One of the biggest gripes with CableCARD tuners for the PC was that, in order to get one, you had to buy a specially-built HTPC from a major manufacturer and have it configured at the time of purchase. You could never add one in later on. Now that’s all changed. At the CEDIA expo recently the Redmond giant made waves with their promise, along with the CableCARD group, to allow anyone to install a CableCARD tuner on any PC – today they made good on that promise.
A new firmware update for the ATI tuners was pushed to Windows Update earlier; this new version 1.19 allows for the copyfree setting to be used in conjunction with Windows Media Center. Copyfree allows, at the discretion of the programming originator, content to be recorded unencrypted. That means that users can transcode their recordings as necessary in order to move it onto portable devices like laptops, netbooks, phones and PMPs.
Shortly after, however, a new option appeared in the Extras gallery of Windows 7 Media Center users – a digital cable advisor tool. Users can use this to configure their system for work with the CableCARD tuners, either internal or external.