Dedicated Scaler vs PC and FFDShow (with filters) for HDTV quality from DVD's

Anim

Active Member
Hi all

Is it possible to use a PC with FFDShow (and filters) to upscale and process DVD's to HDTV quality which is basically doing same job as dedicated hardware scalers?

Has anybody spent the time and set this up to see the difference?

Ta
Anim
 

inzaman

Moderator
I use HTPC with FFDshow to great effect, as do many others. I think that some people do prefer TT2 with just the NVidia codecs.

If you do a search in the HCPC section there will be loads of info on this.

I also believe that Kragorn has an external scaler and had used both so could comment on the differences as well.
 

Anim

Active Member
Thanks Inzaman, i'll do just that. Also would like to hear from Kragorn if there is a clear cut winner from either method.

Anim
 

inzaman

Moderator
From the last posts i read, a few months ago, on the subject; i think that Kragorn preferred the external scaler because of the ease of use factor.

Ffdshow is a great piece of software but it can be a pain to set up and i dont think that there are any manuals explaining all the permutations. It is also very very processor hungry and you will need at least a 3ghz processor, i have an XP2500 and had to overclock for pal material. I can tell the difference in picture quality though when i turn ffdshow off, not so much now i am using the NVidia codecs but enough to warrant it being used.
 

DEANO-B

Standard Member
After reading up it appears that a PC running ffdshow cannot be beaten on quality, but if your after an easy life go for a scaler! The problem with PCs is just the amount of hassle it takes to get things running perfectly, and I know that some weeks I have spent more time trying to get a DVD to play right (and hidef material is harder to setup!) than actual watching DVDs. Saying this though it does put a big smile on your face when everything is working and looking so good :thumbsup:
 

Jeff

Well-known Member
I've been using HTPC's for years, but switched to an external scaler a few months ago, I was pleaseantly surprised that the Lumagen HDP Pro was an improvement PQ wise. I recently took the Lumagen over to RTFM's for a C3X demo, even with a bog standard Pioneer DVD player (via component) it was better than Jeff's Nvidia/TT powered Uvem PC. That said HTPC's still give a cracking picture for the money, but it isn't the best you can get, the same can be said regarding sound quality.
 

inzaman

Moderator
Yup, ffdshow is very technical but I found this tutorial on setting up FFDSHOW for DVD playback.
Thats the guide i used and is an excellent starting point, if you search round the hcpc forum there is loads of info on setting it up beyond those settings. Those settings though will give you a marked improvement over not having it.
 

Anim

Active Member
Forgive me for being dumb but which is the HCPC forum...i looked. honest lol
 

inzaman

Moderator
Woops, its called the Entertainment Computers & Components here
 

ROne

Active Member
Jeff said:
I've been using HTPC's for years, but switched to an external scaler a few months ago, I was pleaseantly surprised that the Lumagen HDP Pro was an improvement PQ wise. I recently took the Lumagen over to RTFM's for a C3X demo, even with a bog standard Pioneer DVD player (via component) it was better than Jeff's Nvidia/TT powered Uvem PC. That said HTPC's still give a cracking picture for the money, but it isn't the best you can get, the same can be said regarding sound quality.
I can't get my head around that. How is it better?

Do you have any reviews to this product?
 

edward

Active Member
Hi Jeff,

At Hammersmith What HiFi exhibition, the only high-end screen display not using an HTPC that I saw was Sony, who had a Blu Ray source. Given the investment that companies made to be there, they certainly wouldn't throw it away by using a Uvem if they could get a significantly better picture from a scaler. Well, that was the conclusion I came to, having bought a Uvem a month or so ago.

I've got a scaler as well and the vote from the crowd here was split when I gave them the same track to assess. I think that overall the scaler is ever so slightly better but I've taken to using the Uvem because I get far better control of the picture and its also brighter - even before I start fiddling.

For the price difference, I don't think I'll buy another dedicated scaler. Mind you, I haven't looked at systems like the Lumagen HDP Pro yet.
 

Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Edward: There are plenty of reasons why manufacturers would choose to use different equipment at a show, even when they may feel they can get the best from other sources or displays. Do not assume that because no-one used a scaler that means they wouldn't be better if they did.

Oh and I have yet to see a HTPC that has the flexibility built in to a Lumagen..........

Gordon
 

Mr Grumpy

Active Member
Interesting thread guys.
How do the relative costs stack up, I mean surely the spec of the components required for the pc would put it into scaler territory, or is that not the case ?
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
For DVD playback you don't need a very powerfull machin (1ghz+), and a Radeon 9600 or better, or a suitable Nvida card will give you very good quality mpg decoding and scaling. Soundcards can vary in quality too, so you may want to get a recommended one rather than a generic spdif out model (though that's what I use). So it can cost around £200 for a basic machine not including software.

Gary.
 

MikeK

Well-known Member
Interesting thread guys.
How do the relative costs stack up, I mean surely the spec of the components required for the pc would put it into scaler territory, or is that not the case ?


Hmmm,

Depends - the Lumagen HDP Pro is about £1600 - these days that's more than enough to buy a top spec PC.
Don't forget that with a scaler you still need to buy the source components and possibly a recorder too, which will bump up the cost a bit further.

Like everything else though, PCs have their drawbacks too.
 

DEANO-B

Standard Member
Gordon @ Convergent AV said:
Do not assume that because no-one used a scaler that means they wouldn't be better if they did.

Gordon
Surely if scalers produce a better end result all of the companies would have used them at the show? Is there any other reason why they would not use scalers - If so, could you please explain :confused:
 

jriihi

Standard Member
Or you could "still in theory" get better scaling/deinterlacing that can currently be done using htpc by getting HQV based scaler (1st first minor batch shipping end of this month i think from calibre).. But it would probably cost lot ;)
 

Jeff

Well-known Member
DEANO-B said:
Surely if scalers produce a better end result all of the companies would have used them at the show? Is there any other reason why they would not use scalers - If so, could you please explain :confused:
Yes, one box does all, no need to carry DVD player, DVHS etc as well as the scaler.
 

Jeff

Well-known Member
jriihi said:
Or you could "still in theory" get better scaling/deinterlacing that can currently be done using htpc by getting HQV based scaler (1st first minor batch shipping end of this month i think from calibre).. But it would probably cost lot ;)
No need for HQV for SD film. Lumagen HDP and a good SDI DVD player is all you need.
 

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