[mythtv-users] Server/adding new card dilemma, HD/hardware questions

R. G. Newbury newbury at mandamus.org
Wed Oct 1 18:49:16 UTC 2008

Bobby Gill wrote:
>>> Well, yes.  But even now most analog is echoed on the SD multiplex.  In my
>>> area, digital gets me what I need.  Maybe with cable it's different but I
>>> would suspect that getting an analog tuner set up and running will only
>>> give you a few weeks of use at best.
>>> --Yan
>>> Pretty much same thing going on here. The only one that for me has
>> different programming on analog is the local PBS station.
>> Richard
> Okay, lost me here. Are you saying that if I get a card that captures
> Digital TV only (no analog input), and I just have regular analog cable TV
> right now, I can capture it fine? ie., Digital is kind of "backwards
> compatible" to grab analog?? I think this area confuses me most lol.
> FYI I am using Rogers Cable TV (regular cable) in Canada. Family room has a
> Rogers Digital box (that I don't use as part of Myth; frontend is desktop PC
> in bedroom).
> Thanks
> Bob

You get Rogers Cable. That is analog. You also have, at least, some 
digital capability. Think of these just like different radios: AM and 
FM. Can't listen to AM on the FM radio and vice versa.

Digital is NOT backwards compatible with analog.

Rogers no longer even offers an analog basic package, so the writing is 
on the wall, that it will (eventually) move all the analog channels to 
digital streams only.

At the moment, you record off the cable with a PVR-150. It has on-board 
hardware compression, and does only Standard Definition TV.

EVERYTHING which Rogers sends as a digital signal is encrypted. Rogers 
used to transmit about 35 QAM encoded, unencrypted channels, but stopped 
  that about June 2007. Now everything digital is encrypted, which means 
you must use a set top box to unscramble the signal.

It is clear that Rogers wants to suck as much as possible from the 
customer, and CONTROL the customer's capability to record, as much as 
possible. And there are no 'must-carry' rules in Canada from the CRTC as 
there are in the US from the FCC.

Your digital set-top-box, MAY have a firewire output (but I don't think 
anyone has confirmed that wrt Rogers supplied boxes). If so, you can 
record the digital stream using a firewire input on your mythbox. ( I am 
fairly sure you can buy firewire capable STB's which work with Rogers.)

The only other choice at the moment, is the new Hauppauge HD1212 which 
takes (analog) component video output from the set top box and encodes 
to to digital, which you then record. The STB must have component 
output. Only the most basic (cheapest) STB's do not have component.

HDMI generally does not work for output because it is crippled to only 
talk to HDCP recognized devices, like your LCD TV but to never allow a 
digital stream 'into the wild' so to speak. In other words, it is DRM 
crippled. (I don't know of any TV's which will pass through an HDMI 
sourced signal, and strip it. The only not-so-reasonably priced unit 
which was advertised to strip HDCP from a HDMI/DVI signal was made in 
Germany and is apparently no longer available: the Spatz DVIMagic box 
amd it was listed at 400 euros.)

The next problem either way is that you need one set top box per channel 
to be recorded: that is, one set top box, plus firewire/HD1212 input 
(plus an IR blaster for channel changing) is equivalent to your PVR150 
in terms of tuning the channel and recording a stream.

If you want more channel recording capability at present, you could add 
another PVR150. That would be the cheapest route to add extra capability 
for the foreseeable future. Best guess is that Rogers will not force a 
changeover until Canada goes all-digital in August 2011 (although there 
will probably be some changes in February 2009 when the US changes). So 
you can get good use of a $60-75 purchase. If you do not have a spare 
slot you could change to a PVR500 for 2 tuners, or add one of the 
Hauppauge USB analaog tuners.

If you want to future proof yourself, then you have to think about the 
digital route.

And HDHomeRun is a great little unit, but it only works with unencrypted 
QAM cable signals, or OTA. I have one connected to my antenna (in 
Mississauga, south of Lakeshore) and I get 23 channels ( ignoring SD 
versions of HD feeds). So unless you are able to put up an antenna this 
box is not for you. The antenna installed cost me less than $200 with 
all parts, and coax cable, but I did the installation.

So far I have said nothing about HD. If you get HD channels on your STB, 
then the same questions arise. You need firewire or another form of 
output from the STB to feed your mythbox. Once you are digital the 
definition level makes no real difference on the input side. The 
differences are all on the output side, in terms of what your screen can 
do, and your hardware provide. But what you have will be fine for 
standard def for a couple of years.


         Please let me know if anything I say offends you.
          I may wish to offend you again in the future.

          Tux says: "Be regular. Eat cron flakes."

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