[mythtv-users] completely new and have questions before I buy hardware

Brian Wood beww at beww.org
Fri Sep 5 22:11:51 UTC 2008

Quenten Griffith wrote:
> I am looking to setup my first mythtv box and have zero experience with
> tvtuners and the different types of broadcast signals.  I have a few
> quick questions that may be easy to answer for some of you experts.
> I live in the US and analog is going to go away in 2009.  I was going to
> purchase a PVR-350 card, however you can't find it any where since it is
> analog.  If I find this card, and just hook it up to coax (not the
> Timewarner box), will it still work after February 2009? 

Probably. The Feb. 2009 changeover date only applies to over-the-air
broadcasts. Cable systems are free to continue to transmit analog,
though most of them will probably changeover to all digital eventually,
due to the smaller bandwidth requirement.

> If I get a
> digital based card (does anyone have recommendations that play well with
> Linux) will it work hooked to coax and not going through a cable box? 

There are many options for a digital capture device, but if you connect
it directly to a cable system (no STB) then you will receive only the
unencrypted channels, usually only the local off-airs and perhaps things
like CSPAN. To receive the encrypted channels you will have to go
through the cable operator-provided Set Top Box.

There is at present no solid solution to capture high-def channels from
a cable system, with exception of some set top boxes that output
firewire. The Hauppauge HDPVR-1212 looks very promising, but the drivers
are very experimental at this time.

> The CPU I plan on using is rather old it is a Athelon 64bit 3200, so I
> was looking for a card with the decoder/encoder built on the tvtuner
> card, however it appears only analog cards come with this feature, do
> the digital cards not need this?

The digital cards capture the already encoded digital stream, and so you
need to decode the stream to play it back. The CPU you mention can
probably handle standard-definition, but not hi-def stuff, without help.

If you get a video card that supports XvMC you will get *some* help in
decoding an mpeg2 stream, but it will not help with mpeg4. Hardware
decoding of mpeg4 seems to be on the horizon, but is not here yet.

But if you want to play back HD without problems you will almost
certainly need a faster CPU.

Check out the MythTV WiKi for more information.


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