[mythtv-users] MythTV worth it still for HDTV?

Rod Smith mythtv at rodsbooks.com
Sun Jan 3 20:42:51 UTC 2010

On Sunday 03 January 2010 04:34:43 am Matt Goebel wrote:
> I no longer want to watch anything that's not in HD.
> I'm getting ready to replace my old systems in the near future.  My
> cable provider does SDV, with pretty much only the broadcast channels
> available in clear HD.  I've been considering a couple options; an
> HDhomerun for basic channel HD and an HDPVR, or a couple HDPVRs.
> Is MythTV even worth the effort for all this anymore?

Keep in mind that this list is composed primarily of people who've already 
invested the effort and use MythTV; you'll get skewed responses.

That said, MHO is that MythTV is worth the effort *IF* you're a geeky type who 
likes to play with computers and who has the time to set it up. FWIW, my own 
setup includes a couple of analog tuners, a couple of in-computer digital 
tuners, and a FireWire box. It's more complex than it needs to be (partly 
because of cable company encryption, partly because I've built the system 
piecemeal rather than all at once), but it gets the job done. I used to own a 
TiVo, and at this point I'd find it hard to go back. TiVo's user interface 
does have its advantages, but it's far more limiting.

> How  
> much of a hassle setting up channels because the channel guide is out of
> date..

In theory, that's a set-and-forget item. In practice, it depends on your cable 
company. About a year ago, mine was changing the digital channel mapping 
every month or so, which resulted in frequent missed recordings. They seem to 
have settled down lately and haven't changed things in the last few months.

> or you have to do it for the homerun/others?

Any direct digital tuner (HDHomerun, USB cards, PCI cards, etc.) will need to 
tune to the channel frequency, which will be different from tuning a cable 
box (for either FireWire capture or capture via an analog tuner, including an 
HD-PVR). Thus, if you mix the two types, you'll have to set up your channels 
twice. Personally, I reconfigure the channel numbers that the channel scanner 
produces for my direct digital tuner in favor of the channel numbers my cable 
provider uses. That way I can use their reference guides and I don't get 
duplicates in my lineup (the same station on two channel numbers).

> How well is the  
> HDPVR working these days?  Any other suggestions?

My impression is that the HD-PVR works well, but I don't have one so I can't 
comment from experience. I'll buy one if my cable company starts encrypting 
more digital channels.

You could give FireWire another try. The new FireWire stack is supposed to be 
more reliable than the old one, although I personally haven't gotten it to 
work at all. You could also try swapping your cable box for another model, if 
your cable company offers more than one. OTOH, FireWire is a bit hit-or-miss, 
judging by posts here. My own setup works reasonably well, but still not 100% 
reliably. Some people seem to have more problems.

Rod Smith

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