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What's the current state of HD in MCE?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Sorry for asking if this is covered in another thread - I haven't read the forum for about a year. I did search but I thought this might be faster.

I currently have a MCE 05 machine running with HD OTA dual tuners. It works perfectly - it drives all the displays in our house and it works just as I want it to.

However, I was thinking of getting cable or sat. as my wife gets tired of fiddling with the OTA antenna - there are multiple broadcasters in very different directions from our house so there's no happy perfect reception point. HD is a must as all the displays in the house are HD. My understanding when I put the thing together in 2005 was that there was no real way (other than a firewire hack for some cable boxes) to get HD into MCE from cable or sat sources. Is this still true? I believe my cable (comcast) provider has clear QAM on basic channels. (Portland, OR).

Can anybody fill me in on what's changed in the last year while I've been asleep?
post #2 of 13
A HDHomerun fits that bill and is the ONLY digital tuner that works with clear QAM, IN MCE.
post #3 of 13
If you buy a brand new PC from an OEM manufacture like Dell, Gateway, HP, or velocity Micro, you can get a pc with vista MCE, and cable card tuners, however there is NO way of doing cable card DIY style.

Then next is QAM based, and right now the ONLY tuner to support QAM inside of MCE is the HD Homerun, what it does is "trick" MCE into thinking the QAM channels are actually ATSC channels. Also with QAM you won't get all of the HD channels, like HBO, or ESPN, or Discovery. You will pretty much just get the local channels in HD and thats it.

- Josh
post #4 of 13
Does Silicon Dust have some sort of proprietary technology that allows their HD Homerun to work in MCE? Why can't other QAM tuners that have BDA drivers trick MCE into thinking it's ATSC as well?
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
I understand that this is a legal issue and not a tech one - but it's pretty silly that here we are years after I built my first HTPC (2002) and all the standout issues are the same.

on the cablecard front, what difference does it make if it's DIY or OEM? Aren't the parts available? What's this thing doing:

http://ati.amd.com/products/tvwonderdigital/index.html
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreenturtle View Post

I understand that this is a legal issue and not a tech one - but it's pretty silly that here we are years after I built my first HTPC (2002) and all the standout issues are the same.

on the cablecard front, what difference does it make if it's DIY or OEM? Aren't the parts available? What's this thing doing:

http://ati.amd.com/products/tvwonderdigital/index.html

That "thing" IS what allows premium content to be played via Vista, but it works ONLY with OEM machines that have the cablecard certification. (includes special BIOS and other things).
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreenturtle View Post

I understand that this is a legal issue and not a tech one - but it's pretty silly that here we are years after I built my first HTPC (2002) and all the standout issues are the same.

on the cablecard front, what difference does it make if it's DIY or OEM? Aren't the parts available? What's this thing doing:

http://ati.amd.com/products/tvwonderdigital/index.html

That ATI cable card tuner is what OEMS like Dell and HP are selling with their pc's, however you can not purchase one of those ATI tuners and get it to work with a home built pc.

Cable labs have put huge restrictions on who and how you can build a htpc with cable card support. First it HAS to be windows vista for DRM purposes, second its a special version of Vista, and finally the mother boards used in the systems have a special code in the bios that has to be there in order for the system to even work.

- Josh
post #8 of 13
Its not a special version of Vista, it just has a seperate avtivation key that activates the OCUR MCE portion.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
hmm, my HTPC is an OEM - a Dell, but I installed everything. It's pretty new - I wonder if the bios would work? I have dell system images of every version of vista - is it something that is "special" beyond that? I am an IT consultant and 30 or so dells pass through my office every year.

edit: I see the post after about the OCUR.

So it would work just fine with my htpc if I just flip vista home premium on there?
post #10 of 13
Nope, there is no way to DIY. There are keys you can't get.
hdhomerun is your only option for cable QAM in MCE period as a diy.
Or to simply have more than one OTA tuner,one for each transmitter with each antennae pointed differently.

Hi from Beaverton..

Troy
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
I guess my point of the 30 dells coming through my hands was I can just poach one of these off of one of those machines. Then I would get the keys, yes? Are we talking key codes or hardware keys?

I understand the issues - I don't understand quite why all the organizations involved are so intent on making this such a mess.

I would need an HDCP monitor anyway, too, right?
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreenturtle View Post

I guess my point of the 30 dells coming through my hands was I can just poach one of these off of one of those machines. Then I would get the keys, yes? Are we talking key codes or hardware keys?

Not really that easy, but it's just an additional COA. It might sounds like it's no big deal to try, but I wouldn't waste your time.

Of course, if you got it you would also need to ensure your BIOS is correct (which it is not).

And you would also have to buy a tuner, and Dell is the only place you are going to be able to get one and they only sell them with purchase of a new CableCARD-ready PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreenturtle View Post

This is all beside the point if Comcast doesn't offer cable card support - do they?

Yes, they do.


Chris
post #13 of 13
basically since MCE2005 came out in late 2004 updates include:
HDhomerun adds QAM to 05 and vista
OEMS add Cable card
End upgrades
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