[mythtv-users] HDTV Question from somebody considering MythTV

George Mari george_mythusers at mari1938.org
Tue Nov 27 04:54:25 UTC 2007

Kirk Bauer wrote:
> I know this is a FAQ and I did a lot of research but for somebody who
> has never actually used MythTV it is hard to determine the best
> option.
> I currently have an HD DirecTivo (and a regular-definition DirecTivo).
>  DirecTV is moving to MPEG4 and at some point will eliminate the old
> MPEG2 HD channels.  This will leave me two choices for recording HD:
> 1) "Upgrade" to DirecTV's non-Tivo PVR
> 2) Purchase an HD Series 3 Tivo with CableCARDs from Cox
> Downside to #1 is it continues to tie me in to DirecTV and it is not a
> Tivo-brand PVR.  Downside to #2 is that Cox may be fairly expensive to
> have to pay for perhaps 4 CableCARDs, plus the number of HD channels
> is limited.
> So I wanted to once again investigate the possibility of moving to
> MythTV.  I am a long-time Linux user and have long been a fan but
> never a user of MythTV.
> So, what is the best option for getting HD content into MythTV?  I'm
> not looking for the easiest option but instead the best.  From what I
> can tell I can record OTA HD from my antenna no problem.  But what if
> I want to record other HD channels like HBO, Showtime, FX, Discovery,
> etc?
> To me the only possible option is to get one or more HD set-top boxes
> from DirecTV, control them with IR, and somehow capture the HD output.
>  I know this may not be cheap, but is it possible?  I see three
> options here:
> 1) Capturing the HDMI output -- obviously HDMI is made to avoid this
> but it seems there has to be some sort of hack for this?
> 2) Capturing the component video output -- but what resolution will a
> Satellite box output to Component outputs?  Not full HD I believe?
> 3) Using a HD Tivo to capture from CableCard and extracting that video
> into MythTV for distribution to other rooms, etc.
> Is there any good option for me here?
> Thank you!

Probably not what you wanted to hear, but don't overlook the option of 
capturing the output from your STB over S-video to a PVR-150 or similar 
SD capture card.

I recently did this, and am pleasantly surprised at the improvement.

I also use DirecTV, and recently upgraded from SD boxen, one of them a 
D10 for mythtv capture via S-video, to an H20 Hi-Def STB, still going 
through S-video to my PVR-350 for recording.

The trick is, setup the H20 (or H21) to format it's output over S-video 
in 'Stretch' mode, which squeezes the 16:9 picture horizontally into the 
  same width as 4:3 aspect ratio normally would, but instead of 
letterboxing the whole picture (ie, top and bottom black bars), the 
picture is stretched vertically to fill the frame.

Then, when playing pack on Mythtv, assuming you have a 16:9 TV/monitor, 
it gets stretched back out to the correct 16:9 aspect ratio, similar to 
the process used by anamorphic DVDs.  I guess you would call this 
wide-screen 480i.

This, along with my subjective observation that DirecTV compresses the 
signal less on the new satellites and HD STBs, results in noticeably 
better picture quality than I was getting with my D10 previously.

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