Microsoft Backs HDTV

Microsoft announced last week that the company has an agreement with CableLabs that lets Microsoft and personal computer companies create Media Center PCs that will be digital-cable-ready (DCR). The systems will accept CableCARDs, which is intended to let devices connect directly to digital cable television service and eliminate the need for a separate set-top box. Microsoft wants to let the Media Center PC distribute the video content across a home network to compliant devices, including the company’s new Xbox 360 game console.

First the Xbox 360, and now this; looks like Microsoft is poised to make a serious play for the home entertainment market. It makes a lot of sense, as there is a lot of growth ahead in the whole area of HDTV and digital TV, and Microsoft is pretty good at moving data around between devices, so it could be a good match.

Microsoft reports that more than 4 million Windows Media Center Edition licenses have been sold so far. I remain unconvinced that the PC will become the hub of home entertainment, but the advantages of distributing data over wired and wireless home networks are certainly appealing, and it is still possible that Microsoft’s vision of the new world of entertainment will catch on with consumers.