Tuesday, November 07, 2006

another HD update... cablecard ranting...

well.. i've been doing the HD thing now for about a month or so. had to transition to a comcast HD DVR (scientific atlanta 8300HD) since there still is not a single manufacturer that has created a HD CableCard Tv Tuner.

I really loathe the dvr box..  it lacks the most basic function: ability to search for shows. but nonetheless the quality and sound from it are very good. 1080i looks pretty sweet on my 24" widescreen. i'm still in love w/her and i've had her almost a year now.  she's a dell 24 widescreen; loaded with inputs and comes w/ a great stand.  been using my PC and HD DVR to it and it lets you do PBP and PIP, so i can put on tv on the pip and do my thing on the rest of it.

so ok, i can live with the whole no search thing and just go online to find when my shows will be on. however, they still need more HD channels.  i think i get a measly 12 or so and the digital cable looks like crap after watching some Discovery Channel HD in 1080i.  so hopefully we see more channels go HD, preferably SciFi and Comedy Central.

getting back to the TV Tuner and CableCARDs or lack of; from what i have read around the blogs/sites/forums is that the reason why there have not been any PC HDTV Tuner w/CableCARD support is that they need to be approved for Vista and by the CableCARD creator.  so it seems that us HTPC/Do-it-yourselfers have been left in the dark and forced to buy/rent a service based DVR box.  hopefully, once Vista is officially rolled out in 2007 manufacturers will start developing HD Cablecard TV Tuner cards.  The current offering of CableCards are the v1.0 (which do not allow two-way communication; thus things like On-Demand, guides, and payperview are not accessible w/the current slew of CableCARDs).  A new version 2.0 of the CableCARD is coming, this version will allow two way communication and in turn allow us HTPC builders to go back to our superior DVR PC boxes.  However the standard for CableCARD 2.0 is yet to be finalized so manufacturers are a little hesitant on creating Tuners which might not work w/the 2.0 format.

Once CableCARD 2.0 is finalized, we should expect to see a slew of CableCARD 2.0 Tv Tuners and by that time, Vista should be out in the wild too! So i guess i'll have to make due w/my HD DVR box till next year (good thing its almost the end of the year!).

for those interested in reading more on CableCARDS, here are some links:

CableCARD Primer: http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/specsformats/CableCARDprimer.php

CNET's Whats a CableCARD: http://news.com.com/FAQ+CableCard+Whats+that/2100-1041_3-5542400.html

Wikipedia's CableCARD entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cablecard