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Microsoft's CableCARD DRM

Ben Drawbaugh

Our most anticipated feature of Windows Vista is CableCARD support. As much as we like Windows XP Media Center Edition, it's inability to record HD cable channels is really lame. We knew there would be a catch in the form of DRM; like the OEM requiredment and some of our favorite Media Center features won't be available. The good news is that CableCARD support will be available when Vista ships later this month, the content will be decrypted from cable and then re-encrypted in the tuner with Microsoft DRM before traveling via USB to the media center, even internal PCI cards will use USB. The files will be stored on the hard drive encrypted and no copies will be permitted, there will be recover methods to deal with hardware failure. Streaming to Vista Media Center extenders will be supported, and shows recorded with a CableCARD tuner will not be transferable to a Zune or other device, OTA content can be copied to a Zune so Microsoft recommends you record what you can OTA. All copy protection required by the provider like 5C will be honored by Microsoft, but no details were known how they would deal with things like "Copy Never". On a side note un-encrypted QAM will be supported, but mapping the QAM channels is not automatic.

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