[mythtv-users] To survive the switch to digital...

Greg Woods greg at gregandeva.net
Thu Dec 4 22:00:20 UTC 2008

On Thu, 2008-12-04 at 13:47 -0800, Nick Ellson wrote:

>  this does not mean that equipment is required to view ANY 
> broadcast channels  these will continue to be available without any 
> equipment for a minimum of 3 years from the DTV Transition cutoff date of 
> Feb 17, 2009. "

This means that at least the local broadcast stations will be available
via analog cable for 3 years. But that doesn't mean that every channel
you currently get on analog will be available on analog that long, or
that some channels you currently get in the clear won't be encrypted
when they go digital. All this says is that you will continue to get
your local broadcast channels (the ones you could receive with an
antenna) over analog cable unencrypted for 3 years.

Since they are being so cagey about it, I'd say it's likely that there
are in fact some channels that you get in the clear on analog that you
no longer will be able to get that way well before the 3 year time

> (Thu Dec 4 15:17:02 PST 2008)>If the customer has a HDTV without an ATSC/ 
> QAM tuner, then an external QAM tuner is needed to receive local HD 
> channels OR a set top box is required to receive cable HD channels.

That's pretty straightforward: all HD channels are digital, so you need
some sort of digital tuner to get them. But again they avoid mention of
specific channels. You could get an HDhomerun and receive everything
they are making available in the clear on digital (an example of "an
external tuner"), but there are almost certain to be some channels that
are encrypted and you can only get with a set top box. As far as I know,
the only way to get encrypted channels into Myth is to use a device such
as the Hauppage HD-PVR that captures the output of the set top box (some
channels you can't get with an HDhomerun or directly on your TV with a
digital tuner might be available by firewire, but that's completely at
the whim of the local cable company).

> (Thu Dec 4 15:21:29 PST 2008)>If your HDTV has an ATSC/ QAM tuner, you 
> will be able to view HD channels from local broadcast stations without a 
> set top box. To accommodate additional programming, occasionally a 
> broadcast channel could be moved from its original frequency. In this 
> case, the TV will have to be re-programmed to identify it. See your TVs 
> user manual for channel programming or auto-programming.
> (Thu Dec 4 15:55:25 PST 2008)>Cable networks like ESPN, 
> Discovery, CNN, USA, etc. are not impacted by the DTV Transition. 

This just means that at least for some period of time after the Feb. 17
2009 date, the same channels you currently get on analog cable
unencrypted will still be available that way. But they don't say for how
long and it certainly doesn't mean that all these channels will be
available unencrypted for 3 years. They are only guaranteeing the local
broadcast channels for 3 years.

Unfortunately, the only way to tell what's available on your cable
system unencrypted digitally is to hook up some sort of digital tuner to
it and see what's there (an HDHomerun, a DVB card, or a TV with a
digital tuner). Or else find someone else on the same local cable system
who has done so.


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