[mythtv-users] Beginner - Practical HDTV and Comcast Questions

Greg Kettmann greg at kettmann.com
Mon Jan 8 22:02:48 UTC 2007

I have a TiVo (DirecTiVo) which is several years old.  It has a few 
hacks but nothing major.  I've been watching these posts for several 
months but need some practical advice and experience.  I am interested 
in MythTV using Comcast as my providor.  We have virtually no Over the 
Air signals where I live and so don't even own a TV antenna.  

First.  my "must have" features (from TiVo)
    1)  Season Pass (record all "new" instances of a particular program)
    2)  Program Extract (standard VCR functionality of recording a show 
to removable media)
    3)  Web Control (a web interface)
    4)  Ease of use (it's an appliance)

Previous posts suggest that none of this will be a problem. 

Now the real problem, caused by the cable companies and the changing 
video formats.  There seem to be two main decision points.  Analog or 
Digital and Standard or HDTV.  These questions are specific to Comcast 
although they should be the same for any cable company.  

My TV is capable of 1080i and if I'm going to "upgrade" then I'd 
probably like to enable HDTV.  I really dislike the "cable boxes".  I 
believe that means I'm watching only analog signals and certainly no HDTV. 

If I get one of the "listed" HD tuners will I get all of the Comcast 
HDTV content or only the "local" stations which they are passing 
through?  I'm very confused about which stations I can and can't pick up 
and in which quality.  For that matter someday I think they're going to 
discontinue analog.  What will be the impact to PVR's at that point?  I 
don't want to even think about the broadcast flag. 

Who'd have ever thought they'd make it so darned hard just to pick up TV 
signals (with commercials).  I guess fair use is about dead, but I 

One disadvantage of the HDTV cards is that they have no on card 
compression.  HDTV is apparently digital already and so is already 
MPEG-2 encoded, thus there is no need for on card encoding.  What about 
all of the "standard" channels?  Can the HDTV cards do analog and 
digital (or is it even needed based on the questions above)?  Also, HDTV 
playback apparently requires a rather substantial machine, not just some 
old junker lying around, so, is it worth it?

Any advice and experiences would be greatly appreciated.  What channels 
can I expect to receive?  Analog or Digital, STD or HDTV? 

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