So, here’s how I envision it:
Shop for a barebones PC with the hardware specs you know will provide the best foundation for your new rig, bring it home and transplant the components (assuming that the PC is built with standard sized components – stay away from custom form factor PCs) to your enclosure of choice, and then add any additional hardware to customize it to your liking (memory, extra hard drives, RAID controller, TV tuner cards, etc.). Just make sure you use Supports Intel Viiv labeled PC components and you shouldn’t have any problems, other than invalidating your warranty with the OEM and possibly breaking the Intel Viiv/Windows Vista/CableLabs license. But hey, if you’ve gone this far, it’s really not that big of a concern to you is it?
Let’s just hope the CableLabs doesn’t get wise to this workaround and implement an even uglier hardware protection scheme to prohibit people from doing this.
Note: CableLabs requires that an OEM submit the whole PC for review before it can become certified as a “CableCARD Ready PC.” On top of that, licensing CableCARD technology for PCs is extremely expensive for most companies wanting to get certified.
UPDATE (3/3): More concrete details on Vista MCE and “Digital Cable Ready” PCs from a Microsoft VP – MUST READ.
Filed in: Entertainment PCs