Niveus, Lifeware Stretch Media Center with Support for 8 CableCards, 10 Extenders
Microsoft worked with these two vendors to double Media Center's current capacity. Coming Soon: Lifeware's LMS-810 "High Density TV" server and Niveus's Pro Series n9.
For everyone else, Media Center supports only four CableCards and five Extenders (active Extenders, that is – only five can be used simultaneously).
Both Niveus and Lifeware have worked with Microsoft to enable these capabilities, which are not part of the new Media Center TV Pack or any formal Microsoft program at this time.
Lifeware’s solution, dubbed “High Density TV” is the LMS-810, which supports two internal CableCards and up to six external CableCards (via the Lifetune Server LTS-600).
Lifeware’s Lifetuner with six CableCards
Niveus, on the other hand, relies solely on external CableCard boxes. “We’ve gone completely outboard with tuners, especially because we’re expanding internationally,” says Niveus CEO Tim Cutting.
Niveus’s Pro Series n9, to be released in 2009, will be the first Niveus product to support eight CableCards, thanks to the Intel Core i7 quadcore processor that supports eight threads.
“Streaming high definition to eight zones, you can imagine why eight threads could make a difference,” Cutting says.
Who Needs That Much Capacity?
Do you really need eight digital cable feeds for a household?
Cutting says that Niveus is “seeing it a lot more in higher end installs,” which is the market that Niveus serves. “We definitely have dealers that do three to four jobs a year, and they really go big.”
That’s no surprise to Kevin Collins, a CE channel advocate at Microsoft. He was one of the judges of Microsoft’s Media Center Ultimate Install contest.
“A lot of dealers said they would have done more zones if they didn’t have a five-Extender limitation,” Collins says. “So they’re definitely asking for it.”
Smaller households, too, can find a need for all of that capacity. Lifeware CEO Seale Moorer says, “Even with a family like mine – two middle-aged adults with no children, who have a high propensity for TV – we still run into conflicts with four or five tuners.”
Without the extra capacity, Moorer adds, “you might have to revert to video switching.”
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]
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