DISH Network Streams Towards Microsoft

Dave Zatz —  November 25, 2008 — 10 Comments

I’d originally chalked yesterday up as a blogging loss. However, while waiting out a variety of software installs (on my new 13″ MacBook, running OS X and Vista Ultimate), I had a chance to catch up on my reading and came across a few interesting and overlooked nuggets. EngadgetHD visited the Microsoft eHome labs last week and covered the DirecTV HDPC-20(s) in action on Windows 7. Since the spring, I’ve heard (and sometimes overheard) from several sources that DISH Network would also be coming to the Microsoft Media Center experience. However, the info was often contradictory and muddled. On one hand, it sounded like we’d have LAN streaming from an existing DISH Network box (the VIP211?). On the other, I’ve suspected we’d also ultimately see new tuner hardware – similar to the DirecTV solution.

The pictures EHD snapped hold a few secrets and perhaps answers… Above, you can see “TV with DISH Network” running on an Xbox acting as a Media Center extender. While it’s not clear where the television content is coming from (existing DISH STB or new tuner?) the image obviously confirms the whispers. Another notable picture (below) shows a variety of hardware. Although I recognize three of the boxes (Linksys and HP extenders, plus a HDPC-20), I’m not familiar with that white unit above them… sitting next to a PC labeled DVB-S, which happens to be DISH’s modulation standard. So would it be a stretch to tie an unidentified box (on top of one satellite tuner) to the labeled PC next to it – as in: Is that an unannounced DISH Network Windows tuner? Although, it also looks like it could just be a piece of random networking gear that I haven’t come across before. Any insiders want to clarify?

10 responses to DISH Network Streams Towards Microsoft

  1. I asked Ben about the same white STB, because that is my thought too. DVB-S is also DIRECTV (DVB-S2 for MPEG-4 stuff), so that doesn’t mean too much. I’ve got another screenshot that might add some more fire to the picture. :)

  2. Dang, well I need you to update Wikipedia for us to reflect that. ;) Let us know when your pic is up! After Ed Bott posted the Windows 7 DirecTV tuner driver, I asked him to look for a DISH one. He didn’t find anything… but maybe you did? Also, I feel like reiterating that some of the stuff I’ve heard has been somewhat odd… Media Center would playback DISH STB content, but not record it?

  3. Hadn’t heard the “would play back but not record it” thing. That would really be a deal-breaker if true Dave.

  4. I may have misunderstood or the people may have been misinformed, but I think that would be specific to streaming from an existing DISH STB. I assume a dedicated tuner would act as a dedicated tuner should.

  5. Ahh project “Stargate” makes it first appearance. It’s been hard for me to keep this one quiet. :)

    With that said, it may still be awhile before the public is able to use this, and at the moment the PC requirements are very demanding.

  6. This is interesting. Ability to either stream from an existing DVR or record locally from a tuner would be cool.

    The main screenshot reminds me of something though — why can’t Microsoft get the team that came up with NXE to make the new Media Center interface. I always found VMC pretty decent (beats Sage), but NXE is way better! :)

  7. So what about better digital cable support?

    We have FiOS and it’s great. The DVR works well and the picture is crystal clear. But I would love to have the content routed through Media Center instead. Right now, that’s almost impossible without buying a $1000-$2000 Dell XPS 420 or the like.

    I’d consider DirecTV, especially if Verizon keeps upping their cable rates, but I’m not sure if we could get good satellite reception because of the tree cover in our neighborbhood.

  8. Joel,
    Your only non-CableCard solution at the moment is the Hauppauge HD-PVR, of course Microsoft’s Media Center doesn’t support it or the H.264 format it records in. I think the HD-PVR will work eventually in Windows 7 though.

    For now you would need to go with SageTV, BeyondTV, GBPVR, Media Portal, or MythTV to get the HD-PVR to work…

  9. Well the DirecTV tuner development has now been officially suspended. :(

  10. NO NEWS Will WE EVER be able to Watch and Record Dish to our pc’s???

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