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.