[mythtv-users] What's the point of MythTV HD?

jmk jmk at foofus.net
Wed Jan 2 22:18:15 UTC 2008

Hi George / MythTV Users,

On Mon, 2007-12-03 at 22:18 -0600, George Mari wrote:
> David Linville wrote:


> The best resolution you can get this way is wide-screen 480i.  This is 
> the same way anamorphic DVD content works.  You  takes a 16:9 content 
> stream, send it out your STB S-Video output, it gets squished 
> horizontally to record at 720x480 pixels (4:3 aspect ratio) by analog 
> tuner/encoder card, and stretched back out horizontally by MythTV to 
> it's proper aspect ratio.  The only difference between this and 
> anamorphic DVD is that DVD content is usually 480p (progressive) versus 
> 480i (interlaced).
> I just researched all this a few weeks ago when I upgraded from SD 
> DirecTV to HD DirecTV.  The High-def DirecTV set top boxes (Dish too, 
> probably cable boxes also) let you set the format of the signal being 
> sent out any of it's outputs.  You tell it whether you have a 4:3 or 
> 16:9 TV, and you tell it how it should display programs that don't match 
> the aspect ratio of your TV - letter box, pillar box, squished 
> horizontally, etc.  You can even cycle through the formats with a button 
> on your remote.
> I get better results with Widescreen 480i than I did stretching 4:3 
> programs to fit my 16:9 TV.  I see fewer artifacts, and just better 
> overall quality.  It's not HD, but it's better than 4:3 SD, at least to 
> my eyes.  Part of that could be that the DirecTV HD signal is less 
> overcompressed than the SD signal was, but whatever.

A few quick, hopefully not too dumb, questions about this approach...

I currently have two standard DirecTV STBs which are connected via
s-video to ivtv cards. My main MythTV host is connected to a HD TV.
Unfortunately, one of my STBs is dying and I'm told by DirecTV it'll
cost $69 to replace. It appears that for an additional $30 I can get a
HD STB, so I am considering going that route.

When the HD STB is configured to display 16:9, does Myth automatically
detect this and display full screen? Currently, it appears that 16:9
content is being displayed in a 4:3 window. I can manually zoom/scale,
but I find this annoying and I'm wondering if this approach gets around
that problem.

Are there extra costs that I'm missing with this option? It looks like
it'll cost an extra $10/month for HD service. I'm assuming you felt the
picture improvement of capturing HD as SD was worth that. 

If I get a new HD dish and HD STB, can I continue to use my working
non-HD STB? Just wondering if I have to replace both STBs, since the
second one isn't used all that often. 


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