At last, the CableCARD tuner has been liberated

Mike Garcen at Missing Remote just noticed that the long-awaited ATI CableCARD tuner update is finally available. I have two CableCARD-tuner-equipped systems here, one of which checked Windows Update this morning at 10:27 and found nothing. But when I checked manually just now, here’s what I found:


On my system, the firmware update completed without incident. I’ll be recording some shows tonight and checking to see whether the DRM rules really have been relaxed.

Update: Strangely, when you finish installing the update you are not told to restart the computer. But as I discovered through trial and error, the actual firmware installation doesn’t take place until you restart. After you log in following the restart, you’ll see the firmware being downloaded and installed to each attached ATI tuner. Still no sign of the Microsoft update tool in the Extras Gallery, though.

There’s also a tool available from Microsoft that reportedly allows you to attach a CableCARD tuner to any PC with sufficient horsepower without having to hassle with a special BIOS or activation. According to Mike’s report, the tool should show up in the Media Center Extras Gallery. I’m not seeing it here yet, unfortunately.

Missing Remote has a nice set of screenshots showing the Microsoft Digital Cable Advisor Tool in action. I’ll be calling my friendly local Comcast rep and scheduling a truck roll at the earliest opportunity so I can move those tuners to the small-form-factor PC in the living room and get the full Media Center experience on a big-screen TV instead of using an extender.

Ironically, just yesterday I sent a note to Edelman, Microsoft’s PR agency, asking when we could expect these components to arrive, I still haven’t heard back from them. Harrumph.