[mythtv-users] More Beginner Questions

Greg Kettmann greg at kettmann.com
Sun Jan 21 20:17:35 UTC 2007

Well, I've spent many hours reading and there are still times when I 
think I get more confused instead of less.  It's a little disconcerting 
the direction of the cable companies, etc.  All I want to do is time 
shift my favorite shows, like we've done for years since the advent of 
the VCR.  Oh well.

In a previous post I indicated I'm interested in HDTV since I don't 
currently have that functionality (with my DirecTiVo).  The comments, 
plus further reading, indicate that this probably isn't a great starting 
point.  One of the major reasons for that would be the lack of an HDTV / 
Analog card.  Since I need to buy an analog card anyway I should 
probably start there and then build up.  I just want to keep in mind 
where I'd like to end up and not buy components which are not sufficient 
for the final vision.  So, for example, I'll start with a system with 
enough horsepower to output/decode an HD stream. 

I have Comcast (I don't intend to use MythTV with DirecTV).  I think I 
understand the tuner cards and will probably get a Hauppauge card.  They 
are Linux friendly, have on board MPEG encode (and decode) and seem 
reasonably priced. 

That leaves me with three question areas:

1)  Digital TV.  It seems that, other than resolution, there is little 
difference between HDTV and Digital TV.  That is, if I go to buy a 
"digital" tuner it will likely just be an HDTV tuner.  Since the signal 
is digital there is no need for MPEG-2 encoding.  Then the only issue is 
the source of the signal.  For me that is Comcast and that would be 
DVB-C (cable) and the signals would be QAM.  Most digital channels would 
be encrypted and not viewable.  Those available OTA would not be 
encrypted and I can get the digital signals which could be in many 
resolutions including up to HD (1080i).  There also seems to be an 
ability to control, and get signal from, some set top boxes.  However, I 
don't currently have a Comcast set top box and so I don't much care 
about this option (yet). 

2)  TV-out - Keep in mind that I'd eventually like HD.  My TV is capable 
of this.  The Hauppauge PVR-350 does composite out but I suspect it's 
the standard RGB and I think HD requires YPbPr.  Is this correct?  I 
believe my TV will take either.  If the PVR-350 won't work then it looks 
like an NVidia card should be considered, however, although they list 
"composite" output I don't find any definitions of the RBG / YPbPr 
aspect.  Do I have something wrong?  The only writeup I've seen on HD 
output used a device (for a bit over $100) that converted a standard VGA 
type monitor jack into a composite/YPbPr signal.  I'd prefer something 
on a card.  The obvious issue is how to I connect the MythTV box to the 
television at the desired resolutions and it's still unclear how to do 

3)  Infrared - Again the PVR-350 solves this.  I have no idea what to do 
if it's not on the card.  This is the Infrared pickup for a remote.  
Reading has suggested to get a universal remote but it appears I need to 
get a tuner card that includes a remote so that I can get the IR 
pickup.  I presume I just toss the included remote (along with a half 
dozen others :-)  ). 

Thank you for any clarifications.  GGK

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