List of Known HD Content for MCE in Vista
Being a big MCE 2005 user, I thought I'd just piece together what I know about the various HD content sources for MCE Vista and their known states. Please feel free to add info:
1. HD via OTA (ATSC)
- Little or no change from MCE 2005
- Appear to be hacks to get it to work in Canada (thanks, Peter for the effort, haven't tried them yet)
- My rating: C-
2. HD via Cable (CableCard)
- This is limited to a US release and don't see Canadian cable companies picking up on this
- Saw the CableCard on an external device attached to a Vista machine at the Digital Life Expo (October in New York, NY). Wasn't working.
- Apparently working at the Niveus booth at EHX (November in Long Beach, CA) - but didn't see it.
- Don't see MythTV getting this anytime soon due to Cable Lab restrictions
- My rating: F
3. HD via Satellite (e.g., DirecTV)
- Planned by MS and DirecTV but apparently not in the initial Vista release
- No plan outside of US as far as public knowledge is concerned
- My rating: F
4. HD via IPTV
- Limited news on even IPTV roll-outs. About the most tangible info is I can select Telus as my provider within the EPG set-up area. Who knows what HD content will be available (probably a few on this board)
- Even if we get HD over IPTV, still need a method of tuning it. Microsoft has apparently combined the eHome group (MCE) with the TV group (IPTV) which is a positive sign, but so far MS has their own STB/technology, no sign of a Microsoft IPTV, let alone a non-MS IPTV, MCE tuner any time soon
- My rating: F
5. HD via "movie" download
- So far US has seen downloadable movies on Xbox 360 - not shareable with MCE, me thinks
- Hopefully, there will be more announcements with MCE Online Spotlight (a la Mac Mini Kaleidoscope project) with formal release of Vista (cross your fingers). If so, it would be nice to have it streamable to extenders (managed media)
- My rating: D
6. HD via "video" download
- Basically the same as 5, but not necessarily full productions/movies.
- Played back some nice WMV-HD samples from Microsoft's WMV-HD site. Would love to hear on transcoding successes/horror stories for other formats.
- No idea how HD using DivX or other format would be handled.
- I can't see good content being generated, particularly if everyones busy generating/watching YouTube/Google "copyright sensitive" flash trash.
- My rating: C (possibilities exist, but no mechanisms yet)
7. HD via physical media (e.g., Blu-Ray, HD-DVD)
- Good progress on this front. Niveus is selling with HD-DVD and claiming 1080p playback. Others are selling with Blu-Ray. XBox 360 has a good deal.
- We should even be able to rip (legally) and stream (locally) HD-DVD/Blu-Ray movies - quoting Brian Binnerup of MyMovies: "With HD-DVD and Blue-Ray we will have managed copy, and "My Movies" should be able to use this legally just as well as Kaleidescape and a lot of other companies that for sure will be doing the same thing."
- My rating: B (need to see it happen, before giving it a thumbs up)
But generally speaking, MCE Vista needs to give Canadians more reason to purchase it - cause the outlook for getting HD content on Vista MCE is pretty bleak, unless things change. Conversely, it would be great to see a Canadian content provider (e.g., cable, satellite, etc.) step up to the plate and support MCE Vista. I'm not holding my breath.
Again, any additions, corrections, etc. are welcome. Would also like to hear the comparison vs. MythTV, BeyondTV, etc. - I think they're in the same boat or worse.