I have spent the last few weeks really messing with HD signal in this area. Apparently I am not the only one, since while I was working on it there have been several channels added by the broadcasting networks here.
It started with the new TV that I got a while ago. After close to 25 years the RCA big screen that my family had forever went out. I had inherited it from Mom and Dad with the trailer so when it went out that left me without a TV. I started shopping around and really trying to catch up on HDTV and what all was out there. I ended up getting another RCA from Walmart that was a great price and had the features that I wanted. It is a DLP 52 inch Widescreen with a built in ATSC tuner. It had plenty of inputs that I wanted and looked good.
The next thing that I started doing was working on putting a MythTV machine together. I long ago had built one, but because I was living with mom and dad, it didn’t really get anywhere. With us just having the one DirectTV receiver I couldn’t really control it to change channels on it. Now I was able to, so I got a cable that would allow me to control it with my computer and started building. It ended up that I completely took the receiver out of the living room and instead have it in the computer room. Now the computer just controls it and changes the channel as it needs to.
In the living room I hooked the Xbox up to the new big screen and setup a frontend on it to connect to the MythTV machine. It uses XBMC and xbmcmythtv to let us watch what we want from the recorded programs.
When we got the bedroom suite that P had picked out, it tore up having the projector in our bedroom, so that had just been sitting around and was leaving us with no TV in the bedroom either. That isn’t really such a bad thing, but I do like to be able to watch shows in bed every now and then and I had a perfectly fine modded Xbox sitting around. I was out at Walmart again looking around and saw a 32 inch LCD TV (which also has a building ATSC tuner) for a real nice price. I ended up getting it and mounting it to the wall with some help from my neighbor Wayne. With the Xbox hooked to it, it too lets us watch things that are recorded by the MythTV machine.
That just left the projector for the guest bedroom. Using my old Emachines laptop I setup a MythTV frontend and connected it up in there. It isn’t completely 100% finished yet, but you can watch TV in there and it even seems to be able to play back recorded HDTV which is something that the version one Xboxs that I have can’t do. Because that room has a half circle window in it, I had to build a cardboard cutout to put in there to block out light. I went ahead and made it fit snug and built a handle (also out of cardboard) so that you can take it in and out easily.
I also found a MythTV frontend for the Mac that I have in the kitchen. That means that you can also what TV in there while you are cooking or something, though I don’t think it will be able to do HD, due to its age.
I know it seems like a lot of TV stuff for a house that only has two people (though it is soon to be three), but I think it is super interesting how flexible having the MythTV setup makes things. It allows you to have content on all types of devices and setups and just gives you a lot of control over what you are watching and how.