Read into it what you will but DirecTV has suspended the development of the highly sought after HDPC-20 tuner. To read more, head on over to Chris Lanier’s blog or Gearlog. Here’s the release that DirecTV sent out:

“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.”

I know some users are going to be jumping ship from Media Center because of this. Many avid users over on The Green Button have been anxiously awaiting this tuner’s arrival for quite some time (including myself for a while) and this might just be that last straw that makes them bid farewell to Media Center. I hope it doesn’t because Media Center is a great piece of software but at the same time, I completely understand the frustration.

After all, we’re talking about a tuner that was originally announce in January of 2006…nearly 3 years ago. I know it can take a while to develop new technology but 3 years?!?! And now to hear that they are ’suspending’ the development is just a shame. It appears as though there are some huge flaws that they just can’t see fixing or figuring out before the Windows 7 release.

While this news comes as a HUGE disappointment to many Media Center fans, I hope it makes them at least take a longer look at a CableCARD system. I also hope that when they say they are suspending the development that doesn’t really mean they are cancelling it altogether. It’s taken an extremely long time to develop this tuner but it would still be highly sought after at any point I’m sure.