When Microsoft first launched Windows XP Media Center Edition around two years ago it was honestly a very impressive first attempt by Microsoft. By the time MCE 2005 rolled around, you honestly couldn't get a better looking, more responsive and well rounded PVR interface from anyone else. Harnessing the power of today's extremely fast CPUs, Media Center Edition could not be beat - except in one key area: HDTV support.

 

When Microsoft updated MCE at the end of 2004 they finally added HDTV support, with one caveat: it only supported OTA (Over The Air) HDTV signals - in other words, only HDTV channels you could get over an antenna. There was no support for premium HD channels such as HBO HD, which meant that MCE's HDTV support was basically useless.

The lack of any real HDTV support kept Media Center Edition from being a viable option for many. Sure it looked good and was very fast, but for around $10/month you could lease a HD-DVR from your cable company and get more functionality than from your fancy $2000 PC.

Microsoft had originally promised to fix the HDTV support issues in the latest update to MCE, but concerns over DRM protection on HD content was raised and Microsoft's hands were forced into delaying the support until Windows Vista.

If you've been following Vista at all you will know that there will no longer be a standalone MCE OS, rather the support will be bundled into a couple of versions of the OS. Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate Editions will both feature media center functionality, and both of those will finally have support for recording of live premium HD content. The HD support itself shouldn't be news to you, but the hardware that enables the support is what we're here to talk about today and the only company that's currently demonstrating it is ATI.

Introducing ATI's OCUR
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  • sprockkets - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    Like who is going to share a 19.2mbps data signal? Recording HDTV will always be a minefield, with allowing who to record what. Reply
  • gibhunter - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    Screw them and their DRM bull S*^(. I will keep on using my $10/month dual HD tuner DVR and if I need a show on DVD, I'll just connect my laptop through firewire with a driver that makes it appear as a digital vcr.

    In the meantime I'll continue laughing at the people that spent $2000 on a media PC only to have less functionality than my $10/month DVR and $70 dvd player with DivX support.
    Reply
  • glennpratt - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    Umm, hate to break it to you but, that box has DRM too. Try recording HBO lately? If you are lucky enough to be able to, it won't last long. (I have a couple of firewire tuners at my house... and I use MCE) Reply
  • Hikari - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    They don't expire. I just get straight mpeg captures, I can even record HBO HD over firewire. Nothing I've ever gotten 'expired', and they play in 3 different OS as well.

    Maybe my local Comcast isn't doing anything yet though, beats me.
    Reply
  • glennpratt - Friday, January 06, 2006 - link

    It has a record once mode which only lets you play back on the device that recorded it. That's DRM... That your local Comcast doesn't have 5C encryption enabled means your lucky. Mine does on the premium channels, some have it even on broadcast HD stations. Reply
  • raskren - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    OMG! Terrible Windows DRM! Run while you still can!

    What's the problem here kiddies? Afraid you won't be able to pirate movies as easily?
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    Your not up to date or you would be pissed to, because Vista as it is now has to many restrictions on data. Even your OWN music/movies will have same restrictions if you downloaded a movie online from BT. copy Shrek to a DVD so i could take on laptop on trips, you can't play it on vista because DRM. Lots of stupid stuff like that, basicly you have to play original DVD of shrek. Its ass backwords Reply
  • glennpratt - Friday, January 06, 2006 - link

    I don't know where you got this from, it's pretty much total BS. Link please. Reply
  • AndyKH - Friday, January 06, 2006 - link

    Isn't it possible to copy e.g. a DVD to a format that doesn't contain DRM as an AVI file. And the DVD content protection has been cracked long ago, how would you make certain that a copied DVD can't be played in Vista. I must admit that I haven't researched the subject much, could you provide a link to some good info about Vista's DRM? Reply
  • The Boston Dangler - Thursday, January 05, 2006 - link

    http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/12893">http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/12893 Reply

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