Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Information on the ATI CableCard Tuner Firmware Update

CEPro has an interesting article about the upcoming ATI CableCard firmware updates.  We can’t get our hands on this firmware yet, but there are many interesting points of discussion from the article.  Much of the information in the article comes from Derek Flickinger (known as DrFlick to many) who is a well known (and highly regarded) custom installer with a considerable amount of Media Center knowledge – he knows his stuff and that makes this even more interesting.

Here’s a few points of interest:

Fios Channels are all showing up as “copy freely” during Mr. Flickinger’s trials of the new firmware – this would be the ideal for all CableCard users because it basically means no DRM on those channels marked as “copy freely.”  These channels can also be viewed from PCs other than the one with the CableCard tuners installed.

Viewing Unprotected Channels in Windows 7

                       Photo from CEPro

One other point I noticed is this comment:

“On the other hand, rumor has it that Time Warner Cable and other MSOs are tagging virtually everything as Copy Once (protected). There may be little CF [Copy Freely] content except from basic broadcast channels.”

While it’s exciting to see CableCard rules loosened as much as they were this month, we have a ways to go before we know how this all will affect us in the real world.  Will my Time Warner cable provider make the loosened CableCard DRM rules mute by tagging all channels copy once?  If so, that makes the changes much less useful to this HTPC user.

Another question not answered is this:  When will this firmware arrive?

Regardless, give the CEPro article a read – it’s a good one.