Richard Lawler from Engadget HD noticed in the wee hours of the morning that Silicon Dust’s CableCARD tuner, the HDHomeRun Prime, has received the blessing of CableLabs. Nick K, from Silicondust announced in their forums that the HDHomeRun Prime is certified. The last time Silicondust updated us on their status they said that the Prime would ship within 30 days of accepting pre-orders. Amazon put up a pre-order page earlier today, but then later in the day removed the ability to actually pre-order the Prime.
Silicondust also said that they will be releasing a 6-tuner Theater version before releasing the CableCARD-enabled Prime. We presume the Theater to be the 6-tuner version of their current ATSC/ClearQAM offering that was discussed at CES this year. Silicondust did not offer a price or release date for the Theater. As they stated in November, a pre-order date for the Prime won’t be announced until after production has begun. With CableLabs certification finally in hand for the HDHR3-CC we can only assume that production will be ramping up very soon.
When Amazon preemptively put up a pre-order page for the Prime the price was listed at $207. This is a price that doesn’t line up with what Silicondust has been saying though. For months they have been saying it would launch at $250. While that’s more than the price Amazon initially displayed, it is still less per tuner than Ceton’s InfiniTV 4 which is now available on Amazon for $399. The HDHomeRun Prime has one less tuner than the InfiniTV 4, but it is also a network-based tuner right out of the box. While Ceton has been working on providing network tuner sharing for their product, that functionality has been in beta since October.
There are now two primary questions remaining: when will the HDHomeRun Prime be made available, and what will be Ceton’s response? It seems almost inevitable that Ceton will drop the price of the InfiniTV 4 to make it more competitive with the Prime. Will they also release the network tuner sharing functionality along with it though? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure though: increased competition in the CableCARD tuner space can only be a good thing for the consumers.