Eager to watch premium and digital cable programming on your home or office computer? Well, Microsoft and CableLabs brought that golden moment a lot closer earlier today when they announced a deal to bring non-analog cable programming straight to the PC, starting next fall.
The historic deal will allow future users of computers equipped with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center operating system to view premium, digital and HDTV programming without cable set-top boxes. Like today's early digital-cable-ready TV sets, which also don't need separate set-top boxes, the next-generation Media Center PCs will just require removable CableCARD security modules to show the programs.
Microsoft and CableLabs executives said the pact will enable computer manufacturers to produce digital-cable-ready PCs in time for next fall's holiday shopping season. Citing strong market demand, Microsoft officials, who have sold more than 4 million Media Center software licenses, said they have already started talking to their major computer hardware vendors about incorporating the cable-ready features into their new PCs.