[mythtv-users] end of NTSC cable, TWC/Comcast merger--what it means for me

James Miller gajs-f0el at dea.spamcon.org
Tue Jun 14 13:59:12 UTC 2016

TWC finally announced the end of NTSC cable in my area (upper midwest, 
US)--something I've been warned about and have been expecting for awhile. 
The switch to all digital is to take place in a little less than 2 
weeks--after which point I had pretty much decided I would just stop using 
the building-provided cable I've been recording from for a few years, and 
just switch to recording OTA programming only, augmenting that with 
finding such on-demand programming as I can bring in on my Android media 
streaming box.

But some new wrinkles in the digital transition plan have developed that 
are causing me to hesitate in bailing on cable. I'd like to ask here for 
some clarification on a few issues here before coming to my decision.

One of the wrinkles is that, right as this switchover to all digital is 
happening, I get news that the TWC/Comcast merger is going through: the 
new company--Spectrum--just sent me a letter to that effect yesterday. 
This wrinkle is relevant because, if I've understood correctly, Comcast 
has different copy-protection standards, standards that are more 
Myth-friendly than TWC's. One of the main reasons I'd decided I would be 
bailing on cable was the fact that I would be unable--due to 
copy-protection they implement--to record any programming under the TWC 
regime on my MythTV system. So, can anyone comment on what the 
copy-protection regime is likely to look like under Spectrum?

Another reason I'd decided to bail on cable is equipment costs: the new 
digital programming requires the use of company-provided DTA's and/or 
STB's. And I have no intention of paying the cable company any fees--no 
matter how small--to view television programming. The development on that 
front has been that the apartment building where I live has negotiated 
with the cable company to provide the building DTA's at no charge (though 
residents who lose or do not leave their DTA in the building on moving out 
will be charged a substantial replacement fee). So, were I to get such a 
DTA, I would, in theory, be able to bring in digital cable at no 
additional cost. But that may or may not be useful to me, depending on 
whether I could record any of the programming on my MythTV.

Finally, just so that I clearly understand the logistics of digital cable 
under the new regime, I will describe the sorts of modifications I believe 
I'd need to make to my MythTV system for it to bring in this new digital 
cable. First, I believe I would need a new way for the system to do 
channel changing: it would, as I understand it, need to be able to 
communication with the DTA in order to select channels for recording. I 
suppose this might be accomplished via lirc (with which I have no 
experience). Is my understanding of this aspect of the logistics correct?

Then there is the issue of the DTA's outputs and my MythTV system's 
inputs. So far as inputs on my MythTV system, the current options are only 
what I think they call f-type connectors (a male connector onto which a 
corresponding female fitting at the end of a length of coaxial cable, 
threads), and component video. I believe these DTA's come with a wide 
variety of outputs, though things seem to be moving mostly in the 
direction of HDMI these days. In any case, were I to get this DTA, how 
would I get its output into my MythTV? I suppose I'd need to get a new 
capture card: I currently use 2 HVR-1950's (NTSC/ATSC-capable, plus 
component in) and 1 K-World UB435-Q. I don't think any of those would be 
able to handle the digital signal put out by the DTA--whether because of 
lacking the right physical connectors or being unable to decode the 
signal, or both. So, am I correct in assuming that I would need to 
purchase a new capture device in order to use the DTA with my MythTV 

As always, advice and input will be appreciated.

PS The computer my capture devices feed into is a Liva X, btw.

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