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

Gary Buhrmaster gary.buhrmaster at gmail.com
Tue Jun 14 14:47:44 UTC 2016

On Tue, Jun 14, 2016 at 1:59 PM, James Miller <gajs-f0el at dea.spamcon.org> wrote:
> 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

It is Charter, not Comcast that purchased TWC (Comcast
was prevented from acquiring TWC by FCC and Justice).

>  if I've understood correctly, Comcast has
> different copy-protection standards, standards that are more Myth-friendly
> than TWC's.

Charter (Comcast is not relevant) has no standard standard IRT
setting copy protection.  From all reports, they have tended to
leave the existing copy protections in place as they acquired
locations.  TWC, on the other hand, has a nationwide standard.

In the short term, nothing is going to change with existing settings.
The only short term changes is that you get new branding (your
letter), and the trucks and buildings get new logos, and some
people get new t-shirts and polo shirts (and some of the executives
and bankers take home a lot of money).

In the long term, when TWC engineering takes over(*) the entire
footprint in a few years, I expect the combined company to
standardize, but I have no idea what the standard will be.

> 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.

The DTA is mostly just a lower function/cost STB (all the MSOs
wanted something to be able to hand out to analogue users with old
TV's that did not cost as much as a full STB; the DTAs tended
to not provide the full capability (no or limited guide, no ability
to watch on-demand, etc) of the STB).

Depending on the exact model of DTA, the DTAs output a single tuned
channel to either analog (to ch 3/4, just like a VCR) which can be captured
using an analogue NTSC capture card, the single tuned channel to
component output which can be captured via a HD-PVR, or the single
channel via (not legally recordable) HDCP protected HDMI to plug directly
into a fully copy protected display platform (i.e. your TV).

I have no knowledge of your particular situation, but typically you
can get one (or sometimes two) DTAs "for free", which means that
you are going to have to pay additional for recording more than
one channel at a time.

The bottom line is that TWC is not exactly MythTV friendly, and
everything is a work-around.  Those in TWC land who want a
local DVR either have to rent/lease a number of STBs/DTAs to
record (usually via the HD-PVR), or (reluctantly) move to WMC,
TiVo, or the TWC DVR.

Just for the record, I believe that TWC has a number of apps (web,
mobile devices, but also Roku's, and even some TVs) that can
access TWC's channels, and some limited on-demand content.  It
is not a DVR solution, but it might meet some peoples much more
limited requirements (as I do not have TWC, I know very little about
the capabilities of that app, perhaps someone who has TWC can
chime in).


(*) Yes, Charter is acquiring TWC, but TWC is MUCH larger, and
I expect that when the engineering consolidation happens, the TWC
people will be the ones left standing.  TWC likes standards
and consistency (for operational efficiencies).  Such consolidation
typically takes years.

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