[mythtv-users] Beginner - Practical HDTV and Comcast Questions
jakep_82 at hotmail.com
Mon Jan 8 22:24:34 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.
Correct, you can easily do all of this.
>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.
You can get HD capable cable boxes. They have DVI, HDMI, or component
>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.
It varies by area but generally you'll only get local broadcast stations. I
have Comcast and I get the usual ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS and CW. Everything
else is encrypted and is only viewable with a cable box or a cablecard.
>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?
XvMC support is much better now which can make HD a little easier on the
hardware. I still prefer not to use it, but generally it's just because I
can't get a color OSD with XvMC. My Athlon 64 3200 handles HD easily with
As for whether it's worth it, that's personal opinon. You can probably
build a decent HD capable 2 tuner system with a 400GB hard drive (good for
at least 40 hours of HD recordings) for $600-700. To me that's completely
worth the cost. Others may disagree.
>Any advice and experiences would be greatly appreciated. What channels
>can I expect to receive? Analog or Digital, STD or HDTV?
Figure on 2-71 analog and local broadcast channels in HD. Generally
everything else is encrypted.
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