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Microsoft, CableLabs Team Up for Windows HD

Microsoft (opens in new tab) and CableLabs have reached an agreement to allow Microsoft and PC manufacturers to produce cable TV-ready Windows Media Center-based computers in time for the holiday selling season a year from now.

The Media Center PCs would be configured to support CableCard modules that would permit one-way cable programming, including HD content, on personal computers and other compliant network-connected devices such as the Microsoft Xbox 360.

Microsoft said in a joint statement it will work with CableLabs to document final approval of Windows Media Digital Rights Management as a content protection technology for so-called OpenCable products that receive one-way cable content under the terms of the agreement. The deal took about two years to reach, according to CableLabs. OpenCable architecture allows multiple DRM systems to be used in the same device to help ensure content providers of protected delivery paths without fear of copyright infringement.

Microsoft has sold about 4 million Windows XP Media Center licenses, and more than 130 PC manufacturers are currently offering Media Center PCs globally, the company reports. CableLabs said its industry now supports nearly 400 DTV models from 22 companies that can display one-way cable content via CableCards.