[mythtv-users] Cable or dish

Brad Templeton brad+myth at templetons.com
Sun Dec 19 23:54:20 UTC 2010

Some tidbits:

a) In some ways, Cable and 1394 is the way to go, or at least it should 
be.   Having your myth box record the actual raw data stream is much 
preferred to having it convert to analog and back to lower resolution 
analog to be transcoded by the hdpvr.   Though I presume the files are 
smaller though you can digitally transcode the saved mp2s from the 
1394.   In addition, channel change control is over 1394.

b) There are two big caveats:  One, you can't record encrypted 
channels.  For me, that's just the premium ones like HBO that I don't 
buy so it's not a big issue.    Two, there are times when it's known to 
fail, for me this happens after I accidentally try to record from an 
encrypted channel.

c) As noted, you can do serial port control of some DirecTV boxes but 
not of Dish boxes.  So with Dish boxes it's ir blaster which also can 
have risks.

d) The newest boxes from Dish, however, can be controlled over 
ethernet!   Not by MythTV yet, but the control is quite complex -- the 
client can do anything on the Dish box a remote control can, and more, 
like scheduling programs for the DIsh DVR, browsing its list of programs 
and browsing or downloading its listings data, I believe.     I suspect 
we'll see somebody code up support for this in Myth.   Normally you 
might not bother with a DVR on your satellite since you plan to use 
Myth, but they tend to offer them free in a bundle to get you to sign 
up.  If so, get this just for the ethernet control.

e) Of course, you can decide to use the satellite DVR for your sat 
recordings and Myth for your OTA and SDTV recordings, especially if you 
do not like the hd-pvr route.  That works, and provides a quality 
picture, but it means two DVRs, swapping inputs etc.    In the future, 
it's not out of the question that Myth might come to talk to the DVR 
over IP so you can at least browse the two collections together, and 
schedule in one place, but I don't know of anybody working on that.  
Changing inputs is more of a pain that it should be -- Google TV gets 
around it by doing pass-through of the HDMI.

Alas, there is no easy answer.   My hope, frankly, is to see more 
internet delivery of the shows I want, and then to cut the cord on 
satellite and cable.    Let's face it, a typical non-premium Cable or 
Satellite connection runs $800 per year!  The most basic ones (other 
than on special offers for new customers) tend to run almost $500 a year 
with taxes.     I would happily pay for netflix, premium hulu and a few 
other things and cut that cable.

This is particularly true because perhaps unlike you, there are really 
only a few channels in each cable or satellite tier that I care about.  
So in reality I am paying $10/month/channel that I care about.  You 
gotta believe that eventually I will be able to pick up the few I care 
about seeing now (rather than delayed on netflix) for sums like that.

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