Will Windows 8 Media Center Support CableCARD? UPDATE: Yes

May 4, 2012 by

Thursday Microsoft provided more details about Windows Media Center in Windows 8. We’ve already discussed the multiple ways to get Media Center in Microsoft’s next OS, but there are still a lot of details from the article that we need to look at more closely. For most of us Media Center users recording and playing back television is the primary function of our home theater PC, so details about TV tuner support are critical. To that end, Microsoft stated the following:

Acquiring either the Windows 8 Media Center Pack or the Windows 8 Pro Pack gives you Media Center, including DVD playback (in Media Center, not in Media Player), broadcast TV recording and playback (DBV-T/S, ISDB-S/T, DMBH, and ATSC), and VOB file playback.

Do you notice anything missing from that list? If you’re a cable television subscriber in the United States, and this list is exhaustive, you will no longer have any way of recording cable television content on your Windows Media Center. Both ClearQAM and CableCARD are missing from the list of supported TV tuners in this article. If you’re a European customer, DVB-C (the European cable standard), is also absent from this list.

Is it possible that we’re getting worked up for nothing here? Maybe this list wasn’t meant to be exhaustive. Maybe Microsoft meant to only list over-the-air style TV tuners. The biggest cause for concern is the obvious amount of pain-staking effort Microsoft has put into carefully choosing each and every single word in the articles posted on the Building Windows 8 blog. If there is one gem of hope against that thought, it is that they misspelled one of the standards. The European standard is DVB, not DBV.

For what it’s worth, we hope we’re wrong. Many of the writers at the DMZ have, and love, CableCARD tuners. We would be very disappointed to see support dry up for them. Although, we probably wouldn’t be as disappointed as Ceton, SiliconDust, and Hauppauge.

UPDATE

On Saturday morning Microsoft posted a follow-up to their earlier article to answer some questions around DVD playback in Windows 8. We’re just going to assume that one of the last questions they answered was a direct response to us.

Will CableCard and other devices continue to work with Media Center in Windows 8?
Yes, there is no change in hardware supported between Windows 7 and Windows 8.

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  • Anonymous

    Didn’t the Ceton tuners work in the Release Preview, but took some coaxing?

    NTSC tuners weren’t mentioned as working, but they do indeed work in the Consumer preview. Such tuners have little value, and I don’t even think they are allowed to be sold anymore, but they still work. We’ll just have to see what happens with the Release Preview.

    It’s a strange thing indeed. A number of questions won’t get answers until we get our hands on final, or near-final code.

  • Anonymous

    I think it is important to note that these press releases are not explicit. They haven’t mentioned CableCARD support in Win8 desktop, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be. They also haven’t said anything about what Metro style apps will/won’t be able to do. They haven’t said Videos won’t play WTV in the final product. They haven’t said that you can’t do many other things in Metro., other than natively play DVDs and some codecs. I think there is a LOT yet to be learned about entertainment options in Metro…

    (There BETTER be, because without embracing cable TV, which will still be in charge of what we’re watching 10y from now (8K anyone?), Metro apps will face an uphill battle vs. Apple TV.

  • Anonymous

    i don’t think Metro apps will be able to play WTV files based on what we’ve learned about codec support.

  • Anonymous

    Why would a codec only work in Desktop? I thought that what we’ve learned about codecs is that they will only be available as part of the add-on, but nothing about whether or not Metro apps can use them.

  • Anonymous

    my only point was that you might still need to buy the add-on pack to use the metro apps.

  • Anonymous

    Ah! Definitely.

  • http://twitter.com/Amador_Carlos Carlos

    The answer is yes but no new features. I hate to say it but MC is dead. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/05/04/q-amp-a-dvd-playback-and-windows-media-center-in-windows-8.aspx

  • Anonymous

     Now, it is.

  • Anonymous

     Now, it is.