proceeded to download and install PlayReady. (I was waiting for it to tell me I didn't have OCUR BIOS at any moment but it did not) After that it detected the CableCARD tuner and prompted me for a Digital Cable key. Since I'm testing this I figured I might as well follow through and input my VMC's Digital Cable Support key. It connected and then reported it successfully activated. I selected my lineup and let it download the guide. I couldn't wait to see if it worked. So I started by trying ESPN-HD. There it was. So I figured I'd go for the gold and selected HBO-HD and up it came. (Order above may not be perfect, working from memory) Checking other channels it appears I get everything I should."

A few very important things to note about this:

  1. Microsoft thus far has limited CableCard Tuners to OEM PCs only - no exceptions
  2. I have no way to confirm that this really did work for this forum member, but it it's entirely possible that his story is true.
  3. Even though he was able to get this working, he still needed a DCT key from a purchased OEM computer.  So in the end, you currently still need an OEM PC

To me, this appears to be a simple "fluke" that will be corrected by Microsoft as currently CableCard only works on OEM PCs.  But since this has not been officially addressed it does beg the question "Is it Microsoft's intent to eliminate the OCUR-compatible BIOS requirement for Digital Cable support with the release of Windows 7?"

While my guess is that CableCard will continue to be on OEM (pre-built) computers only, it would be a huge boost to Windows 7 to open up CableCard to non-OEM PCs.  Perhaps they could sell a separate license/Digital Cable Key for use on non-OEM PCs or something like that.  If they don't do this, it's very likely that DishNetworks yet-to-be-announced Satellite tuner will be available to non-OEM PCs which would make CableCard even less used than it is today.

via GreenButton Forums