TV Wonder lets Vista PCs tune digital cable

If you’ve been curious about whether, how, and when media center PCs would gain the ability to tune and record high-definition digital cable TV, this year’s CES looks to be bringing some answers. AMD has just announced a new product in its ATI TV Wonder lineup, the TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner. The product itself is fairly straightforward, but its use is substantially complicated by the provisions that AMD, Microsoft, and the cable industry have made to ensure that content received via this TV Wonder tuner will remain safely inside the digital rights management envelope established for it.

This process begins with OCUR, or Open Cable Unidirectional Receiver, a standard established by CableLabs and the cable industry for digital cable tuners. OCUR-compliant devices should be able to accept a CableCard and then act as tuner for digital cable on any U.S. cable network. As the U in OCUR implies, this standard is only unidirectional, so OCUR-compliant devices cannot transmit data in order to invoke on-demand movies or the like. AMD says this TV Wonder is the first device of its kind certified by CableLabs.

The TV Wonder unit itself is not a traditional PC expansion card. Instead of being a PCI or PCIe card, the TV Wonder is largely its own device. The external version has its own case and power supply, and connects to the PC via only a USB 2.0 cable. The internal version fits into a PCI or PCIe slot, but only for retention purposes; it draws power from a floppy-drive-style power lead and connects to the PC via USB, like the external version.


The internal version of the TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner. Source: AMD.


…and the external version of the same. Source: AMD.

The TV Wonder can handle a number of standards, from NTSC analog television to ATSC over-the-air digital television and, of course, digital cable. The digital tuner is capable of handling all common HDTV resolutions, up to and including 1080p, thanks to AMD custom chips. Analog tuning capabilities are provided by an ATI Theater 550 chip, while an NXT2003 handles DTV duties. For digital cable, the TV Wonder does no video decompression. It simply receives encrypted data via the cable system and outputs a compressed video stream to the PC.

Not just any PC can connect to this TV Wonder, though. It must meet a stringent set of requirements, including OCUR support in the BIOS and support for HDCP (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection). The PC must also be running one of the versions of Windows Vista—Home Premium or Ultimate—with built-in Media Center functionality. Media Center support for OCUR must then be activated with a code, much like Windows Vista activation.

Once you have a TV Wonder and an OCUR-ready PC, the final step in setup will be installing the CableCard. AMD says this process involves making a call to the cable company, which will then dispatch a tech who will bring the CableCard to your house, install it, and enter a code to complete a pairing process that enables the device to tune cable TV.

Sadly, the OCUR-compliant PC must come from a major PC manufacturer. AMD says PC makers will have to provide a letter to CableLabs labs certifying that their PCs meet OCUR requirements. As a result, AMD expects to see OCUR-compliant PCs from major PC makers like Dell very soon, but expects smaller PCs vendors and system integrators to be left out. The smallest PC manufacturers on AMD’s list of TV Wonder resellers look to be AlienWare, Velocity Micro, and NiveusMedia. Others include larger players like Sony, Toshiba, HP, Dell, and Gateway. PC DIYers will be left out in the cold entirely, and AMD could not say whether this situation might change at some point in the future.

Major PC makers will be the first vendors offering the TV Wonder DCT as a packaged part of a new PC or as a built-time upgrade option. The upgrade option will likely have a price in the $250-300 range. Eventually, AMD expects the TV Wonder DCT to be selling separately to consumers once a sufficient number of OCUR-compliant PCs are out in the market. Consumer sales might be spurred in part by the fact that it’s possible to have up to two TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuners connected to one PC.

The restrictions associated with the TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner are daunting, but they were no doubt necessary in order to win acceptance for this device among cable TV providers. The good news here is that one device should be capable of tuning digital cable anywhere in the U.S., and that Media Center PCs will at last have the ability to tune and record premium digital HD cable content. Xbox 360 owners will be especially pleased with the fact that the Xbox 360 can act as a Media Center extender and play back high-def programs recorded by this TV Wonder. PCs with the TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner should become available when Windows Vista ships to consumers on January 30.

Comments closed
    • HOS59
    • 11 years ago

    A warning! Just purchased a DELL XPS 420 computer with the ATI TV Wonder digital Cable Tuner. Was told by Dell sells person that I would be able to hook up my cable to the tuner and watch TV on my computer. Come to find out, still need to get the cable card inserted into the Cable Tuner box. Well, bit the bullet and had a COX technician come out to install the cable card and was told that COX has been having a lot of trouble with the Cable Tuner cards so they are no longer providing the cards; maybe in the future.

    • Chuck E
    • 12 years ago

    I was in the process of buying a new Gateway FX530XV in late February when I heard about the upcoming demise of Analog TV Broadcasting. I heard about the ATI tuner under discussion here and began to fairly hound Gateway to make the thing available. but they said “Oh no, we can’t do that because we haven’t tested it yet and don’t know if would work in our system. I was getting Vista Ultimate and tole them that it had been developed in conjunction with Microsoft specifically for Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate. This was just a bit before the release of the Nvidia 8000 series video card, but I had specified a Nvidia GeForce 9750GT with its 512 mb of ram. Everything about the computer is HDCP rated including the 24” Gateway monitor and it has a DVI connection to the video card. Actually, I’m more concerned with simply being able to connect the cable straight to the tuner in the computer than being able to receive HD video. The idea of running a digital cable into a converter box before the tuner on the computer just seems a giant step backward. Its bad enough that I’ll have to get some other and probably more expensive cable Internet modem, but so far I haven’t heard of any direct connect Internet connections in any computers just yet. Clearly with both Gateway and ATI the concept of the customer always being right has come to be that they simply don’t give a rat’s hindquarters about their customers. You’d think that Gateway might have seen that customer support is somewhat important seeing that it just had to sell itself to Asus to maintain even a partial existence. I know that after the experience I’ve had over this one simple thing I’ll not recommend them to anyone who I care about.

    I believe it was right in the beginning of March I heard that from that time forth it would be illegal to sell any equipment for TV reception that was not digital compatible, but this apparently made no difference to Gateway; they were quite willing to sell me a device that would clearly be legislated into obsolescence within the next year and a half. In retrospect, had I known that by early summer Dell. HP, Sony and a few others would be carrying this technology I would have gone with one of them even though the price from any of them for a comparable system would have been higher. All in all the only positive thing that came about in these times was changing from Bellsouth, who after three years of asking them to provide a faster DSL connection refused saying that I was too far out of the service area to get more than a 3mbps connection, even though I live with in a mile and half of Emory University, the CDC and the Atlanta VA. Switching to Comcast got me their standard 6.0mbps connection and online movies from Netflix are much clearer. Had I not been so thoroughly frustrated with the Tuner affair I probably wouldn’t have been upset enough to make the change.

    • nonegatives
    • 13 years ago

    This reminds me why I don’t spend my money or time watching TV.

    • sresener
    • 13 years ago

    I don’t think this will be that bad of a an idea. Look at what the cost of hd pvr box cost from a cable company so you have to spend it on a hd digital tuner instead. I personally would love to have the same funtions through my mce pc. But what I dont think is a good idea is that the home computer builder won’t be able to use it “at least right away”. And what makes it worse is the oem pc builder will charge a premium for these so called hd digital cable ready computers. while all they will have is vista premium and a entry level hdcp capable video card.

      • ElimGarakovksy
      • 13 years ago

      HDCP is needed only if you are doing DVI output. Otherwise it will still work – even VGA will work, except that it will down-sample slightly. Not noticeable, and higher quality than DVD (520k pixels).

    • Madman
    • 13 years ago

    Well, I just looked back at the latest topics and 9 of 10 seems to be connected DRM.

    I love to buy DVD’s and I have quite a collection at home by now. Yea, they pissed me of with the copy protection scheme, but well, it wasn’t awful. At least if the DVD got scratched really bad, I could find a way to copy it to PC to watch without jerks and back it up if I wanted.

    Now, I’m looking at the future, and what do I see? I see that I need expensive video card, very expensive monitor, new XXX-ROM drive and Vista to keep spying on me.

    Guess what, if I see a product like latest ‘Install shield’, which is constantly connecting to web, installing bloatwares and so on, it’s a death sentence for it. I’M NOT INSTALLING JUNK ON MY PC. AND I AM NOT VOTING WITH MY WALLET FOR COMPANIES WHO WANTS TO MAKE ME A BUTTMONKEY.

    And you know what suddenly came to my mind after reading this article? If this trend will continue this way after like a month from Vista launch, I will probably look for a way to fund security organizations without braking my local law.

    Come to think of it, I wonder if allofmp3 is legal source of purchase in our country… I got to check the laws.

    • Inkling
    • 13 years ago

    Good discussion folks. Let’s invite more participants to weigh in…

    Please Digg, if you will:

    §[< http://digg.com/hardware/ATI_s_TV_Wonder_lets_Vista_PCs_tune_digital_cable<]§

      • indeego
      • 13 years ago

      Frontpagg{‘}gd

        • Inkling
        • 13 years ago

        Thanks guys.

    • moose17145
    • 13 years ago

    may be a little off topic, but what ever happened to tha TV tuner card ATi has (had ? ) out? Did they stop making it or something, cause i used to be able to find it on the egg, and i can’t find it anymore. Cause i think that is a much more preferable solution to this piece of junk.

    • cRock
    • 13 years ago

    Is it just me, or is anything HD a big mess? Where to begin?

    First of all, we all know that we’re going to end up at 1080p pretty f’in quick, but when you go shopping for HD sets almost everything is 480 or 720. Anything that will actually do 1080p costs a fortune. Buying a HDTV right now is a sucker’s move to start with, but this is a well kept secret. 720p doesn’t look too bad, so I might be able to look the other way on this…..

    … but then we get to DRM. Oh my. At the very least, I get to pay an extra $5 per month for a DRM box, excuse me, set-top box for each of my HDTVs. At least it includes a PVR, because the DRM gods have decreed that any recording device, especially PCs, will be rendered useless.

    Ironically, the best way to get HD content is clearly piracy. I can download practically anything I want to watch DRM free and it costs less than HD cable. Even if I get sued, the cost of a settlement is equal to about 3 years of HD cable service. Starts to look pretty attractive, doesn’t it? You bet it does!!!!!

    I do think Apple is wise to the situation and they’re going to attempt an end run around the cable companies with iTV. Yes, it will still be proprietary and DRM laced, but it’s going to offer less restrictions than HD cable, that much I can assure you. Apple is very clever when it comes to striking the balance between freedom and servitude (see iTunes) so expect iTV to be a hit. Devices like this tuner only prove how far from reality the competition has drifted.

    Further on down the line, I think we’ll see “free” content shot on HD camcorders by independent sources, but that’s still a few years down the road after the HD download infrastructure is firmly in place.

      • indeego
      • 13 years ago

      1080p is like, new new new, and it needs time to come down. By the time it’s down the next round will be coming out.

      My advice: Don’t fall for the hype, but plan for it in 1-2 years time. I would invest in 1080i if you must, and let the early adopters get their fix at a huge price premium.

      I don’t think 1-2 years is that big a deal to wait, especially because the prices dropped so much last year. Anyone running HD in 2005 has got to be smashing their head at the prices seen now.

      1080i- decent sets for $500-$1000g{<.<}g

        • sresener
        • 13 years ago

        Actually if you do some looking 1080p is already getting affordable. For my xmas present i got myself a 1080p 42″ lcd tv granded insigna is not a top brand but the picture looks great and i havnt seen any ghosting yet plus it was only 1350.00 plus taxes canadian from future shop.

          • albundy
          • 13 years ago

          dang, i missed that deal. I got the sharp deal instead, but cost me a bit more.

      • blastdoor
      • 13 years ago

      I think you are absolutely right about Apple.

      Right now we have two extremes — Stalinist DRM from the cable companies and Lord of the Flies anarchy in torrent land. Apple will provide the civilized middle ground. It won’t be perfect, but for most people, it will beat the alternatives by a long shot.

      Go Apple!

    • StashTheVampede
    • 13 years ago

    *[

      • nerdrage
      • 13 years ago

      q[

        • StashTheVampede
        • 13 years ago

        Yes, I read the fact that it won’t be for the DIY crowd. If people buy these setups from OEMs, they’ll gain acceptance from the cable group. Eventually, they *have* to be opened up — enough people will want to roll their own solution.

        It’s a question of time, not IF it’ll make it to DIY.

          • totoro
          • 13 years ago

          That is some might fine false logic you got there, son.
          Why on earth would they ‘open it up’ after going to all this trouble to lock it down?
          Essentially, the only part of this that people want is the cablecard, but without all the baggage.
          I seriously doubt that’s going to happen.

          • SGWB
          • 13 years ago

          Stash, I think you are underestimating the media companies’ ability to keep their collective heads up their collective asses. They don’t want TV recorded to computers at all. They see computer technology as the enemy. They are assuring that the cost of entry will remains so high that nobody without piles of money to burn could afford this for the next 5 to 10 years.

          On top of that, they are so paraniod about content protection that they are tying this to Vista with its DRM controlls. That means the copyright holders will define for you what you can do with any program you record. If they don’t want you to burn an archival copy to a dvd, you won’t. If the copyright holders don’t want you to put a copy on your video iPod, you won’t. If they want to disallow you from editing out, or even fast forwarding through, commercials, you won’t. If they decide you can only keep your high-def recordings of Sex in the City for two weeks, then Vista will delete or downsample your recording after that time. (no, I do not have proof of this, but it is a logical extension of the DRM technology) And when this is finally “opened” for DIY’ers, the copy right holders could cripple it to only record sandard definition programming. Or, by that time, ATI may have abandoned the market due to lack of demand.

          No, The only way you will be building your own PVR with this is if someone cracks the security and makes it work with MythTV. But wait a second! you have to have someone from the cable company coume out to program your cablecard. They will not give you the codes to program this yourself. The technitians will refuse to set this up on a Linux box, even in the unlikely circumstance that the technitians know what Linux is.

          I’m sorry to say it, but unless the copyright laws become a lot more consumer friendly in the US, the future for this technology does not look very bright.

            • StashTheVampede
            • 13 years ago

            I never stated that the DIY market will be able to work with this tomorrow. Media companies are paranoid about digital distribution and tech companies want the media company business.

            It will take time when *we*, as consumers, will be able to build our own PVR, following all the restriction that are imposed on the content being delivered.

            • SGWB
            • 13 years ago

            I am not so hopefull.

      • Inkedsphynx
      • 13 years ago

      Reading ftw. People like you and me get the shaft.

      Thanks DRM.

        • StashTheVampede
        • 13 years ago

        We’re getting the shaft for wanting to be early adopters. We want the “Joe Blow” users to buy into this — the more of them that accept a PC in their living room (with this kind of equipment), the more likely we’ll be able to build it for ourselves in the future.

          • ttyRazor
          • 13 years ago

          the only people who will be interested enough to go out of their way to buy this and go through that setup hassle are the same ones who’d know enough to avoid or just don’t want an OEM setup. Combine that with cable providers’ inevitable ineptitude and this’ll die on the vine

    • nerdrage
    • 13 years ago

    I’m not sure how this story is relevant to most of the readership here. Very few TR readers buy OEM machines for personal use… this product is directed at the average Dell buyer as an option when purchasing the PC. I’m sure Dell will be able to sell quite a few of these, and Joe Sixpack isn’t going to care about the DRM. It doesn’t matter what us geeky folk think about it… it’s not readily available to us anyways. *shrug*

    • PerfectCr
    • 13 years ago

    At first I quickly scanned the article and it just looks like a series of 3 and 4-letter acronyms. Thanks DRM!

    • DukenukemX
    • 13 years ago

    Will this work with my Pansat Satellite receiver? ;P

      • ElimGarakovksy
      • 13 years ago

      Sattelite support comes out next year.

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    How ridiculous.

    I’ll stick to torrents.

    Intarweb > silly DRM solutions

    Same goes for Vista. All these hacks to pull the rights away from consumers just to watch commercials in high def.

    No thanksg{<.<}g

      • blastdoor
      • 13 years ago

      This certainly is reminiscent of the situation with music prior to Apple. On the one side, we have insanely draconian DRM that nobody will use. On the other side, we have wide open file sharing with no restrictions, but it’s illegal and a little tricky for non-technical folks to deal with (and also a little too clunky for technical folks with money to bother with). There’s a nice big space in the middle for someone to offer a solution that is easy to use and has a much more flexible DRM system. Sounds like Apple to me.

      Edit —

      Another Apple-related thought occurred to me — I’ve heard/read Steve Jobs say that he is as proud of the products that Apple has NOT introduced as he is of the ones they have. In other words, he’s proud of his good judgement in choosing not to introduce bad products. I think he can be very proud that he did not introduce this absurdity. Meanwhile, you have to wonder what the heck ATI/AMD are thinking for wasting development resources on this. I’m quite sure there are better ways for them to spend their money.

    • Stranger
    • 13 years ago

    This is why Cable will eventually die

    • sacremon
    • 13 years ago

    I foresee the product failing, which will allow the cable companies to claim that there was never really a demand for it in the first place. This will allow them to continue to kill any product that decodes digital cable TV without onerous DRM.

    • pluscard
    • 13 years ago

    You guys are missing the point. No one complains that cable is sold on a subscription basis – or that you need a set top box for premium service.

    This device simply replaces the set top box. The cable guys have to install it… is this rocket science?

    I for one am getting one – if it works with Direct TV satelite.

    Plus

      • liquidsquid
      • 13 years ago

      Yeah, I agree. Why bitch about something you have to subscribe to that you already subscribe to? What I see is this card being installed as an option when you subscribe to cable. What is the big deal? If you don’t want cable on your PC, get the standard box and go straight to the TV. For me this will be ideal in the future since I will be using a hi-def projector that doesn’t have a tuner in it. Now I can have a decent PC contain the tuner, cable box, and my games rather than several clunky components kicking around.

      -LS

        • blastdoor
        • 13 years ago

        In 1985, I could use a VCR to videotape movies and TV shows off of cable. The VCR could be programmed to record at specific times and to repeat the recording. I could take the tape out of the VCR and watch it on another VCR, on another TV, in another house. I could share it with a friend who missed the show. It was nice.

        In 2007, we see a device that is radically more advanced technologically than the old VCR. But in terms of usable features, it is much less appealing. I think that’s pretty pathetic.

        Maybe you’re too young to remember a day when corporations didn’t have their lawyers up your a$$, but I can assure you that there is, in fact, something to bitch about here.

          • moose17145
          • 13 years ago

          I am in complete agreement, this is a joke, and this IS something to bitch about. Personally this is an insult if you ask me.

      • Vhalidictes
      • 13 years ago

      I don’t disagree with the assessment of this as a solution looking for a problem, however the AMD-bashing is misplaced:

      1. I’m sure AMD had no say in the DRM decisions made; either they supported the restrictions that any and all content providers came up with, or there wouldn’t be cable card support.

      2. I’m sure that AMD had little choice but to provide this product; if they didn’t, someone else would, and it’s silly to avoid producing a product that ATI is perfectly positioned to release.

      Yes, many people won’t bother with this card, but the few that do will provide a profit to AMD – if Joe Sixpact wants to fund the engineering team that is working on R600, all the better for us enthusiasts…

        • SGWB
        • 13 years ago

        y[

        • firestorm02
        • 13 years ago

        “however the AMD-bashing is misplaced”

        Um, who is bashing AMD? If any one is being bashed, it’s greedy corporations who rightly deserve it.

      • ElimGarakovksy
      • 13 years ago

      Actually, you don’t even need the cable guys. Just get the cable card from the cable company, insert it, and call the company to activate it.

    • flip-mode
    • 13 years ago

    Note to pirates:

    Please continue at full steam. Give 110% effort. Pirate everything you can. I don’t care enough to go download your wares, but I sure hope that you bring the high-definition content “industry” crying to its knees. I will hope for and toast to your success.

    • d2brothe
    • 13 years ago

    Geez…thats just retarted…unfortunately there are plenty of retarded people with money to make it fly…damn…can’t live with em, can’t live without…but still…this is just…wow…they actually send someone to your house to install it…I do believe this constitutes hold on by their balls.

    • wierdo
    • 13 years ago

    Ok then… who buys this? It’s like a mouse buying a maze for his cheese 😛

      • blastdoor
      • 13 years ago

      Excellent analogy.

        • flip-mode
        • 13 years ago

        Seconded

      • ew
      • 13 years ago

      You should give Kraft a call. I’m sure they’d be interested in your CRM (Cheese Rights Management) technology.

    • moose17145
    • 13 years ago

    wow… just wow…

    • danny e.
    • 13 years ago

    another vote for PATHETIC.
    .. sadly, they will get suckers buying it without knowing the details.
    I’m sure they wont advertise the infections on the box.

    “NOTE: This product does not allow viewing of television without supervision. After viewing a program with this product, you may be asked some personal questions about how you enjoyed the program as well as shown some short advertising material based on your answers. The questions must be answered and advertising viewed or your computer will explode and the police will be notified.
    If you would like to record a program with this product you will be asked to bend over and grab your ankles. A remote tracking device will be inserted into a discrete location. This object may feel cold upon insertion.”

      • The Swamp
      • 13 years ago

      Lol, Nanny Nation.

      Going subscription is the wet dream of any company, whether it’s film, TV, computer software/hardware, or anything you can think of. Steady, easy money and no one owns anything. What’s better than to be able to keep selling someone the same thing over and over again? One thing I love about Win2K is that it is stable and is not crudded up with DRM garbage. Your computer is your computer, and you can do what you want with it. Vista, for all of its bells, whistles, and eye candy is, I’m sure, DRM hell. Now hardware is following suit? Ugh.

    • blastdoor
    • 13 years ago

    This is truly pathetic.

    • Chrispy_
    • 13 years ago

    My life is at least twice as good now as it was in 2004.

    In 2004 my beautiful 28″ widescreen TV blew up, I have not yet replaced it.

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    Vista validates the driver, the driver validates the hardware, and thus there’s a secure path from end-to-end (secure from the copyright holder’s pov, of course) so the PC can decompress the content and play it (encrypting it again to transfer it to the monitor). But the whole DVD experience suggests it’ll only be a matter of time before cracks are circulating. It will be a little trickier this time around, since more pieces need to be hacked to make the chain work, but I have no doubt it will be done. Of course the HTPC has never taken off with the masses, and it likely never will. What we’ll see instead are the closed appliance devices (game consoles, TiVo, cable-boxes) acquire more of the features of general-purpose computers, but without the flexibility (and also, if they’re done well, without the complexity or unreliability). None of which will push aside PCs for enthusiasts (anymore than the existence of game consoles has eliminated PC gaming). In fact, if won’t even matter for a lot of HD content: not everything is or will be secured. In addition to OTA HD content, the advent of HiDef consumer video cameras means there’s going to be a crapload of unsecured HD video on sites like YouTube. And the same pirates who today produce packaged and pressed DVDs and CDs will be churning out the HD goods as well.

    • Zenith
    • 13 years ago

    Wow. A TV Tuner that makes sure you can’t record from it. Well, that just about killed any reason for me to buy one.

    Sorry ATI/AMD, I can watch TV on a TV. The only reason I want a TV Tuner is to record for later watchage.

      • ElimGarakovksy
      • 13 years ago

      Sure you can record it. And watch it as many times as you want. You can’t move the recording to another machine, however – that’s a bitch and a half. 🙁

    • eloj
    • 13 years ago

    Does USB really provide the necessary bandwidth for this? Can they guarantee no frame-dropping for _all_ valid bitrates off cable?

    But seriously, this looks like a truly stillborn product.

      • UberGerbil
      • 13 years ago

      HiSpeed USB 2.0 is ~50MB/s (claimed 480Mb/s is of course higher, but also unreachable in practice). Does your cable pipe provide more than that? Remember this is doing no decompression; it’s just doing the handshake with the head-end and passing the compressed stream on to the machine. 1080p is ~120MB/s, but that’s with no compression; the only part of the chain that should see/need that kind of throughput is the GPU.

        • Matrikz
        • 11 years ago

        UberGerbil, i hate to say this but you know nothing of what you speak… first off USB 2.0 is NOT 480MB/s it is 480mb/s there is a HUGE difference, MB is MegaByte mb is megabit, remember there are 8 bits to 1 Byte… now you say that HD is 120MB/s are you sure on that and it’s not 120mb/s?

      • albundy
      • 13 years ago

      So I guess the answer is no, probably not even with firewire 800. You wont get frame drops as long as your in 720p or less territory I guess.

      • ElimGarakovksy
      • 13 years ago

      Yup, absolutely. Remember, HD digital cable is still MPEG2. Highest bandwidth is 20-25 mbps. If the stream is multiplexed, you can see up to 36, but the OCUR does its own demultiplexing in that case – and the frames aren’t dropped anyway.

    • drsauced
    • 13 years ago

    I can see an epic battle up ahead. Pretty soon only those who have not sinned will be able to watch HD.

      • eitje
      • 13 years ago

      AND cast the first stone!

    • ew
    • 13 years ago

    I just tried to copy this post and send it to a friend. Thankfully my OCUR complaint PC running Microsoft Vista Ultimate told me that this would be a violation of copy right law and that it was sending a message to the copyright holder informing them of my misbehavior. I’m just thankful they caught me before I committed such a horrible crime.

      • DrDillyBar
      • 13 years ago

      +1 Moxie.

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    Wow, the restrictions are unbelievable making this product dead in the water already. The fact that even the internal version only has a USB connector, means they are really serious with the DRM protection on this one.. I trully hope that a universal hack will come out allowing all channels decryption with no subscription. That would teach the cable companies that it’s really important to support Linux as well 😉 I kid i kid

    But seriously, i hope this thing gets cracked asap to teach those gready bastards a lesson.

    Adi

      • mesyn191
      • 13 years ago

      Any crack will be non-trivial and most likely involve soldering+mod chips…

        • UberGerbil
        • 13 years ago

        This is not the target for a crack anyway, since it isn’t doing any of the heavy lifting and tampering might be more detectable by the head end. Cracks will generally be downstream, either in the form of software (a matched set of cracked driver and OS patches) or hardware (video card mods or hacked monitors).

          • mesyn191
          • 13 years ago

          Yes. This is a much more reasonable strategy (ie. current HDDVD backup hack via PowerDVD). It remains to be seen if they can get a working crack a la DeCSS which is what we’ll really need to make backups of HDDVD/BluRay and that such a thing will be possible on Vista PC’s though.

    • Bensam123
    • 13 years ago

    Wow…

    I wonder if this is heading towards the “mystery box” you will eventually have to purchase in order to use the internet or any software. It will require monthly fees, is un-upgradeable unless you send for a special certified technician which will just exchange it for a new “mystery box”, and will have special outputs for “mystery box” only peripherals.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but this sort of BS makes me want to stick with what I have no matter what new frills are offered. The only people that are going to buy into this stuff are the poor bastards that just want a “mystery box” to read their emails.

    Not actually owning things you buy really pisses me off. Big companies are getting to the point where they’re saying give us money and we may or may not let you use our product depending upon how much money you give us and how d@#k you will suck for it.

    I seriously hope when they start asking us to bend over they offer free KY samples before the monthly subscription.

      • shalmon
      • 13 years ago

      *rofl* well said, well said

    • curls
    • 13 years ago

    Can the cable companies get any more annoying?

    • DrDillyBar
    • 13 years ago

    So, no DIYers and HDCP required. *yawn* (post lag)

    • Krogoth
    • 13 years ago

    I will said it again this is why DRM in its current form sucks.

    It is nothing, but a control scheme guise as a “anti-piracy” tool.

    • totoro
    • 13 years ago

    Just think, without DRM, this article would only be half as long.
    Thank you, copyright enforcers!

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago
    • just brew it!
    • 13 years ago

    I don’t doubt that this sort of device will have its appeal for some people.

    But I really think what we are seeing here is the continuation of a trend where PCs are diverging into two functionally different beasts. On the one hand there’s the “traditional” PC we’ve all come to know and love; on the other hand, there’s something which more closely resembles some sort of closed-architecture media appliance.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 13 years ago

      I agree, the closed standards are starting to creep in to more and more devices and it’s pretty sad. Open standards is a huge reason PCs took off in the first place and it has spawned entire industries not to mention competition, sometimes.

      I read the part about ‘a cable guy will have to come out to your house..’ and started to be dissapointed, then the ‘no DIYer’ part left me totally disinterested.

    • king_kilr
    • 13 years ago

    Ok, linux boys start your engines, I want a hacked driver for mythtv before I can get my hands on one!

    • lithven
    • 13 years ago

    CableCard was a technology that I thought had a lot of promise when I first heard about it. Sadly it was encrusted with so much DRM and limitations as to be completely worthless. I don’t see this product or the OCUR “standard” changing that. I think I’m to the point that I not only no longer care about getting high definition programming to my computer, I don’t care about watching high-def content at all.

      • ew
      • 13 years ago

      Not to mention that at least in my area the cable provider doesn’t even know what Cable Card is.

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