rfunk: (check this out)
posted by [personal profile] rfunk at 03:25pm on 13/09/2007 under , , , , , ,
This week we heard the latest news in the digital TV saga: cable TV operators will allow customers to use analog TVs until at least 2012. Which basically means they'll continue having analog video outputs on their boxes; I figure those output will stick around quite a few years longer than that.

On the other hand, those of us in the U.S. who get TV the old-fashioned way, through the antenna, are currently scheduled to lose the old NTSC signal on February 17, 2009, about a year and a half from now. The federal government is supposed to provided $30 coupons for digital-TV (ATSC) converter boxes, but when I checked the Best Buy website today I found only one such box available, and that was $180. It's slightly tempting to run out to buy one to add to the entertainment center.

Then consider that, for anyone still recording shows with a VCR, the tuner in the VCR will also become obsolete, so the VCR will no longer be programmable to record the appropriate channel at the appropriate time. The solution for that, of course, is a DVR, preferably a dual-tuner one.

But the only DVR I've found so far that handles digital broadcast signals is the third-generation TiVo, and that currently costs $800, plus a monthly TiVo service fee. (Other TiVos are more like $250.)

So since digital-broadcast DVRs are so rare, the next thought is to build a super-DVR (plus other capabillities) out of computer parts, using MythTV or Freevo software. Lots of geeks are doing it these days, but that starts a big adventure of choosing the most-compatible tuner cards, video output cards, and fast-enough processors that are still quiet and cool. Who knows what the price would turn out to be. (Update: [livejournal.com profile] ah_graylensman says about $685.)

Maybe I should wait a bit to work on this one. There will, by the way, be a talk at the upcoming Ohio LinuxFest that seems tangentially related to this: "The Path to the $100 Linux Media Center"
Mood:: 'intimidated' intimidated

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