If you’re a DirecTV subscriber and a Media Center fan, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you: DirecTV has pulled the plug on development of its long-rumored HDPC-20 tuner.
The device was first announced at CES in January 2006, and I noticed that a driver for the device was included with build 6801 of Windows 7, which was handed out at PDC. The folks at Engadget HD even spotted some of the hardware in action at Microsoft's labs. But alas, it is not to be. Via e-mail, I just received this official statement from DirecTV Chief Technology Officer Romulo Pontual :
DIRECTV has suspended the development of the HDPC-20 tuner project that was designed to integrate DIRECTV service into Windows Media Center after assessing the impact of missing the August 2008 release of Windows Media Center update and considering timing of the next release.
Both DIRECTV and Microsoft understand the desirability of offering consumers an all encompassing DIRECTV programming solution via Windows-based PCs. We are continuing to explore ways to integrate DIRECTV service with Windows-based PCs in the future.
The HDPC-20 tuner that appears on the driver list of a pre-Beta build of Windows 7 is an artifact that was listed prior to the decision to suspend the tuner project. As our plans progress toward a Windows Media Center-compatible product, we will make an announcement at the appropriate time.
Windows 7 incorporates all the infrastructure needed to bring satellite signals from DirecTV and its competitors into Media Center. But without the necessary hardware, the two won’t be meeting anytime soon.