[mythtv-users] Preparing for HDTV in 2005

Brandon Beattie brandon+myth at linuxis.us
Tue Aug 17 16:38:09 EDT 2004

On Mon, Aug 16, 2004 at 06:35:44PM -0400, Michael Hartman wrote:
> > So does anyone know of a solution for non-broadcast hdtv?  Granted, in
> > seattle we get a number of nice hdtv stations over broadcast, but I
> > rarely watch anything on them.  Might be worth paying extra for an HD
> > box from Dish if I could record from it.

I don't mean to make anyone upset, but HD Dish Tivo is the only sub 1-2 
year way, if ever.  We can dream about hardware DVI encoders for up to
1080i but they will all be illegal.  The July 1st HD copy protection, DRM,
and DCMA make it so the media industry at a moments notice can change
any sold or selling consumer electronic devices' status on being legal.
If someone finds a way to get the data over USB, Firewire, DVI, or
anything in an "un-authorized" way the HD copy protection laws allow the
media insdustry to simply submit a notice to the FCC about a "change"
and that is all it takes to end you from doing what you want, without
having to then worry about using an illegal device.  This is why the HD
copy protection laws are so bad.  

HD Tivo's are DRM certified and also include specialized hardware or
software for dealing with dish or satellite encryption, which would be
extremely rare for a HD tuner for a computer and also would be illegal.
This is why your best option may end up being an HD Tivo, as much as I
don't like it, but I also don't have the resources to fight this.  - So
I'm telling you what I see as options. :-/  Supporting EFF is a good way
though to support the fight against things like this.

Tivo is actually fighting for some things that could benefit us, such as
getting permission to send shows to a select list of friends.  If this
applies for HD, it could contradict the HD copy protection, unless it
will only be allowed through a network that supports DRM.

Also to note,

I'm not sure the status on the following, but I know the MPAA was trying
to get a mandate passed that required all HD equipment to auto-check for
connections to blacklisted equipment and if connected to one it is to
shut down output.  This is unfair, but the MPAA can buy that monopoly.  

The other great read is on the MPAA trying to make all Analog to Digital
converters require supporting DRM.  This is obsurd, but it's our movie
ticket prices at work.  I personally like the jokes about copy
protecting earthquake signals or not being able to record a birthday in
a park because some kid drives by in a car blasting his Copyrighted music,
or hearing aids going quiet because of copyrighted speaches or phrases.

> You can rule out recording from the component/S-video ports. Doing MPEG2
> HD encoding real-time in a consumer device is not really feasible at
> this time. Besides, even if you could do real time encoding, you would
> not really want to since the quality of the re-encoded stream would be
> sub-par. 

They're about $30k for encoders.  DVI would not be bad, but you are
re-encoding from a lossy format, but I doubt you would notice any change

> One solution would be to have the set-top box output the un-modulated
> MPEG2 data somehow. How would it do this? Firewire. In fact, the FCC has
> mandated that all set-top boxes made after April 2004 include firewire
> ports. However, cable and satellite companies are required by content
> providers (Viacom, Sony, Paramount, etc) to encrypt the output. They
> don't want their premium content in the clear. Instead of doing
> something us consumers could use, like transmit non premium
> channels/content in the clear, they will do the simple thing and encrypt
> it all. 

I answered this out of order, so it's above.

> Mostly hardware companies are just putting firewire ports on their stuff
> to make the FCC happy. I would imagine that getting your new HD plasma
> TV to work with your HD dish box via the firewire port would be an
> exercise in futility. 
> BTW - does anyone know if any of the VIA EIPA mini-itx boards can do
> real time HD mpeg2 decoding? 

Not yet, they're working on it though.  I think within 6months to a year
we will see this.


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