CableCARD

I’ve just setup a production DSM-750 Medialounge Media Center Extender. This new extender streams everything over Wireless 802.11n Draft 2.0 (using a DGL-4500 in 5GHz mode) including High Definition Live and Recorded TV from a Vista Ultimate x64 box with two DCT (OCUR) tuners.

Some unboxing and setup images can be found at one of my websites.

Out of the box, the DSM-750 blows the dinky Linksys DMA 2100 out of the water. Solid construction and a nice looking peripheral that doesn’t look like cheap plastic in my living room. The DMA 2100 has no optical SPDIF (RCA flavor digital SPDIF only) and worse, does not see Atheros based 802.11 Draft 2.0 N SSID’s and probably some other brands. The DMA 2100 only has two antennae. D-Link has all the ports and three antennae, which really helps with wireless connectivity .

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D-Link integrates network setup with Extender setup and it is a real easy task to get up and running. While I admit to having had experience with a beta engineering sample, the engineering sample was wired only without the 802.11n dual band capability. I was really impressed with how well it worked and how integrated it was. D-Link has tons of experience with something like 6-7 previous versions in the Medialounge wireless media player line. This experience shows.

The Linksys takes forever to connect to the host Vista machine while the D-Link connects seamlessly and far more rapidly.

In my opinion, if you have a choice between the Linksys DMA 2100 and the D-Link DSM-750, the D-Link is well worth the wait. Linksys was first to market, but the race is not always to the swiftest.

Microsoft has published my column on Vista computers and devices that all work together transparently on my home network.


I’ve been waiting for a consumer priced OCUR/DCT for Vista MCE CableCards to point people at who want the High Definition experience from US Cable Companies at a low price. This isn’t a multi purpose screaming gaming machine/video production machine like the much higher end Velocity Micro machine I use here, but it appears to offer all the pieces necessary for the High Def experience. I don’t see any option to order dual DCTs, which is the one drawback.

I priced a machine today, to see if the $$ were more reasonable than the Dell $1700+ for a friend. I was pleased to see that the price is now under $1300. No monitor included. You can beef this up when you customize. No option for no installed crapware though (unlike Dell who doesn’t force you to take Norton, etc.)

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I’m still very happy with My Velocity Micro Home Theater dual OCUR machine. And I still recommend this one to anyone who asks about Media Center High Def support.

Alienware is apparently entering the market on the super high end side with a dual OCUR machine. Cost unknown. Here’s a quote from Cedia News:

Shortly, Alienware will be delivering a higher-end Media Center product with CableCard capabilities and other premium features that are best sold through specialists.

The product has yet to be named but we know it will come standard with four swappable hard drive bays for up to 4 TB off storage. A Blu-ray option will be available, as well as an option for distributing audio to four separate zones.

“You could put it in a party mode where all rooms get the same audio,” says Kaminski.

The high-end Media Center will accommodate two CableCards via internal receivers.”

This looks to be an enhancement to the Hangar 18 HD computer, based on the AMD Live platform.

More info is here

 

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