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.
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.