[mythtv-users] MythTV and 4K HDR TVs

James Abernathy jfabernathy at gmail.com
Fri Dec 29 12:24:57 UTC 2023

On Fri, Dec 29, 2023 at 5:02 AM Stephen Worthington <
stephen_agent at jsw.gen.nz> wrote:

> After 14 years with my old Sony 32" 1080p TV, I have ordered a new LG
> C2 48" OLED TV.  This is mainly for downloaded and streamed
> programming, which these days is typically 2160p and may be available
> with HDR or Dolby Vision as well.  My recorded TV will still be 1080i
> or worse.  I have a fanless Nvidia GT1030 card (DVI and HDMI 2.0b) in
> my main MythTV box, and my laptop has a mobile Nvidia RTX2060
> (Thunderbolt 3, mini DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0b).  What I want to
> do is set up both PCs to be able to play 2160p video files in the best
> quality possible, but still have the <= 1080i recordings displayed
> properly too.  So I was wondering what other people might have done to
> make this work.
> My understanding is that the GT1030 can do only 4K @ 60 Hz maximum,
> and can not do RGB or 4:4:4 chroma subsampling at that frame rate, due
> to it only having an HDMI 2.0b port.  So I will only get 4:2:0 or
> maybe 4:2:2 chroma subsampling.  This causes problems with text on a
> black screen, for example, so I would prefer to be able to do full
> 4:4:4 (which the TV supports).  To do that, I need either DisplayPort
> 1.4 or HDMI 2.1.  The next highest Nvidia chipset (1050) supports
> DisplayPort 1.4, as does any higher Nvidia GPU.  With DP 1.4, I can
> get a DP 1.4 to HDMI 2.1 adapter at a reasonable price, so that is the
> cheapest route to full picture quality.  To get HDMI 2.1 directly on
> the video card, I would need a minimum of a 3050 GPU and the prices
> for them are horrible.  The plus side of 3050 and greater GPUs is that
> they do AV1 decoding in hardware, which is likely to be more and more
> important in the future.  The huge downside of any Nvidia GPU > 1030
> is that the cards all have fans, which make annoying amounts of noise
> and also tend to fail and kill the card.  So it would be good to know
> if this is a real problem when using MythTV with such cards, as MythTV
> does not push the GPU very much and the card may be able to run with
> the fans stopped.  Does anyone have any experience of this?
> For my laptop, I have ordered a mini-DP 1.4 to HDMI 2.1 adapter and
> HDMI 2.1 cable, arriving mid-January.  That should make it able to use
> the full specifications of the new TV (4K @ 120 Hz).  Has anyone used
> this sort of setup with MythTV?
> My understanding is that while some 4K video will play using VDPAU,
> NVDEC will be required to support the full set of 4K formats.  So I
> have tried switching both machines to use NVDEC instead of my normal
> VDPAU High Quality setting.  But I have had problems with NVDEC - some
> recordings do not play properly - they are all pixilated and the
> colours are off also.  This happens on both PCs.  So is this likely to
> be a MythTV problem, or an Nvidia one?  I can post a sample of a
> recording that does this if anyone is interested.

I went through a similar issue last year.  What I found out is the computer
equipment industry does not focus on the quality of video playback.  They
seem to go for gaming, video editing, or business graphics. This may have
more to do with the software side since computers are too open and can't be
locked down to protect content creators. This is particularly true on
streaming services. Browsers do the worst job for streaming from Netflix,
Prime Video, Sling, Direct TV Steam, etc.

When I do use Mythtv on a PC frontend, I find the video good at 1080i, 720P
ATSC 1.0 on USA content.  It gets better when I'm on a 4K UHD HDR TV
because the brains in the TV are very good at upscaling the video without
messing it up.  It improves it a lot, with occasional problems.

So what I ended up with is using the TV streaming software of an Amazon
FireTV 4K Max to display all streaming content on all my UHD 4K TVs.
Leanfront and mythfrontend both run on Android TV devices with Leanfront
being superior on MythTV content to any PC I have and I have AMD, Nvidia,
and Intel.

I'll admit this can be considered nit-picking to some, but having spent
years working with customers getting video playback right on embedded
devices, I've watched too much video with a critical eye and it's a curse
to your normal TV watching.

So to summarize I use a Samsung UHD TV with a FIreTV 4K Max in my wife's
sitting area. She streams all the services and never complains.  She only
uses Leanfront to play the MythTV recorded content and adapted quickly to
the on screen navigation of Leanfront.

On my Sony UHD TV with Google TV, which has a Nextgen ATSC 3.0 tuner, I can
use the builtin apps to stream, and Leanfront for Mythtv. I still use
mythfrontend on the Sony but mostly for editing and schedule maintenance.
However, since I'm running V34-Pre-master, I mostly use the Web App for
schedule maintenance.

However, Sony is slow to fix app problems, so I added a FireTV 4K Max to it
and that is my main source for TV watching.

I have a 11th gen Core i7 Intel NUC connected to the Sony and use that as
my PC to play with, game with, etc.  I have Mythfrontend on that and it's
good, but only if you configure it perfectly. That config changes depending
on content. That is something I don't have to worry about on FireTV.  On
don't get me started on Remotes for PCs. I ended up with a Logitech full
keyboard that connects via RF or Bluetooth. That works great for the PC and
with the press of 1 button, can connect to the FireTV for login pages or
searches. Certainly helps on Mythfrontend.

Jim A
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