Tuesday, May 12, 2009

CableCARD Tuner Hack for DIY Vista and Windows 7 PCs

Over the past week or so there has been a lot of talk about how to install a CableCard tuner into a DIY (Non-OEM) PC for use with Media Center.  Progress on that front came about thanks to a few recent developments:

So now that it's pretty much out in the open, its going to be pretty tough to find an ATI Digital Cable Tuner - especially the external variety.  Still, I expect to see many MediaCenter users to try this out.  There is definitely a risk (I really think it's very likely) that Microsoft will find a way to block this hack so be aware.

For those of you who use other, non-Media Center HTPC programs such as SageTV, BeyondTV or GBPVR this solution still doesn't give you much.  Why? because Microsoft MediaCenter is the only HTPC program with the ability to use CableCard as a tuner (thus far) and the DRM restrictions wrapped up into CableCard make it even less likely we'll ever see it work with the competition.  I'm not saying it isn't possible, but it's pretty unlikely at the moment.

For those of you MediaCenter users, the instructions are very detailed, include lots of good screenshots and information you'll need through the process.  No CableCARD OEM bios is required with the hack because of the PID that was posted - just know that might not last forever.  Read more at EngadgetHD and let me know how it goes if you give it a try.