[mythtv-users] Monolith Pre-made MythTV Box?

VCRAddict MythTV_01 at appropriate-tech.net
Sun Nov 16 23:04:39 UTC 2008

At 12:12 PM 11/16/08 -0800, Charles Iliya Krempeaux wrote:
 > Currently, I'm just receiving TV via Cable.
 > I have an HDTV, so I would like HDTV capabilities.

Those two statements form a problematic combination.

The issue is not so much a matter of MythTV's capabilities, as the lengths
to which the cable companies' go to in their predatory marketing practices.
 Despite the fact that 90+% of the programming material you get over cable
TV is advertiser supported, the vast majority of it is encrypted
_by_the_cable_company_.  They do this in a deliberate effort to lock you
into renting (at exorbitant cost) their proprietary (and at least
typically, uber-lame) STB/DVR systems.  Hence, regardless of what type of
tuner card you put into a Myth TV system, you will near-certainly NOT be
able to receive much of anything except your local broadcast channels "in
the clear".  Now, this can and does vary somewhat from cable company to
cable company, and from market area to market area within any given cable
company; but the fact remains -- in MOST cases, you'll be stuck using their
STB to get most of your programming.  (And BTW...  Just in case you're
wondering, at least WRT to this issue, Verizon FiOS is exactly equivalent
to "cable company"; the terms are synonymous in this context.)

However...  This does not mean that all is lost.  There are two potential
work-arounds for this problem:

1. - Per FCC ruling, your cable company MUST provide you with a STB with a
FireWire output upon request.  Unfortunately, this law is honored more in
the breach than in the observance; and typically, your cable company will
do everything in their power (including outright lying to you) to avoid
actually meeting that mandate.

2. - *IF* you have (or can get) a STB with Component Video outputs, it is
at least theoretically possible that you could then feed those to the input
side of something like a Hauppage HD-PVR in your Myth box, and retain
High-Def (or at least, the cable company's watered-down version of
High-Def) in the process.  You would also need an IR blaster to allow the
Myth box to control the STB (for changing channels, etc.); and you would
need a separate STB (and IR blaster) for each HD-PVR (i.e., for each
channel of simultaneous recording capability you want).

Others who have gone further down either of these roads than I have can
flesh out the details; but this should give you the basic idea.

 > I'd like to get the best via quality to my TV as possible, so I'm
 > assuming that that's HDMI, correct?


As I noted earlier, it all depends on what the equipment you're feeding
wants.  But having said that, I'll also repeat this:  For your purposes,
HDMI offers *nothing* of value over DVI-D or DVI-I.

 > As far as simultaneous recordings... I've never had a PVR before... so
 > I'm not really sure how many I will need.  How many do you suggest?

Depends completely on your viewing habits.  How many VCRs (or similar) do
you typically keep busy?

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