September 25, 2009
| by Julie Jacobson
If you have Verizon FiOS and Windows 7, you can stream HBO, Starz and Showtime throughout the home network and even over the Internet (after installing the 1.19 firmware update for ATI Digital Cable Tuners).
That comes courtesy of Microsoft’s new support of Copy Freely (CF) a designation assigned by content providers.
Before WMC’s support of Copy Freely, you could only stream CableCard content to Media Center Extenders, not to other PCs. With Media Center, everything looked like it was copy protected, so you couldn’t even stream local news from the Media Center in the living room to the Media Center in the bedroom.
Now, any TV show or channel with the CF tag can be streamed, whether live or recorded, to other PCs.
As our Windows Media Center (WMC) guru Derek Flickinger reported yesterday, FiOS seems to be very generous with its content tagging. He has yet to find any channels within the FiOS lineup that are protected.
Even HBO, Showtime and Starz are designated Copy Freely by FiOS (until someone reads this article). That’s according to Flickinger’s analysis via the MCIA DCT Diagnostics Tool (below).
HBO over the Internet
Flickinger has yet to record a premium station for streaming, but Paul Heitlinger of S1Digital has successfully streamed FiOS HBO – not just over the home network, but over the Internet with Win 7.
To do that, you need to properly configure Windows Media Player at both the home and remote PCs to allow Internet access. Your Windows Live account associates the machines with each other.
“Then everything that is on one PC can be viewed on another, anywhere in the world,” Heitlinger says. “It’s like Slingbox built into Windows 7. You can also stream music, photos and videos.”
You won’t get HD at the receiving end because the signal is transcoded to a lower bit rate and quality.
Even so, says Heitlinger, “The picture quality was definitely watchable. If I were traveling, it would be a perfect solution for watching recorded TV in my hotel room (or at work when I need to goof off).”
Yesterday, we reported on rumors that some of the cable systems might be copy-protecting virtually all programming.
In Silicon Valley, Gordon Van Zuiden of Cybermanor says everything looks good with Comcast.
“Everything besides premium channels is Copy Freely, including movies on the regular channels,” he says. “You don’t get the movie channels, but I’m not worried – eventually those will go away.”
Paul Heitlinger is the boss, so he can watch TV while at work at S1Digital. Here he’s streaming premium content from FiOS over the Internet from his Win 7 PC at home.
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.