ATI today announced a preview of a HD digital cable PC receiver.
Available later this year, the ATI OCUR (open cable uni-directional receiver) product will allow Media Center PCs that run on the forthcoming Microsoft Windows Vista operating system, to receive High Definition premium digital cable TV content on the PC. The new device will also offer traditional analog TV and free-to-air HD broadcast reception to the PC. ATI demonstrated this new technology at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 5 to 8, 2006.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, almost 68 per cent of the North America market is served by cable operators, and now these end users will be able to access premium content. This new OCUR product is designed to support any cable television system in North America on the PC.
ATI will launch both an external and an internal version of the OCUR device. Consumers should just connect a coaxial cable to the front of the OCUR, plug in their CableCard and run a USB cable from the back of the unit to the Windows Vista PC. The device is recognized by the PC as a tuner, but it is able to tune all channels - analog channels as well as premium HD content. Note that the tuner only supports CableCard 1.0, but with Vista you'll have your own EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) so you really only lose out on on-demand and pay-per-view functionality. The content is protected by Windows Vista's DRM, but it is allowed to be shared throughout a network or the Xbox 360 game console.
"We're working with Microsoft and other industry leaders to drive Media Center PCs to be more intuitive, powerful and robust than standalone consumer electronics devices," said Godfrey Cheng, directory of marketing, multimedia business unit, ATI Technologies Inc. "The forthcoming OCUR PC receiver is powered by ATI's Avivo technologies which means that not only will the Media Center PC have a new level of functionality but also the highest available video quality. ATI is proud to work with Microsoft to demonstrate this new OCUR PC receiver for a new era of media PCs."