There hasn't been much good news on the retail CableCARD front lately, or in fact much news of any kind. But Ceton Corp. may be upping the technology's profile again with its new InfiniTV 6 product line of CableCARD devices.
Ceton has launched two new products that build on its TV-tuning hardware for Windows Media Center PCs. The InfiniTV 6 ETH connects to a consumer home network via Ethernet, while the InfiniTV 6 PCIe plugs directly into a user's computer through the PCI Express slot. Both products include six QAM tuners for watching and recording up to six TV shows at once.
The consumer audience for Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media Center application is limited. Plus, it's unclear how long the company will continue to support the software given its other TV priorities. (See Microsoft Eyes OTT Set-Top.)
However, Ceton has made the most of the platform with its hardware options for streaming and recording TV shows not only to PCs, but also to TVs via media extenders. (See Ceton Pitches Cable Set-Top Alternative and TiVo Stays on a Tier 2 Tear.)
Through the use of CableCARDs, Ceton is offering some of the very few retail products that give consumers a degree of independent, multi-screen control over cable TV viewing and video recording. Most multi-screen video streaming options that feature cable content today are delivered over the Web, and are driven by the cable operators themselves or by the programming networks.
TiVo Inc.'s retail products continue to be the primary exception to that rule.
Ceton had planned to launch a full-fledged retail DVR in 2012. But those plans were put on hold in the light of Media Center's uncertain future.
The new InfiniTV 6 ETH is available online now for a suggested retail price of US$299. The InfiniTV 6 PCIe is expected to go on sale in June for the same amount.
— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable