On February 19th, 2009, the United States will change from analog broadcast television to digital broadcast television. This change has some implications for MythTV users and this page will try to answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions. This table generalizes the situation
|Type of service||Need to change|
|Analog antenna/broadcast|| |
|Cable television|| |
|Satellite television|| |
Digital vs. HDTV
One common point of confusion is the use of digital television and HD television interchangeably. Digital television is simply the digital broadcast of TV signals compared to analog broadcast. Digital does not require a signal to be HD. HD is defined by the resolution of the content. Digital broadcasts can be in both SD (standard definition) and HD (high definition) formats.
Analog antenna/broadcast users
If you currently receive television using a standard antenna, you need to change equipment to continue to receive digital broadcasts. You have two basic options without changing to another type of service: digital converter, digital broadcast capture card.
This are set top boxes that you can get a coupon for from the government to convert the digital broadcast signal back to analog so your existing equipment does not have to change. This should work fine with MythTV, but might require use of an IR blaster to change channels and also require one converter per tuner in your system.
Digital broadcast cards
These cards are commonly sold as HDTV capture cards. They will have various features such as ATSC support, QAM support, or 8VSB support. They may also advertise if they support OTA signals. For digital broadcast capture, OTA support is required. This is synonymous with 8VSB and should be what you look for when purchasing a card. This tuner is analogous to a typical analog capture card like a PVR-150 and would take the place of that card in a digital setup.
The digital converter coupons cannot be used for computer capture cards
Changing to digital capture will require changes to your lineup/video sources. This page may provide some guidance on how to proceed in scanning for digital channels and configuring the mapping of them to programming guides.
Cable TV users
There is no requirement from the government for changes to cable television in conjunction with the change to broadcast TV
That being said, many cable companies are taking advantage of the change to force users to change to digital services and require the use of a STB, set top box, in order to receive programming.
If your cable provider requires the use of a STB to receive all stations, then this change will affect your MythTV configuration. You should refer to the Recording Digital Cable page for additional information. Effectively, you will require one STB per tuner.
Satellite TV users
There is no change required by the government for satellite TV delivery