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Help - Confirmation Required

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by tbrar, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Firstly a MASSIVE thanks to Rob Screene, who again visited my residence to demonstrate a well set up HCPC. This is his third visit in all, two of which Rob has spent some extremely valuable time with me on my set up with his HCPC as I endevour to the best scaling option for my panel. Truly thankfull to a very knowledgable enthusiast !.

    The choices are a HCPC built around a HOLODIIGRAPH and HD-AUX hardware acting as scaler and a HCPC built by Phil from UVEM running Theatertek as the software player. With Rob's set up we were able to demonstrate both the TT and the H3D approach.

    Bear in mind also I have Lumagen Vision for my Video Source (ie Digital TV) deinterlacing and scaling, and I am not a DVD extra's fan. The HCPC would be used as a Video Processor for viewing movies in the best manner on my Pioneer 433MXE.

    For the demo we ran DVI into the panel and switched between Theatertek and H3D for comparisons, graphics were provided by a Radeon 9500. Rob also has 256 Mb RAM, Pentium 4 2.0 Ghz Processor based Upon 845G Board, M-AUDIO Audiophile 2496 soundcard.

    Running in an 1024 x 768 (native) at 75Hz for PAL and 71.94 Hz for NTSC (the second is an 'I beleive ?'), Theatertek to me was better and has blown away my preconceptions that a software player just would not cut it.

    On some pans the H3D was a bit better, but only very slightly, and I did not feel warranted enough of an improvment for me to pay the extra funds for a H3DII/AUX set up as it was really a tiny amount on some scenes. Also generally TT seemed to give a better PQ. Granted though this was a H3DI, perhaps a H3DII would be better - I dont know. I also liked the size/aspect ratio control (minor tweaking is all I want to do) that TT offered, perfect for my needs.

    For comparisons we also tested audio output with my Arcam DVD 88+, again even though I am a proponent for my Arcam's audio, I really couldnt tell any difference it was six on one, half a dozen of the other.....

    So my question is, before I look to pull the trigger with Phil from Uvem, why would I not go for a software based HCPC solution ???. ie is there anyone that advises against it and why?. What else would you recommend?. What about HDCP content in the future, is a software player going to limit me in this respect ??

    Please advise as I am going to spend the last of some cash on this solution, which ever I opt for and it represents a longer term purchase for me than my origanal panel purchase did. I want a solution that will meet/easily adapt as my requirments as viewing demands while also gives me an uncompromsing performance today

    ............hence fairly standard requirments :smashin: !.


    Tony
     
  2. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Not to worry, just ordered ! :smashin:
     
  3. Kramer

    Kramer
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    Yes, but what did you decide?

    Best of luck either way :)

    For what it's worth, I recently saw Meep's HCPC feeding a CRT projector. Holo H3D, X-card, PDI etc...

    The best panning I've ever seen :eek:

    Maybe the fact it was feeding a CRT helped, but man oh man was I impressed.
     
  4. tbrar

    tbrar
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    [EDITED - AS CHANGED SPEC]

    Kramer,

    I should have mentioned I have decided to go down the the route of a software player, Theatertek, running upon H/W provided built by Phil from UVEM. The bones of the system are as follows:-
    [size=0.5]
    Intel P4 3.0GHz/800MHz FSB CPU
    160GB Hard Disk (Seagate 7200.7)
    1024MB RAM (pair of 512MB/DDR400)
    Radeon 9600 Graphics card (fanless) with DVI
    M-Audio Revolution 7.1 24bit/192KHz sound
    Either Zalman 300A-APF, Seasonic SS-350FS or Enermax EG365AX-VE(G)(FMA) PSU (will be built with each to determine which is the queitist - quite good service !)
    Theatertek Software DVD Player
    Either Classic III Silver or Classic III Black Case (Yet to Finalise)
    [/size]

    Bearing in mind I had origanally dismissed a software player this is quite some turn around (I thought it just would not be good enough). Its just by chance that Rob wanted o try TT with upgrades that he had done and was gonna do a build for his own use. He kindly offered to show me on my panel.

    We really did put it through its paces on heaps of DVD's for both PAL & NTSC, lots of testing Pan's for both a H3D set up and TT. I was gobsmacked overall, but particularly by performance of TT. Which for me matched the HOLO on most Pan's, in some cases it even appeared better, though on some it was slighty worse. For some reason to me the over all appearence of the picture was more pleasing to the eye with TT.

    Another important factor for me was the level of control that TT gave me over picture size & posistion. I am quite particular (fussy !) hence liked this feature. Additionally and not to be over looked, is Lip Sync, TT eliminated this issue. Other factors in decision were:- over all cost of solution, ease of use (ie one calibration), flexibility, not being tied into any one specific HW, the solution would be used for Film Sources (not interlaced video) and the fact that the software could only improve with subsequent releases.

    On a seperate note Ill be going over to Rob's later today to see his CRT projector running with Theatertek and the Holo, so this should be interesting. I am now just very keen to get the thing delivered !! :smashin:


    Tony
     
  5. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Went to Robs to view a CRT PJ set up.

    Never see one before....

    BLIMEY ! :eek:
     
  6. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Hey thanks Tony!

    I for one was surprised at how much smoother the latest TheaterTek and other upgrades was.

    It really is quite flawless at pans as 75 and 71.928 for PAL and NTSC film DVD's respectively. (i.e flawless on a CRT, very, very, very good on Plasma via DVI).

    Since I last used TheaterTek, before I re-built around the holo3dgraph, the following HTPC changes have happened:

    TheaterTek 1.5.46 incl bundled windows m-audio lipsync patch.
    Radeon 9500/9600/9700/9800 DirectX9 cards.
    Radeon Catalyst 3.6 radeon drivers.
    Microsoft DirectX 9.0b.
    Microsoft Windows XP Home (I tried this before with TheaterTek, but not with the above).
    M-Audio sound drivers with lipsync fix (non-beta).

    I don't know what combinations of the above have helped, but it's really a nice improvement.

    Another surprising benefit was how smooth 1024x768@ 75 and @71.928Hz were in to the Plasma via DVI. No issues passing the panel those rates and pans seemed much cleaner than via VGA. I think this makes a Radeon 9600 HTPC a no-brainer for plasma/DVI users if all panels have DVI inputs working like this Pioneer.

    Last night I restored the holo3dgraph build environment and started re-calibrating tweeking to satisfy myself how the holo3d comapares to this vastly improved TheaterTek environment.

    TheaterTek is simple because it has only the one set of video setting adjustments and the 9,100,0,100 cliff settings are widely accepted as great.

    I'd also forgotten just how great the movie start bookmark, time-bar are, plus the new preferred audio selection. Absolute lip-sync regardless of refresh rate also helps, allowing me to tune pans to be smoothest without trading lip-sync.

    The holo3d requires the source player (X-card XMP via PDI), holo3d input black-level and white level, brightness and contrast to be adjusted, giving more margin for mis-settings.

    I settled on 500/500/500 in the XMP 2.0 (defaults are 600/500/500 now) then holo3dgraph at
    White-level 0.0 Black-level 2.0 and gamma 20.0 (probably because my projector was calibrated with an ancient WinDVD?)

    Setting t&r to 1440x960 @ 60KHz H/60Hz V helps pans, but I'd bet on checking those scens again, TheaterTek might now have the edge. Still much work to do on this.

    Obviously for checking my amps on-screen settings, X-Box games, playstation 2 and laserdisc, I'm a bit stuck. I'd really miss the holo3d app for selecting between analog inputs and the component input facility. I don't remember Dscaler allowing switching between input sources (multi-cards) very well when I once ran IDS Falcon plus a CX23381 capture card.

    Perhaps myHTPC will allow be to use TheaterTek for DVD's, and an easy solution to opening the holo3d for analog inputs? In the past I've used girder to automate closing TheaterTek and opening Dscaler, but it was never totally robust, sometimes one app wanted the overlay before the other had closed, even with a few waits in there.

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  7. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Hi Rob,

    What do these settings refer to in Theatertek ?, is it:- Brightness, Contrast, ???? , and Gamma?

    Its just that I came accross some different optimum values for Theatertek with Radeon, stating that;

    Brightness = 7.5
    Contrast = 100
    Gamma = 81

    and wondered which were correct, or am I barking MAD :confused: .

    Cheers


    Tony
     
  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Tony,

    I think the settigs you posted are the ones that I used for my HTPC. There was a huge war over at AVS between Jeff and others about what is correct. The scoped settings you see posted may be incorrect. You needto use test discs to set the useable range correctly.

    Gordon

    p.s. sounds like you had fun!
     
  9. philipb

    philipb
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    I concluded that TT was better than H3DII plus xcard via DVI into the 433. I feed my sky digibox through the H3DII, and PQ is superb, so I'm glad I have it even though TT is best for DVDs.
     
  10. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Tony, the numbers are quoted top to botton reading the video settings down.

    Gamma jumps and is not actually changed in such small amounts. You might find two different gamma values look the same. e.g 83/84 and than 85 might be different, etc.

    I'll post holo3d/tt comments in the existing topic...
    cheers,
    Rob.
     

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