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Microsoft Addresses CableCARD SDV Issue

Today Microsoft made public their intensions to support Switched Digital Video (SDV) within Windows Media Center.  While details are limited, Charlie Nilsson, Program Manager for the NetOps TV Team at Microsoft posted on The Green Button about the issue.

Charlie says “We [Microsoft] are working to enable support for the CableLabs SDV Tuning Adaptor for Windows Media Center Digital Cable Tuners, ensuring that Windows Media Center users will be able to access switched content.”

As I’ve said many times the current Tuning Adaptor specs offers no way for Microsoft to cleanly support SDV without new CableCARD tuners that offer the correct USB port configuration.  Some (mainly Ben at EngadgetHD) have argued that Microsoft can just use a USB port on the PC to accomplish this, however without CableLabs changing the specs it cannot happen.

Given Microsoft’s plans for Tuning Adaptor support are still in their infancy, I wouldn’t expect much else to come for several months.  This issue will require a few changes including a software update for Media Center, a specification rewrite from CableLabs, and possibly new CableCARD Tuners if CableLabs isn’t redoing the specs for such a solution.

Maybe, just maybe I'll be wrong about this and everyone can have working SDV within Media Center!  Being wrong isn't so bad when good comes out of it.

Published Wed, Sep 3 2008 16:05 by chrisl


# re: Microsoft Addresses CableCARD SDV Issue

The sooner the better for those in need, but I'm not sure why you think the spec needs changed when CableLabs commented and said the spec doesn't prevent anyone from implementing it with OCURs.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008 4:31 PM by Ben Drawbaugh

# re: Microsoft Addresses CableCARD SDV Issue

It's good news that MS is aware of and working on the problem. As for specs on type of USB connectors for the Tuning Adapter, it wouldn't be the first revision CableLabs issued if they make a change. After all the spec was written when there was only the TIVO unit to support and a change in the connector type wouldn't be much of a change.

Let's hope that we get a revision on the DRM situation along with the SDV Tuning Adapter.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008 4:37 PM by John Whittle

# re: Microsoft Addresses CableCARD SDV Issue

Ben, looking at the specs I'd love for you to explain how it would work based on those specs.  You can't say how you would do it, but based on the specs how can it be done?  Specs are there for a reason, and unless the specs detail the method of communication for every given device it simply will not work.

The spec might not "prevent" OCURs from working, but it doesn't allow them to work either.  The specs have to reference the fact that the TA would be connected to an HMS instead of UDCP.  They don't currently, so I'd love to know how your idea works given the specs.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008 4:59 PM by chrisl

# Vista Media Center to Support SDV (But how?)

Pingback from  Vista Media Center to Support SDV (But how?)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008 5:46 PM by Vista Media Center to Support SDV (But how?)

# re: Microsoft Addresses CableCARD SDV Issue

Somehow, I doubt it'll (SDV) ever be compatible with Vista.  Maybe Windows 7...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008 6:02 PM by Brad

# Update on Switched Digital Video and Digital Cable Tuners

On The Green Button Charlie Nilsson, Program Manager on the eHome team at Microsoft explained that Microsoft

Thursday, September 04, 2008 3:10 AM by Ian Dixon's Blog

# re: Microsoft Addresses CableCARD SDV Issue

If you take in to consideration that, functionally, OCUR + HMS = UDCP (or at least very close) then it would make sense that no re-write of the SDV spec is necessary.  Of course that requires a bit of interpretation as I haven't come across any spec that explicitly states this.  Wishful thinking I suppose...

Thursday, September 04, 2008 1:50 PM by Nino