Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Microsoft and CableLabs Team on HD Cable Programming for Windows PCs

Microsoft and Cable Television Laboratories (CableLabs) reached an agreement under which PC manufacturers will be able to offer digital-cable-ready Windows Media Center-based PCs in the holiday 2006 time frame.


These Media Center PCs will be equipped with a CableCARD module, allowing consumers to enjoy one-way cable programming, including premium high-definition cable content, on their personal computer and throughout the home on compliant network-connected devices, such as Xbox 360, while protecting cable operators' investments in high-value content in a digital environment.


Microsoft is working closely with CableLabs to document final approval of Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM) as a content protection technology for OpenCable products that receive one-way cable content under the terms of this agreement.


The specified OpenCable architecture allows for multiple DRM systems to be used in the device and ensures content providers of protected delivery of content to the PC. Microsoft Windows Media Digital Rights Management is the first major DRM system to complete the due diligence necessary for approval by CableLabs.


The OpenCable project will continue to play an important role as the new agreement moves forward, allowing the cable industry to work closely with the consumer electronics and IT industries to innovate rapidly on the new specifications developed by Microsoft and CableLabs.


CableLabs will host interoperability events to enable vendors working on products based on these specifications to test products in CableLabs facilities and conduct more formalized certification testing.


"This agreement is an important milestone for our customers who want access to high-definition digital cable content on their PCs and a major step toward enabling a solution for the delivery of that content," said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of the Windows eHome Division at Microsoft.


"The cable industry is very interested in having the PC serve as another means to allow consumers to enjoy cable programming," said Richard R. Green, president and CEO of CableLabs. "By working with Microsoft and the IT industry, we have come up with a solution to enable consumers to enjoy the wide range of entertainment options they want."


"This agreement carefully balances the need to preserve the flexibility of the personal computer for consumers with the need for cable operators to be confident that the hardware and software shipped with compliant Media Center PCs will function like a CableCARD-enabled digital television," said Glenn Britt, chairman of CableLabs and chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable.
http://www.opencable.com/http://www.microsoft.com

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