How To HTPC

DIY CableCard in Any PC: How-To

image I didn’t think it would take long and I’m not disappointed.  Ben Drawbaugh of EngadgetHD fame has posted today the first (that I know of) How-to on installing a Cable Card tuner into any Vista or Windows 7 PC. 

As most of you know, just as little as three weeks ago, Cable Card tuners would only work in OEM systems which were selected by CableLabs to provide the option.  Not so anymore.  Thanks to some of the Media Center geniuses over at The Green Button, we can now all have it and without paying OEM prices.

Ben (who credits others for helping) has put together a complete how-to on how to make this a reality in your home and be able to pull premium content into Media Center.

From the article:

Recently an ingenious member of The Green Button forum figured out how to make any BIOS appear to be OCUR compliant by modifying an old utility known as VistaLoader. Basically all it does is load Grub4Dos before Windows boots and change the memory where the BIOS information is stored with the "correct" information. The cool thing about this is that it is relatively easy to uninstall and makes no changes to the actual BIOS like a firmware update would — be warned that if you have a Dell, you’ll have to reactivate Windows after installing this utility. It also appears it would be resilient to any types of checks Microsoft or CableLabs might attempt to use to prevent this from working in the future. All you have to do is download the utility from here and unzip it. Then open up a Command Prompt as an Administrator in the directory where you extracted it and execute install sony and reboot.

Ben takes time to walk you through the whole setup.  This is great for people like myself who know how to tool around inside a PC but get lost in some of the technical jargon that’s thrown around. 

As I said on the show last week, I’m more interested in waiting for the supposed Dish Network tuners that are coming but should they never show up, it’s good to know that there are people out there willing to show us all how to get some great premium content into our HTPC software of choice.

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About the author

Adam Thursby

Adam Thursby is the founder and creator of The Digital Media Zone.