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Dream of Streaming CableCard Content with Windows Vista? Think Again

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

If you're thinking the upcoming Windows Vista is going to let you use a CableCard instead of a set-top box to do whatever you want with your video, you might be disappointed.


Unless that PC is an official Media Center Extender (MCX)—such as the Microsoft Xbox 360—you may not be able to snag digital cable content on a CableCard-equipped PC and then stream that video over your network to any another PC.

Hey! Hey! Wait a doggone minute....

Without that extra-special MCX voodoo, protected HD content won't be viewable on anything but the PC on which the CableCards reside. It's a closed-loop system to keep those pesky pirates at bay.


This streaming thing might seem like a small detail, but it will make it less convenient and sometimes impossible to move video around your house unless mommy says it's okay. That's right, the owners of the content get to decide how you use it, not you. That stinks.

Before long, there will probably be lots of third-party devices with embedded Media Center Extenders (the MCX technology is code-named Pika), especially non-recording devices such as DVD players and keypads. But all those devices will give the content owners control over us, dictating what we can do with our video. This can't be good.

Another MCE CableCard Shortcoming: No Streaming to Other PCs [CEPro]

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I would expect you could VNC ("remote assistance") to the media PC from anywhere though. no?

The content is not streamed when you try to watch through rdp ... The error message says something like not supported. But if all you want to do is watch recorded stuff, then you can just install the codecs in your other pc and open the recorded shows directly. The extender experience is much nicer than that, though.