Does anybody make a PC card which can handle input from Charter Digital? They are supposed to begin HD over cable this fall in my area. Would certainly be worth a look instead of a dish if not too expensive.
There are no cards for digital cable and not sure if they will be available soon. Since digital cable is not available through satellite signal like DirecTV (which require lots of encryption) so in theory it would be possible for a TV tuner card folks to cut a deal with digital cable manufacturers, but not sure if that is going to happen based on the fact that most cable companies are now owned by media companies as well (They are deathly afraid of PC users - think Napster).
There most certainly are cards for digital cable. A company called Broadband Communications Corporation makes a card called Cable4PC that handles digital cable signals. There have been a couple of threads here in the past on this very subject. Here's one and here's another . The task is to convince these people to sell us their cards: Apparently they don't sell to consumers.
Another thing we could do is convince the cable companies we want these cards instead of silly external boxes...
I would LOVE to believe that someday soon, these big execs at media/cable companies would come to their senses and offer a product like this to consumers.
I wouldn't hold my breath...
First, DirecTV will NEVER EVER allow PC based receivers. There are just too much piracy risks for them to ever allow that. That is a dead issue. I would love to be wrong, but ain't gonna happen. I will HAPPILY donate $1000 to this board if this happens in next 5 years.
Like I said, cable TV companies are more likely to go this route, but I doubt this as well. The problem is, as I mentioned before, most cable companies are owned by media companies (or vice versa). These guys (and all major networks) are already suing ReplayTV for its ability to share recorded programs over a network. Do you seriously believe that these guys will distribute these cards knowing that risk of sharing recorded programs over the Internet is INFINITELY higher with a PC card? I don't care if they will have encryptions not to allow this - those things can be hacked and media/cable companies know it.
I am happy to know that a company like BC2C are taking a big gamble like this. However, chances of any major cable company adopting these cards are nil (or very close to it).
Any of the current HDTV cards that use the NXT2000 demod are technically capable of receiving digital cable in areas that use 64 or 256 QAM. None of the current HD cards which have the NXT2000 demod have enabled digital cable reception. The difficulty is that the cable companies have a system called OpenCable that requires several forms of copy restriction technology be present. This includes something called the POD. The POD interface is the mechanism the decrypts the data. This is done using an advanced smart card like those used by the Satellite TV companies.
None of this copy restriction technology exists on the PC and there is little chance that the POD interface will ever be licensed to a PC card manufacture. Too much danger that someone will figure out how to hack the POD interface.... So, we can all forget about using a digital tuner card in our PC to record HBO. However, in the clear cable channels like your locals and some of the national channels like CSPAN should not be subject to any copy restriction and should be available on the cable in unencrypted form.
So, long story short. Yes, cards exists. No, they don't (or will not in the near future) work with Premium digital cable.
Incorrect. You can in fact get PC-based DirecTV receivers. However, they are for development purposes only, and as a consumer you would never be able to get your hands on on them.
Some of the satellite boards with our CA modules on are in the same boat. Every single board is tracked and accounted for. Same goes for any smartcards used for development.
You will never see consumer PCI receivers with CA modules or POD connectors for digital cable either. There is simply too much risk.
B2C2 have some simple generic and proprietary decryption modules on their boards, but these aren't going to let you decrypt cable system X, Y or Z. You will need a POD or CA-specific decryption module. Its unlikely that the vendor will supply this. Also, said vendor must provide the correct flavor of their CA/POD module too.
Broadlogic was in the same boat (while they still existed) with their satellite express boards (DVB tuners).
BTW Opencable doesnt require different types of encryption, but rather supports multiple vendors in addition to common CA platform (required for simulcrypt for example).
SO, in short, I can get a card for digital cable that MAY work with non-encrypted signals, WON'T work with premium channels, and probably won't work with HD signals since they will also be encrypted I would guess.
Sounds like a wonderful product to me. I know this is a product not intended for the masses but......
This was going to be the deciding factor on whether to do an HTPC or dedicated scaler. Guess I just decided. Spend more money and get a product designed to actually be used.
Thanks for making me remember that the cable industry is still just as messed up as it has always been. I should have known better than to expect a simple solution that would actually work.
bpape was asking for PC card he can use himself, not for development. Who cares if they exist for development purposes (where every single one is tracked like national top secret)? You and I (okay bpape and I) will never get OUR hands on one. And you agree that we will NEVER see these cards at our local Best Buy.
There are a LOT of VERY VERY cool stuff that is available to special few for almost any purpose. What we are talking about is retail stuff.
Here is a link to a Taiwan company that makes both digital cable and satellite PCI cards - http://www.twinhan.com/english/english.htm , and they are quite cheap around $150 each, or atleast they used to be. They were selling them directly from their website, but now there is only a sales contact email... you might be able to get one from a European reseller, and they do offer them OEM for you smooth talkers. I have no idea if they would work with North American DirecTv/digital cable standards. I searched long and hard and found little info, outside of technical details I have yet had the time to decipher. One of their DS cards comes with a pcmcia common interface breakout, which fitted with a pcmcia smartcard reader might work in North America - if such a thing exists?
As far as DirectTv never allowing pci receivers to the general public... I was talking to a sales guy from DishNetwork at a tradeshow who was demo-ing a Linux box with a DS receiver card (strictly OEM) who said DirectTv (soon to be Dishnetwork... more later) once partnered with Gateway about 4 years ago, and sold to the public a package consisting of a pc with a DirecTv PCI receiver and a 32" (640*480 interlaced probably) display. It ended up being a huge failure. He didn't go into detail as the topic was just a sidebar, but I would suspect it was the image quality of a sub-par display.
DishNetwork owned by Hughes... and according to this guy, is in the process of buying DirectTv at which point current DirectTv customers would have to be "switched over eventually"- I make no claims to truth, after all he was in sales.
Anyway, I wish there was a DS receiver card for the US market that I knew worked with current providers. I'd buy it in a heartbeat if it were reasonably priced and I'd even pay the monthly service (really). Anything to get away from analog ntsc.
Probably he was thinking of the Gateway Destination PC. It had a STB Electronics Analog NTSC/Cable tuner, no DirecTV tuner.
While a DSS/Digicable card would be great, the CA vendor has to put CAM support on the card or do POD integration, and the correct flavor thereof. And then have the broadcaster and his content suppliers to agree to allow manufacturing of this for consumers.
I work for a CA vendor. All I can say is good luck getting the above process through
gameboy - yep, every development and engineering card is tracked. For a billion dollar industry, you bet.
imho, the way i see it we don't need the manufacturer to enclose a POD with the card because you can do the same, exponentially cheaper (does that make any sense? ) with a serial based smart card reader writer (built out of 15 dollars of parts) What we need is a card that can encode/decode mpeg2 streams, and a SDK so that we could explicitly handle the data recieved through the coax. mind you, that babble is just theory, which will never be realized without a collaborative effort.. what do you guys think?
Thanks for all the response. My whole point was to determine if digital cable via a HTPC was a viable alternative for a HD source instead of going DISH or DIRECTV. Sounds like the answer is a resounding no since there isn't anything out there for Joe Consumer that will even work.
My next best option is to get the HD box from charter, go through umpteen D/A - A/D steps and pass it through my scaler pass-thru. Just another input I need on the scaler or I have to buy a switcher. Sure glad this is a 'better' system...
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