Today at CES, SiliconDust announced or perhaps re-announced, their six-tuner CableCARD device. It’s called the HDHomeRun Prime 6. It requires only one CableCARD, and it can be used to watch or record any combination of six channels at the same time. This device is specifically for cable TV customers. If you’re looking for an over-the-air solution you’ll want to get their Duo, Quattro, or Extend products.
With the HDHomeRun Prime 6, you’ll be able to watch any channels that are provided by your cable company. That even includes premium channels like HBO. If your cable company requires the usage of a tuning adapter for switched digital video, then it can be plugged directly into the Prime 6’s USB port.
Many cable television providers use copy-protection on some or all of their channels. While there are HDHomeRun apps for Windows, Xbox, Android, iOS, and many other platforms, not all of them are able to watch copy-protected content. Currently, the only devices which support playback of copy-protected shows are Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox One. If you’re a subscriber of the HDHomeRun DVR it’s important to note playing back of copy-protected recordings isn’t available on any platform. That functionality will be released when the HDHomeRun Prime 6 launches.
SiliconDust told us that they are targeting a mid-year release for the HDHomePrime 6. Unfortunately, they are a company that has a history of missing release dates. Granted, those delays typically stem from down-stream suppliers, but we still won’t be holding our collective breath come this summer. It’s also worth noting that if you’ve been frustrated by the fact that a six-tuner Prime was announced three years ago, they did fill us in on what caused most of the delays. Apparently, they had issues where chip suppliers were all lined up to produce devices for them. Then those vendors got acquired, and the chips SiliconDust was depending on were scrapped. This actually happened twice during the development of this device. That alone accounted for about 18 months of the delays.
Pricing is another detail that can be difficult to get out of exhibitors at CES. Fortunately, SiliconDust told us that they plan to sell the HDHomeRun Prime 6 for $199. The current three-tuner model retails for $135, so we’re satisfied with the price of the bigger unit. Back in 2015, when the device was first announced, they said they were hoping to keep it under $150. We were surprised at the time, so we’re not surprised or too disappointed that they weren’t able to hit that aggressive price point. The three-tuner model will be coming to end-of-life, so this new device effectively replaces it.
Also worth pointing out is the size of the new device. It’s about the same size as the new Quattro tuner. The device pictured is also just a prototype. The final tuner will have a metal frame and shiny logo like their other products.
The HDHomeRun Prime 6 wasn’t the only new announcement from SiliconDust, so check back later for more news from the company.
For more discussion of this product, check out the latest episode of the Entertainment 2.0 podcast. We covered this, and many other new announcements, in our weekly entertainment technology show.