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Hooking up PC to Plasma?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Xstyle, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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    Is it worth getting a seperate PC and hooking that up to the plasma (PDP-435XDE) and having it as WIFI for broadband... with wireless keyboard and mouse... so can use the plasma as the screen.

    PC to be installed as part of the Home Cinema?


    Is it worth doing that?
     
  2. Epoman

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    I did that for a while and it was cool to play around on the internet on such a big screen. I simply used an old PIII with a wireless keyboard/mouse. Powers that be however decided that the PC looked ugly in the living room and it has now been banished to the garage :(
     
  3. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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    How did u do it?

    I am having a custom AV Home Cinema built, into my wall... with all equipment in a cabinet IN the wall.

    Would I be able to put the PC in there?

    Would I lose some functionality of the PC by not being able to access it all the time, as its hidden?

    How would I be able to play games on it? Can u get a wireless Joystick?

    Suppose it would only be good for surfing the net ...in an expensive way??

    (I haven't even got a PC at home at the mo!)
     
  4. davegtt

    davegtt
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    I did this last night connected the PC to the Panasonic Viera I recently bought. Superb I though, now I can watch all the divx movies on it :D only problem I cant get any sound, take it 'll have to get a 3.5" jack lead to phono for the sound. looked good quality though
     
  5. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    You can get some PC's that look agreeable in a living room. I use an Asus Digimatrix PC in conjunction with my Hitachi 5300 plasma, and the Digimatrix looks more like a DVD player than a PC. Obviously I use it with a wireless keyboard and mouse which I stow away when the PC is not in use. Obviously a PC as small and neat as the Digimatrix won't have the same functionality that a desktop PC will have (no space for PCI cards), but it does have a built-in DVD playback, 10/100 and 1Gb Wi-fi, Firewire, USB2.0, 6 channel audio, and a camera card reader built-in, as well as (rudimentary) FM and TV reception, so you might not need to add much more.
     
  6. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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    Nick ... so only real functionality for you is DVD's... and surfing the net?
     
  7. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    To be honest, I don't use it for watching DVD's (although I did play a couple to test it). The DVD unit that you get in this PC is similar to the types found in laptops, because there isn't room on the front panel for a full-size DVD. I use the PC mainly for surfing the net, and listening to internet radio via the wi-fi connection. If you did want to watch DVD's on this PC, I don't see why you shouldn't. I just happen to have three other DVD players :)
     
  8. newstuart

    newstuart
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    Ive got a media center pc and its replaced everything else in my set up

    it does

    1)dvd recorder
    2)Personal video recorder (32 hours of tv on hard drive)
    3)View all my pictures on plasma
    4)store my DVDs on hardrive and use as a jukebox with image of DVD case in
    a libary
    5)DITTO with my music collection
    6)radio (internet and normal)
    7)2 week tv guide(microsoft downloads automatically) just click on a program to record

    All of this by one remote control in a nice DVD player size box that my cable tv feeds into and the PC controls that 2 !!

    all for approx £1000 best money i spent on my home cinema in a long time

    pic quality is excellent as pc upscales everything
    5.1 digital output straight to my amp
     
  9. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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    I'll have the Pioneer 868 for dvd's
    and the Pioneer AX5ai amp/receiver for FM music.


    so is it worth me spending loads on a pc just for internet on the Plasma?


    Can I buy a laptop (as I would anyway too) and hook that up to the Pioneer Plasma 435XDE (media box has a PCMIA slot or whatever that does) ... without any wires?

    http://www.pioneer.co.uk/uk/product_detail.jsp?product_id=8899&taxonomy_id=62-63
     
  10. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    If you only want to surf the net, get a laptop and plug it into the PC input on the front of your Pioneer. There is a VGA/XGA 15 pin socket on the front for doing just that. I don't know of an easy way to do it without wires.
     
  11. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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    What is it? Got a link to it on the web?

    Sounds interesting. Esp point 7 ... to automatically record your TV programs (wouldn't need Sky + then! ...yet anyway)
     
  12. newstuart

    newstuart
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    if you google "media center pcs" or "the green button" youll get all the info you need.
    Better still if you have a local pc world they do them as well as most pc manufactures.
    Plus you can go in and have a play around with them.

    When i set up mine i ran a Svid lead from my cable box to plasma and then the pc signal to the plasma (with the cable box connected to pc) and you wouldnt believe it
    was the same signal the picture is on a par with DVD quality honestly.

    Also as with sky plus this will record a whole series and you can search by genre of program (say all action movies in TV guide for example) then just press ok to record
    then if you want to keep it permantly you back it up to a dvd and remove from the hardrive
     
  13. Rambles

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  14. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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    Where's your PC hidden??

    Why connect cable box to plasma, AND the PC ... so u don't have to have the pc on all the time?

    Does the PC improve the scaling of the picture from cable box?
     
  15. jasonl

    jasonl
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    if you're only going to use it mainly for surfing the web, its not gonna be practical, id say just go get a laptop and use that for surfing....its going to be cool though on the first few weeks

    but if you wanna make it the center of your entertainment room, then it "might" be worth all the trouble, depending on how you want the HTPC to act

    lots of things can be done using these HTPC and its might be off topic here,so why not visit the HTPC forums http://www.avforums.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=46 and http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=26
     
  16. newstuart

    newstuart
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    No sorry I didnt explain very well. i only ran the S Vid lead initally to see the difference
    in PQ,not as a permanent fixture, the PC stays on all the time.
    Yes the pc upscales the cable feed before outputing via VGA
     
  17. jasonl

    jasonl
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    xstyle,

    he's probably using the PC as a scaler for the cable tv, with the right hardware and software and the right configuration, HTPCs can be very good scalers

    hth
     
  18. Rambles

    Rambles
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  19. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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  20. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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    I'm thinking maybe getting Sky+ would be better.... and just hook up the Laptop to the Pioneer plasma's media box instead...

    A) Cheaper
    B) Better programs (than Freeview)
    C) Don't see the point of having Sky+ and a HTPC

    Will just buy a kick-a$$ laptop with WIFI, and hook that up to surf the net.
    However, is there ANYWAY that I can hook up to the media box WITHOUT any wires?

    Surely, there's gotta be a way?
     
  21. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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  22. KraGorn

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    Yes, if you're prepared to work at it and the hardware and software are willing to play ball. :) .. however my experience is with a 92" projection system , most recently using an Optoma H77, I've no idea whether a plasma would show up the differences anything like so clearly.

    I've posted a couple of comments recently about my problems with HTPCs and why I'm going back to my 868, but most will tell you it's easy with a bit of effort, you'll have to judge for yourself but my HTPC can produce a better picture on my equipment than the 868 when everything is working well .. the problem is that things often don't work well.

    One thing though is that if you have a PC already with enough 'poke', a P4 3G as a minimum, then you can add the bits and pieces fairly cheaply to see if you like the solution.
     
  23. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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    What HTPC did you have? Make & Model, and Price?

    I've just placed an order for the Pio DV868, and have just had Sky+ installed.
    (I will upgrade that hard drive to 250gb when I can) but I also want to be able to copy the programmes onto DVD disc.

    My other option was the Pioneer 920 dvd recorder...? See:
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=170979
     
  24. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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    I'm thinking about this HTPC again... (uh-oh) lol

    I now have Sky+ and the Pioneer 868 dvd player.

    I would get a pc now to use as
    - surfing the web (wireless keyboard etc)
    - a scaler for Sky+
    - dvd recorder / hard-drive

    A few more concerns though:
    Q1: is it possible to hook up the Sky box to the PC for downloading the programmes?
    Q2: Can the PC work with a Programmable remote control, such as Pronto or Marantz?

    I look forward to your insight...
     
  25. JonMace

    JonMace
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    Q1 Yes - Make sure you get analogue tuners not digital

    Q2 Yes
     
  26. chrise

    chrise
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    From my point of you a media room PC had to wait until a reasonably quiet and goodlooking unit was available. The DMS II I bought from HiGrade fills the role well, acting as a PC for web use, (great on a plasmaat 3 metres). Also acts as a household music server (brilliant with Napster) , DVD player and DVD recorder. It could act as a PVR but Sky+ is better as lousy terrisitral reception here.

    Finally I see the point in music "visualisations" when you have the music through a decent amp and a 42inch screen :cool:
     
  27. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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    I've got Sky+ ... that's a digital tuner? (?)
    [edit] The DMS II below has twin analogue tuners... you cannot connect a ditital source (Sky+) to another digital source (HiGrade are bringing out a new version that will have twin digital tuners, but can't connect Sky to those)
    [/edit]


    Cheers ... seems good. I found info here... just over a grand.
    http://www.higrade.com/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=3526

    [edit]and here:
    http://www.higrade.com/nqcontent.cfm?a_id=3254
    That is "LUSH !"[/edit]

    I take it the Pioneer 868 DVD player would still be better than the dvd player in the PC (I've only just bought the 868!!!)

    Another question:
    Q3: Is it possible to have a laptop do all the above (Q1 & Q2)?
    Advantages would be:
    - have it tucked away and connected up to the rest of the AV gear,
    - be able to take it out & disconnect EASILY for use as a laptop (so that the wife can watch TV when I wanna be on here!)
     
  28. Xstyle

    Xstyle
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    What is needed to make the PC into a scaler for Sky+?

    HiGrade did not know what I was talking about...
     
  29. KraGorn

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    Replying as requested. :)

    Can't really help with things like cable/satellite connecting, I once had my NTL STB connected via a Sweetspot using DScaler for processing but in those days I hadn't learned the delights (!) of software scaling and so by default used the graphics card for scaling.

    As I see it there are two problems with laptops that make them poor for many HTPC applications. First, lack of digital video outputs. DVI seems rare to the point of non-existence from the little research I did. Second, even with an on-board 9700 for example you still don't often have the processing power capable of making full use of the PC's ability as a processor, ie. FFDSHOW. You're thus left using hardware mode for DVD playback which IMX is usually inferior to a mid-range player like the 868.

    I admit I've never tried a laptop so this is conjecture based on looking at specs. and using a laptop for software development duties.

    I now rarely use my HTPC, preferring instead my Pio 868 into a Lumagen scaler, on its' own the 868 wasn't as good as my highly tweaked HTPC but it was a LOT more convenient .. just press 'Power' and 'Play'. :) Via the Lumagen it beats the PC.

    This is feeding an Optoma H77 on to a 92" screen, the H77 is pretty good quality and reproduces good image detail, meaning image imperfections are also clear, and with a projected image that size the details are more easily seen. On something like a 42" plasma I'd expect the difference to be less noticeable.
     
  30. chrise

    chrise
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    The disadvantage of a WMC PC like the DMS II is that you are limited to s-video for input from a box like the sky+ so the question of using it to scale the input is rather theoretical. I connect the sky+ directly to my plasma using RGB scart.
     

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