HD-DVD & BG 808s Via HTPC

Alaric

Well-known Member
Hi guys,

I've been a bit quiet on here recently...I guess there haven't been many threads i could add much too or that painting my house has taken so much spare time i haven't done much with the PJ....Save watching it.

Well yesterday that changed, i finaly bit the bullet and bought a MS Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive for my HTPC. £89 from gamestation second hand with Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire HD-DVD, seemed a reasonable enough offer, Secondhand, but 3months warenty and i don't even have to bin the box :D

Hooked it up to the PC and downloaded the drivers from the web and it installed remarkably easy. Tested with a normal DVD and TheaterTek is happy with it as a DVD drive.

Installed PowerDVD 7.3 which took a while but seems fine, clunky interface compaired with TT....I'd forgotten how good TT is on that point, but it struggles with HD ATM, almost everything but PDVD does.

I'm only running the HTPC at [email protected], but the picture looks great. Credits seem the most suprising as they apear a lot less halo'y than normal, maybe its been a lack of res on credits that blur them. The picture is lovely and smooth and very detailed...It almost seems i've upgraded the PJ !

I've got a slight issue with HP as i've got perminant subtitles and no menus, however 300 seems to be fine - The software is somewhat flakey....However HP does have a PIP function for comentaries which is cute, the weasley twins actors babling away and flicking to comments by cast and crew and diagrams....Might actualy get me watching a few more comentaries....though i recall being excited about DVD when i came out in the same way and i think i've listened to only 3 or 4 !

I've yet to try 1920x1080p, my set-up can certainly run at that, i've upscalled to it before (albeit babylon 5 season 1 dvd that looked ropey). I do know that the fans start running faster in the PJ when i do it !

Either way 720 or 1080, its certainly worth investigating....the hardware is reasonably cheap and the discs are only a few quid more for new releases....who cares about a war when it looks and sounds this good !

Cya,
Lee
 
R

rob_w

Guest
Hi Lee,

A Q about the audio side of your setup - Are you able to use a single digital out from the pc to go to a standard processor, or do you have to run 6 analogue channels from the pc. Reason I ask is I don't have any '6 channel analogue ins' on my procesor.

Cheers,
Rob.
 

Alaric

Well-known Member
Hi Rob,

Sorry for a late reply, been busy with Non-AV things and haven't droped by for a week or two.

Personaly i'm using 6 chanel output from my RME HDSP 9532 (iirc) with a 8chanel add on card to my Yamaha Z9 - If/and when 8 chanels can be done in software i'll be ready for it !

However I also have an SPDIF onboard the MB which works perfectly fine, you only get very good bitrate DD/DTS though as DD+ & TrueHD can't be passed on spdif and my amp couldn't decode it anyway.

In theory when a HDMI soundcard is available and if you have a HDMI amp that can use DD+/THD...

Also i belive that i'm not getting the full benifit of THD even by analogue out due to DRM and downsampling software crud....still sounds good though.

Also DRM bit back a week or so ago with Transformers, new codes, anydvd hd needed modding so a week or two delay in watching high flying new films is to be expected with a HTPC/CRT combo.....Unless I wonder if i could go DVI->HD_Fury ????.....Hmmm

cya,
Lee
 

Alaric

Well-known Member
Hi There,

I have a lowish end Athlon X2, 4400 IIRC. The graphics card is a Nvidia GTS8600, which i've found great now the HD acceloration works in XP - It certaintly isn't a powerhouse by todays standards, but nor is it a slouch - I'm lucky in thats its in a kit area so noise isn't an issue though.

Using AnyDVD HD to skirt HDCP which seems to work very well, though for some movies they can be a little slow to decrypt - Ie i had to wait a week or so when Transformers was released for them to crack it

I run 1920 x 1080 @ 72Hz, which seems to work fine, though i don't know if tweaks can be made to the res....Haven't really played for a while, just been watching. Transformers and Fast & Furious TD both looked awesome....Maybe a touch slow on a really wide fast pan if i'm ultra critical.

I was just talking to AudiMushroom on PM about HD and my PJ, the 8" officialy shouldn't be able to fully resolve 1080p and my current set-up isn't the best (on high res the left hand side blue convergance is out and digitaly uncorectable, lower res its just a top corner - however when watching you miss this error) - However what i will say is that the HD material is a *LOT* sharper and finer than SD. Bladerunner FC looks photographic and is quite stunning with vangellisis music.

Though i will mention that while i tried analogue outs on my RME HDSP card, there is no channel delay or volume matching in PowerDVD and also they downscale the TrueHD audio so that i've gon back to SPDIF, which through my Yamaha Z9 sounds rather sweet anyway...the higher bitrate DD still sounds better than normal Dvds.

Personaly i'd also go HD not Blueray, its a lot more user friendly, works out the box, PIP is great, Menus are great and fast. Technicaly BR can hold more, but so far its yet to make any impact....They still like to sell double disc editions for a few quid extra as it seems more to marketing....I also don't like the region encoding restrictions.

I'd be curious on dual drives when they come down to reasonable prices though.

cya,
Lee
 

wilders

Banned
Lee thanks for the reply, i've also got an 808s, and will stick to 720p which this pj can do very well...again i think the extra work for 1080p is too much, for mine anyway...
I'm going to have to upgrade my hcpc (currently a p4 1.8/radeon 9000 - which i've been using for about 5 years) which wont handle HD, i think i'll grab a cheap dual core setup, which should be beefy enough...

I'm also tempted by these combo drives - they're down to about £140 at the moment, so all bases should be covered, then i guess i'm just down to software to get blueray playing correctly

Thanks for your post, this has swung it for me - i'm keeping the barco (has had a new green 18 months or so ago and has 2500hrs) and is in excellent condition and throws a cracking picture so I have no plans to go digital till the old girl dies, which i hope isn't for another 10 years - maybe digis will be on a par by then!!!!

I'll let you know how things go...
 

Alaric

Well-known Member
Hi There,

The only thing i've really noticed is when running [email protected] is that the fans kick up another gear like they can do in the summer so (also if the heating is too high) so i tend to need to stick my ducting unit that i bought for the boxing in on - I have cold air ducted in rather than sucking walm air out and that works quite well as the fans drop back down and its quieter in my case....All i need to do is to re-fix the boxing i'd made from when i nudge the PJ forward by using the HD145's

HD is certainly better than SD, even on a mid range 8"er !

cya,
Lee
 

wilders

Banned
Just rebuilt my hcpc, coreduo 1.8, blueray drive etc, and wow, this is impresive, running at 1280x720, the sharpness of the image is absolutely excellent, as alaric said, this seems like a pj upgrade!!!
Only have 2 blueray films at the moment, casino royale looks the nutz!!!

I have a problem though - spiderman3 only has truehd soundtrack, which i cant pass over spdif, so am looking at going the analogue cable route for sound...which will also mean a soundcard upgrade......

Ah well.....something else to spend my hard earnt on.... :)

Getting there......slowly....
 

wilders

Banned
Bought a prelude soundcard, running analogue out to the denon 3801 ext in, i must admit it sounds the nuts....whether its because i'm listening to a truehd soundtrack over analogue im not sure but it sounds better than the spdif solution i was running, so am well pleased I've made the switch to Blueray, both pq & sound are excellent :)

Shame TheaterTek dont do a BD player, but this will do for now :)
 

Barcoing Mad

Active Member
Analogue out from a good card decoding a lossless codec can sound brilliant. It made me realise how far PCs had come when I was mucking around with lossless WMA on WMF9 discs a while back.
 

Alaric

Well-known Member
Hi there,

Did not think that PowerDVD could pass lossless, thought it down samples ???

Also do you have bass management, indervidual volume control and indervidual chanel delays on the Prelude then ??? I had an RME HDSP card with analogue outs and while quality wise it was better, the lack of control actualy made the movie expiriance quite poor for me....

ta,
Lee
 

Alaric

Well-known Member
Hi there,

Just picked up an X-Fi Pro which is supposed to have controls, however being an ebay special its missing discs and as such the THX console which does that stuff...*sigh*

Still on spdif and 5.1, but that sounds better than standard DD/DTS from a DVD, so still an improvement on HD.

cya,
Lee
 

Alaric

Well-known Member
Hi There,

Oddly creative seem to be very tight with thier apps....The drivers are on the web site, but not things like the THX console that does apear to do indervidual channel delay & volume and bass management (crossover sub redirection) which is good....Haven't had a chance to play as i just downloaded it (BitTorrent) and installed it...but ran out of time as i was had people over to watch stuff.

I have heard of speaker oddities with the early installations of Arcsoft's player....But i had issues with other stuff before i really got to try it properly in my system.

Interestingly i belive the THX console can also swap speaker asignments...I was quite impressed by the options. On initial listenings the X-fi certainly sounded nice, don't think its quite up with the RME HDSP though....

cya,
Lee
 

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