To watch HDTV from you cable company with a Mircosoft Vista Media Center box, you will be stuck with a CableCard. The lure of using a CableCard is HDTV from your local cable company fed right into your media center. In order to to use a CableCard in Microsoft’s Vista Media Center, CableLabs will have to certify some portion of the PC though it is still unclear what the exact process will be for the OEMs. Speculation ranges that certification will be required for the entire PC to certification just for ATI’s Ocur CableCard reader.
In order for an OEM to ship a PC with CableCARD support, they will need to be actual OEM Partners with Microsoft. So much for the DIY community.
Chris Lanier has a brief overview of the controversy surrounding CableLabs certification on his blog. From his site:
So, after our year of waiting and some less then great quotes from the people leading the teams there isn’t a PC certification process (Yay!). However, you still can’t build your own PC with CableCARD support and it’s not likely you will ever be able too.
The idea of getting a whole PC certified by CableLabs seems silly and totally unnecessary.