6 Noob questions for the HTPC experts



hi there all, I am feeling like a complete noob with this HTPC thing and could really do with some pointers.

This is my system.

Sim2 DMF (800*600 or 848*480)
HTPC with Radeon 9800, RME9632
CAT5 with madnat VGA\Digital Coaxial

Currently on my HTPC, DVD quality is poor when displayed on my projector compared to my DV88+p.

I know there is alot that I am not doing here but please be easy on my. Also, to make it eaiser to read I will put them in point form ;)

1. Both Zoomplayer and Powerdvd currently offer the same poor quality. Zoomplayer at least offers me the ability to play the movie on my projector while still use my desktop for other things - though i have only half got this working correctly. I hear theatertek is also good, but to keep things simple I'll just try and get it to work properly first before comparing products.

2. While powerstrip is installed, it seems to do very little in its currently configured form. From what I understand, it allows me to pass on the resolution of the dvd without effecting my current desktops resolution????

3. At the moment I put my projector on 800*600 (4:3) for the desktop and then output the movie in anamorphic. I then select anamorphic on my projector. When my HTPC is configured correctly should I just put my projector on 848*480 (16:9) mode instead?

4. My projector can scale/deinterlace, however; should i be using software for this?

5. how do i output my spdif for my RME soundcard and not my onboard 5.1 within powerdvd/zoomplayer?

6. I can decrypt my dvd's fine. They are seperated VOB files. How do I link these so I can watch a movie? I hear vobedit can join them but i can't seem to do it. I also hear that using infoedit works - but while I create the info files I cant seem to do anything with them i.e. load them up in powerdvd.

phew! if you have read to the end of this then you are doing well :)

Thanks all for your time.



Standard Member
Difficult to tell from this why it looks poor - what exactly is wrong - still image quality, when things move, colour balance, etc.

Also when you use the arcam, how is it connected to the projector?

I use a radeon 9500 driving a Sanyo PLV30, and powerdvd works a treat. I keep the PC at 800 X 600 all the time.


thanks for your reply.

My DVD88+p is connected via component.

The HTPC looks poor in regards to the following

interferance on the image when paused, jaggies and other artifacts on the image. The image is also less bright and the colors are duller.

I guess if I have got the basics right then its just a matter of tweaking the settings.

Do you know what program I would use to do the progessive scan side of things on my HTPC?



Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
Hi Cameron.

Somethings wrong if the image is poor - have you set the white and black levesl correstly usieng Avia or Video Essentials? It's also possible you're usingthe wrong gamma setting.

You will need powerstrip to set 848 x 480. Jeff is the resident expert on HTPC, but O'm sure others can help you with setting it up.

It's up to yopu how you have the pj set - if you have a 16:9 screen, then that's probably the way to go, but the choice is yours.

If you;re using a Radeon, then that's probably doing a better job of scaling than the pj, so stick with that for DVD. The Sims are pretty good on their own though, so for other inputs (s-video, composite), the you can rely on the pj.

SPDIF from Zoom can be a bit troublesome - hopefully someone with your sound card can help you here.

Use DVD shrink or DVD decriptor to either move the entire DVD onto the hard drive, or just use DVDShrink in re-author mode and put the movie only onto the HD. If you keep the VIDEO_TS folder, PowerDVD will be able to play the movie from there exactly like it would from a DVD.




hi there guys - thanks all to your replys.

Things are getting better for me :)

I upgraded from powerdvd 4 to powerdvd 5 and the image quality was far better - I haven't compared it yet to my DV88+p but it will be interesting.

I have AVIA etc and have calibrated it, but will do it again with the new version of powerdvd.

Powerdvd will output spdif from my onboard card so thats a start - hopefully the RME will be able to do it with some tweaking. In the end I used a util called VOBmerge to add VOB files together which seems to work well.

The aspect ratio thing is bothering me though. If I set my pj to 4:3 (800*600) and then put it on animorphic mode do I play my dvd in powerdvd with fit to screen mode?

I know that sounds confusing ;-)

If I play my powerdvd movie in animorphic mode then it doesnt seem to fit properly on my Sim2 in 4:3 and is stretched but squashing looking on animporhic.

I guess this is all part of the fun with a HTPC. At least my music server is sounding excellant....



Well with more tweaking I now have things starting to look pretty good - so good in fact I think the days of my DV88+p are numbered ;)

There is much tweaking to do but all ready the detail of the picture seems to surpass my DV88+p eaisly.

It now outputs digital via my RME9632 and powerstrip is working with 848*480...oh the joys of HTPC :)


Similar threads

Top Bottom