[mythtv-users] Ideal MythTV setup?

Rod Smith mythtv at rodsbooks.com
Sat Mar 3 21:05:49 UTC 2007

On Saturday 03 March 2007 15:29, James Talvy wrote:
> I have Time Warner Cable in Staten Island NY......
> I would be quite happy with SD but perhaps I should leave my options
> open for HD in the future.
> One additional question.... If I simply connect my Coax cable into a
> tuner card will I automatically get all channels that I am permited to
> have?  My gut says no... that the cable box has a code in it.

That depends on your cable system. Try connecting a TV or VCR directly to the 
cable system. Whatever your TV or VCR displays is what you should be able to 
get with a MythTV system plugged directly into the cable. (Some very old TVs 
and VCRs may deliver fewer channels than a MythTV system could get, though.) 
In most cases, this includes all the unscrambled analog channels but not the 
digital or scrambled channels. Digital channels are usually advertized as 
being part of the digital tier. Scrambled analog channels are usually limited 
to extra-cost channels -- Showtime, HBO, PPV, etc. Details do differ from one 
system to another, though.

Also, if you get a digital tuner card, you may be able to receive some of your 
digital tier -- usually just your digital (HD and perhaps some other) locals, 
but in some rare cases other channels. Basically, cable companies usually 
send some or all of their digital channels in encrypted form and others in 
unencrypted form, and you can receive the unencrypted ones.

MythTV can control a cable box, so depending on how you wire things, you may 
be able to record digital and/or scrambled channels with MythTV if you rent a 
cable box.

> As for my budget..... I can afford a new computer if I had to but I may
> have access to a used 2ghz HP desktop.

A 2GHz system should be adequate for SD, particularly if you use an encoding 
card that does MPEG-2 encoding in hardware. If you use a frame grabber (aka a 
software encoding card), 2GHz will probably be adequate for encoding, and 
perhaps even simultaneous playback of one channel OR encoding of two 
channels. If you want more than one tuner, though, you'd be well advised to 
either use hardware encoding devices or upgrade the CPU.

For HD, a 2GHz CPU will be marginal at best and may not work well enough. To 
work at all, you'll need a video card that supports XvMC, which is hardware 
acceleration for MPEG-2 playback. This will take off some of the CPU load -- 
MAYBE enough to let a 2GHz CPU manage the task, if you're lucky.

Rod Smith

More information about the mythtv-users mailing list