First DIRECTV Tuner Details?
and even Sky TV support appear to be picking up speed. Like many of you,
I’ve been awaiting
the DIRECTV tuner for Media Center since it
was announced. Microsoft and DIRECTV have been quiet on the subject
which has made it hard to find out any details on the upcoming product.
for us, Microsoft happens to be looking for a few employees to work near the
project. Feel free to apply, but for the rest of us who just want the
shipping product here are the first small tidbits of information.
to the job
posting, Microsoft is working with newly developed dual satellite
tuners. Among the basic features will be Pay-Per-View (PPV) access and
H.264 HD. These features aren’t that exciting if you understand how
satellite works; you must have two-way communications for it to function so you
are not going to run into the one-way OCUR issue and DIRECTV has moved to H.264
for all new HD. That said, it is now confirmed that it will support both.
addition, DIRECTV support in Media Center appears to support in-band EPG
data. Instead of using Internet-based EPG listings, it looks as if Media
Center will use the EPG data currently delivered by satellite. This is
important for several reasons, but among the top is more accurate data
delivered whenever needed.
second posting, Microsoft states that they working with satellite TV
providers in both the US and in Europe, which could just mean Sky TV users will
have something to look forward to next year as well.
of these details are not earth shattering, but they do reinforce some
points. First is that the Xbox 360 Extender will have to get a codec
upgrade for H.264 in the future. Currently only the Dashboard supports
H.264, so except an upgrade before the DIRECTV tuner ships. Second, I
personally never thought about the technical side of this product as the
details are not there. However, now that I see things like PPV and
in-band EPG I can see why it might be taking so long. Just tuning and
decrypting the video is one thing, but if these details are right Microsoft
taking the in-band services and developing them within Media Center is a huge
tuners will only come with or shortly after a new Media
Center release. We still don’t have official information from
Microsoft on the Media Center update or Satellite tuner cards, but hopefully
CES will bring something new this year.