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Two AMD TV Wonder DCTs (upper right) give the Velocity Micro CineMagix the first PCs with CableCARD support
The first batch of CableCARD-ready, high-end Media Center PCs is ready

Earlier this week Velocity Micro spread word that the company was approaching the final stages in readying the CableCARD-ready CineMagix Grand Theater and CineMagix Pro Cinema systems. 

At the Consumer Electronics Show last January, AMD took the veil off its Open Cable Unidirectional Receiver -- the TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner.   The TV Wonder DCT is the first of its kind, giving PCs the ability to tune NTSC, ATSC over-the-air, QAM encrypted ATSC and CableCARD support.

Velocity Micro will be the first PC vendor to bring the new TV Wonder DCT to the masses. The company is in the final stages of production and is already taking orders.

Unlike the original batches of ATI TV Wonder 650, Velocity claims the AMD TV Wonder DCT is stable and ready to go.  "The card itself seems to be a really solid product," said Velocity Micro Director of Product Development Chris Morley.  "The drivers are all inside Vista ... You can configure it as an over the air HD tuner; it will do analog, standard def."

Microsoft has already made it abundantly clear that CableCARD support is only for OEMs and system builders -- do not expect AMD OCUR cards to show up on eBay in the near future. Even with the hardware, systems require BIOS-level support and authentication; CableCARD PCs constantly ping CableLabs for authentication.

Drawing support from manufactures, Microsoft and AMD/ATI is no easy task either. Dell and HP demonstrated AMD TV Wonder Digital Cable PCs earlier this year, but corporate representatives from both companies stated these will likely be Q3 2007 products.

"Some of the traditional players in this space are looking to us to OEM these systems for them," said Morley. 

The focal point of the new CineMagix systems is the digital cable tuners, though the systems will also boast features not found on any other systems yet.  Blu-ray support for CineMagix systems is already available, but Velocity Micro is also the first system builder to include support for Vista's MCE plug-in support for PowerDVD.

Velocity's site claims its Intel-based Grand Theater systems will ship before mid-April followed shortly thereafter by the AMD-based Grand Theater systems.  AMD systems start at $1,795 and Intel systems start at $2,195.

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RE: Pricks
By Mitch101 on 3/20/2007 3:09:37 PM , Rating: 2
For real everyone should just try an ANTENNA. I know it sound barbarian but I get all the local channels in HD as well as 2 other cities in HD. Some as far away as 180 miles comes in on a clear day.

When it rains really hard I can only get my local city HD channels. No biggie.

The funny part is my local cable company wants to charge something like $15.00 for HD and rent me a HD Cable Box and to top it off they dont carry all the locals in HD. Yet I can get them with an antenna. Crooks.

My Antenna is in my Attic so there is no ugly antenna sticking out and it cost me around $60.00. I live 23-28 miles from most of the HD broadcasts in my area. My signals are in the upper 90's and low 80's on a rainy day.

Go to and anything within 20 miles is easily picked up with an indoor antenna. 30+ miles I recommend something a little better. Preferably a Wineguard DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM TERK ITS JUST PRETTY JUNK.

You can always return the Antenna but just try it. Be sure to have a DIGITAL TUNER its not like that analog tin foil hat days with snowy pictures. You either get a PERFECT PICTURE or Nothing.

RE: Pricks
By walk2k on 3/20/2007 7:08:24 PM , Rating: 2
Besides the fact that many people don't get crap for ATSC reception... You can't get ESPN, TNT, HBO, etc..etc.. all the cable channels which is the whole point of CableCard.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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