Questions about CableCARD and Media Center

Ed Bott’s Media Central ? CableCARD and Media Center PCs: More questions than answers Ed Bott posts today in response to an InfoWorld article on yesterday’s announcement from Microsoft and CableLabs that CableCARD ready Media Center PCs would begin shipping next year.

Ed asks the question if CableCARD-ready Media Centers will be restricted to name-brand PC makers. If this is the case Ed says to, “expect screams of anguish if people buying high-powered PCs in the next year discover that there’s no CableCARD ugprade path.”

Of course not much information is out on the CableCARD/MCE topic yet so most of this is really conjecture at this point. But… I would have to assume that at least one high end OEM (Niveus?) would have a CableCARD machine. I can’t imagine Microsoft getting this done and then abandoning the high end user that this would appeal to most. Also, as Dells are pretty customizeable, I’d imagine you could also put together a pretty powerful high end Media Center PC custom built by Dell. I’m not too worried about this one yet.

It is interesting, however, that in spite of this monumental press release yesterday most people at Microsoft are still being very hush hush about this announcement. Although the press release itself has been cited on a number of Microsoft bloggers blogs we have seen little additional information from them. My guess is that they are not allowed to talk about it yet.

Over at Michael Creasy’s blog he writes, “There’s not too many details available yet, but when I can talk more about it I will do…” I asked Michael if this was the reason why we we weren’t seeing more exuberance from the Microsoft bloggers on this announcement and Michael confirmed, “Yup, this is going to be one of those things where I can’t say any more than the press release. I’d like to keep the lawyers out my office.”

Fair enough. I’m looking forward to more details on this annoucement when the Media Center team can tallk.

Microsoft’s David Fleishman at his blog did offer the following in a comment (by the way, it’s easy to overlook comments on blogs, be sure NOT to miss the comments at David’s blog, this is where some of the best material is and David is very active in responding to comments) “I don’t know about the specifics on HW yet. I believe you’ll need a specific type of tuner and other HW but I just don’t know the list at this time. It is pretty new for us on this. I’ll ping the folks driving the project and see what, if anything, we have availalbe and post back here if I find out anything interesting. I am super-excited though, still.”

The MCE CableCARD story was also Slashdotted yesterday.