[mythtv-users] Answers about pcHDTV HD-3000 support in Myth, QAM support, and more

Brandon Beattie brandon+myth at linuxis.us
Tue Oct 19 15:53:04 UTC 2004

Here are some answers that questions that many people are going to be
asking/re-asking about the pcHDTV hd-3000 card, and to save confusion...

Q: Why the HD-3000 card?

A: The HD-2000 card used older components that are now obsolete.

Q: Is the HD-3000 card better?

A: You could say slightly, but not much that anyone would notice really.
The new chip has better algorithms to reduce multi-path that can cause
some signal problems, but ATSC will always be plagued with multi-path
problems because of it's design.  (And the only way to fix it is to
choose another spec, which isn't going to happen now...  Also I've found
that you'll likely never get good reception if you antenna isn't
perfectly still, so say goodbye to palm TV's and car TV's).

Q: Will the HD-3000 let me watch HD cable?

A: Shortly yes, but right now no.  pcHDTV has the micro code that is used
for decode cable signals.  This is what prevented the HD-2000 from
allowing users to watch HD cable - the HD-2000 card does support QAM,
but pcHDTV was not able to get the micro code, but this still could
happen, but don't hold your breath. -- Someone could /guess/ the micro
code but good luck because you'll need it.  

 Also, just because you can decode the HD cable does not mean you can
watch it.  You can only watch unencrypted cable.  If cable providers
decide to encrypt signals and then sell special set top boxes that know
how to decrypt that signal you'll not be able to watch it with the
HD-3000 card.  Whether your cable provider sends plan old QAM or
encrypted QAM varries greatly.  Call your cable provider to know for
sure (But be aware that the customer service person may just tell you
yes because that's what they would assume...)  Also, only some channels
could be encrypted and others may not be.

 In some markets you could have 0% encrypted, in others it could be 100%.
Nation wide it's around 70% not 30% is from people I have spoken with.

 As for when the HD-3000 card will have QAM support, my personal
guess (And it is a guess) would be 1-2 months.

Q: Does the HD-3000 have anything else new?

A: Yes, it has composite and svga video in.  The audio out for the NTSC
tuner also has an external jack and it is stereo, as the HD-2000 was
internal and only mono.

Q: How long until Myth supports the HD-3000 card?

A: How does Now sound?  I spent a few hours over at pcHDTV a couple
weeks ago to built a myth box.  I was given base fedora box with the
driver for the HD-3000 card compiled and loaded into the kernel.  I
grabbed the latest CVS of Myth and went through the setup as I do on the
HD-2000 cards and it worked right off, nothing special.

Q: What about windows drivers?

A: There are plans for windows drivers, but it will probably be a few
months before we see them.

Q: Can I use these cards after July 1st 2005?

A: Yes you can use them, they are "grandfathered" into the new
regulations.  It will always be completely legal to use them.  The card
ignores the copy right bit and if a show has this bit enabled, the
card doesn't care and will save the stream in full quality anyway.

Q: Can I get a card after July 1st 2005?

A: This becomes a very gray area.  From what I have heard, the
regulation prohibits you from SELLING devices cross STATE boundries that
do not follow the new regulations.  From what I hear, if you assemble
a HD tuner yourself, it is still legal.  I know though that the
HD-3000 card will not be sold after July 1st 2005 if the EFF and other
groups don't win the case to fight the broadcast flag.  I am 100% sure
this is not the end of HDTV in Myth or any computer, and I'm not just
refering to using firewire or usb from dish/cable boxes to get the HD
into Myth.  For the next little while I can't comment though.

If I missed a common question let me know, or feel free to contact me
off list.


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