Later today I should have my hands on a Freeview HD tuner card for the Windows Media Center, the Blackgold BGT3620 is first DVB-T2 card that will work with Windows Media Center and it will bring Freeview HD’s channels to Windows Media Center for the first time.
As we speculated on the podcast a couple of months ago we thought they may be a problem with guide data and the HD channels. Basically Freeview HD have implement DRM by restricting guide data for the HD channels and then set top box manufactures can access the EPG data if they implement DRM restrictions on the HD channels. Back in 2008 Microsoft said they would support Freeview HD but since then they have been very quiet on the subject and I believe that they have not signed up to follow the DRM route so therefore Windows Media Center does not get the EPG data for the HD channels. Now Microsoft could implement the scheme at some point in the future but I think they would have to flag the content as DRM protected something which we are not used to with the standard Freeview channels. Once of the cool things about using a Zune or Windows Phone 7 device with Media Center is that from the Zune software you can right click on recorded TV file and have it copy over the TV show to your device and its a great way to take Media Center content with you on the go (Its a shame Microsoft don’t talk about this a bit more). DRM protected shows would not work with the Zune software so I do not want to see this on my HD channels.
Anyway for now there is a working around which you can read on Andrew’s blog which basically involves allocating the non-HD channel EPG guide to the HD channels and I am going to see if I can develop a small addin that automates the fix
UPDATE: I have fix for the BBC HD as well as the other channels and should have an app out next week