Info trickles out about the capabilities of Media Center Edition on Windows Vista, and Matt Goyer, Microsoft's blogger for the company's eHome division, offered both good news and bad news in his post from last Friday, July 28.
The bad news is that you won't be able to buy a CableCard reader off-the-shelf and upgrade an existing PC. So ATI's Open Cable Uni-directional Receiver (OCUR, pictured here) will only be available installed inside new CableLabs-certified machines containing it. The good news is Windows Vista will support up to four HDTV tuners, including two OCUR cards. In a question-and-answer format, Goyer says:
Q: Will I be able to buy a cablecard reader off the shelf, a video card off the shelf and be able to playback [OCUR] content?
Q: Why don't you offer support for more than 2 HDTV cards?
A: It would sound like it's due to the added development and test complexity. To be clear we do support up to four tuners. For instance, one configuration in the US could be two OCUR devices with two ATSC tuners.
Sounds like Windows Vista upgraders who want to view HD cable TV on their PCs might fuel a lively black market for ATI's CableCard-reading OCUR product. Or, maybe some will just acquiesce, breaking down and buying a new PC equipped with the cards.