Microsoft: CableCARD for Xmas (2006)

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The cable industry’s dalliance with moving digital-cable-TV programming to the PC moved one step closer to reality with Wednesday’s announcement by Cable Television Laboratories Inc. that Microsoft Corp. will incorporate CableCARD technology in WindowsMedia Center-based PCs by Christmas 2006.

The Media Center PCs will support CableCARDs, allowing operators to offer consumers one-way cable programming, including HD content, on their PCs and through other connected devices, like Microsoft’s “Xbox 360.” Microsoft said it is working with CableLabs on inclusion of its “Windows Digital Rights Management” inside OpenCable products.

“This agreement is an important milestone for our customers who want access to high-definition digital-cable content on their PCs and a major step toward enabling a solution for the delivery of that content,” said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of the Windows eHome Division at Microsoft, in a prepared statement.

“The cable industry is very interested in having the PC serve as another means to allow consumers to enjoy cable programming,” CableLabs CEO Richard R. Green added.

“This agreement carefully balances the need to preserve the flexibility of the personal computer for consumers with the need for cable operators to be confident that the hardware and software shipped with compliant Media Center PCs will function like a CableCARD-enabled digital television,” said Glenn Britt, chairman of CableLabs and chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable, which is testing a TV-to-PC video service in San Diego.

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