Windows Media Center 2005 to support high def TV | PVRblog This is very interesting and very good news indeed and may be the solution for those who can’t or don’t want to use DirecTV as their HD content provider. Just remember though, don’t always believe what you read. It was not that long ago, earlier this year on the eve of the consumer electronics show, that another fine publication, the Register, claimed that Microsoft was deep sixing the product entirely — obviously getting their facts and sources wrong. I’d love to hear confirmation from Microsoft on this but until then I remain skeptically optimistic… but very optimistic.
The other issue with this support by MCE is that it is my understanding that the ATI card only supports OTA (over the air) HDTV broadcasts and not satellite or cable. Although watching network television in HDTV is very nice, this seems very limited. This leaves a lot of HDTV to be missed — especially things like original content and movies from HBO and Showtime. If I could not also get cable/satellite HDTV stations I would have missed all of the early play of the US Open Tennis that USA HD was broadcasting as well as the season finale of Six Feet Under which I TiVo’d on Sunday night and still have not had a chance to watch yet.
If OTA is the extent of HDTV support then I think I’ll still stick with my HDTV TiVo — well that and the fact that I already spent $1,000 on the HDTV TiVo and really don’t want to go out and buy a new ATI HDTV card when the TiVo works pretty fine for the time being.
The biggest problem for Microsoft remains that to offer anything other than OTA support in their MCE product puts them at odds with the content manufacturers and distributors, MPAA, etc. Remember there is no easy way to get HDTV content off of a TiVo box… yet. It is much easier to get content off of a MCE machine and the last thing the content providers and manufacturers want are high def copies of programming flying around out there.
Update: Chris Lanier wrote an insightful post critiquing the original article PVR referenced from the Inquirer.