Santa is leaving Media Center Edition users an extra present under the tree, but not until next year. Microsoft and CableLabs have announced an agreement to bring CableCard access to the PC, along with the ability to share it with connected devices (like the Xbox 360). A part of the deal is Microsoft getting Windows DRM approved as a part of the OpenCable standard for devices to receive one way cable (no On Demand). They expect to ship PC's equipped for CableCard by the holiday season of 2006.

So you will be able to access digital cable high definition channels on your PC, but it may still be a year out. Microsoft will gain some leverage in their quest to dominate the living room, hoping to entice buyers into a Media Center + Xbox 360 combo over the next year, Sony has frequently mentioned possible PVR capabilities for the PS3, I wonder if this will affect that at all. Also, will satellite users switch back to cable to be able to get HDTV on their PC's? I'm sure the cable companies hope so.


Public Access