6 Responses

  1. Chris Lanier
    Chris Lanier August 24, 2008 at 1:21 pm |

    Is there a specific DRM issue you are talking about?

  2. Christopher Price
    Christopher Price August 24, 2008 at 5:13 pm |

    I’m referring to the fact that non-flagged recordings (analog, ClearQAM) are flagged as copy-never when a CableCARD is present.

    This means that if you have a CableCARD in your system, you can’t placeshift content that you could if the CableCARD wasn’t present (either with a ClearQAM, or an analog-only tuner).

    CableLabs has said they lifted this (erroneous, IMO) requirement (since they already let TiVo HD do that from day one). But, it’s up to Microsoft to put in a fix that lifts the DRM blockade.

    Many, myself included, were surprised that Fiji did not fix this. Fiji adds ClearQAM support, so it was a no-brainer that ClearQAM on CableCARD should now be DRM-free (especially in light of CableLabs’ change in policy to support this). Worse, Microsoft has made no statement when this will be corrected in Windows Media Center.

    Also, Microsoft has paved no path for existing CableCARD owners to get TV Pack 2008, so even if a fix is released for Fiji, Microsoft is going to force existing CableCARD owners to pony up for an entire new PC to get the fix, when it is released.

    Until Microsoft clears the air on things like this… I’m happy I have a TiVo HD. I can placeshift whatever I want, whenever I want.

  3. Chris Lanier
    Chris Lanier August 24, 2008 at 7:14 pm |

    Ok, that’s what I thought.

    I think it is important to make a few distinctions here. First, and most important CableLabs, nor Microsoft has never said anything in public about this. Yes, CableLabs did change the specs but that happened months ago and it is just a policy document. Microsoft has never said when or if the functionality to coming to Media Center, and in fact their “officially official” annoucement for the TV Pack is still 2 weeks ago at CEDIA.

    Now, I was the one who said that CableLabs changed it and that the TV Pack will most likely be the first toward unprotected recordings. However, I also said that a firmware update for the tuners would be needed. The way that CableCARD DRM works on the PC is a two part issue. The most important for this is the fact that the content is wrapped in DRM before it even gets to the PC. The hardware within the OCUR does this. From this you can see why a firmware update would be the first step toward the feature coming to Media Center.

    Overall, it might be a good idea to wait for CableLabs, AMD, and/or Microsoft to say something (rather anything) about it before just assuming the TV Pack (or firmware) doesn’t fix it.

  4. Christopher Price
    Christopher Price August 24, 2008 at 10:51 pm |

    Well, that’s the problem… Microsoft refuses to talk about any of this. They refuse to talk about an upgrade path for CableCARD owners to TV Pack 2008. They refuse to even acknowledge the CableLabs ruling.

    If TiVo did that… their stock would tank. I’m simply holding the Media Center team to the same standard.

    I feel that it’s unjustified, after the much-anticipated release of TV Pack 2008, for there not to be some information release for the loyal (existing) CableCARD users. These people have had more than their fair share of issues already.

    And, let’s not forget… CableLabs does not exist in a vacuum. Microsoft was pushing CableLabs for these changes. They knew they were coming. This isn’t just a two-month old decision, it has been a long time coming. PR-wise, Microsoft should have had an announcement ready to go on this matter alongside CableLabs’ decision. This is the number one reason, after all, why video enthusiasts avoid CableCARD on Media Center.

    Microsoft has promised me an answer to these questions for weeks, and I am growing tired of a perpetual delay on the answers. It almost seems as if Microsoft has not found answers to the problems. If that is true, it’s certainly troubling for the competitive position of the product.

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