On the Trouble with HDTV in MCE

Ed Bott’s Media Central � More two-way CableCARD products Ed Bott is out today with a post which is more or less an excuse in my opinion for why Microsoft doesn’t have native HDTV yet in Media Center. I’m oversimplifying things here but bottom line is Ed’s opinion is that getting HDTV on an open system (MCE) involves much more than we might think and hence Microsoft is somehow justified for being late to the HDTV party (correct me if I’m wrong here Ed).

I don’t buy it. We already know that Micrososft can do HDTV time shifting. It’s called Foundation and if you’re lucky enough to live in Washington State you just might be familiar with it. The technology in fact exists today. If Microsoft wanted to they could create a closed box inside of an open box. Whether or not caving to the content providers (as Ed rightly points out TiVo did with DirecTV and is now paying the price) is the right strategy or not is another debate.

My own opinion is that even a closed HDTV system inside of an open box where the cable/satellite provider got all the money and Micorosft got none and got screwed two years later would be preferable to the current strategy of no native HDTV.

Like I said before, if TiVo could do it, so could Microsoft. They chose not to do it and to instead pursue a path more profitible to them in the short run. Microsoft should realize that HDTV in MCE is not about short term profits. It’s about selling units and changing the face of the game later when 25 million people have Media Center PCs. Give away today for what you get tomorrow. Kind of like how a sleepy little company named Google has done it down in Mountain view.