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How Different is a HTPC from a normal pc or dvd?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by mikeaitch, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. mikeaitch

    mikeaitch
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    I've just decided to upgrade my PC as I was running a seriously old rig.

    Processor will be an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Winchester 90nm 939
    1gb Geil dual mem,
    Abit AV8 939 mobo, Coolermaster Hyper48 cooler
    MaxtorDiamondMax PLus 10 200GB
    Sony Dual layer DVD+/- ReWriter
    Tagan TG480-U01 480W Silent PSU

    Radeon 9800 Pro xt graphics card
    Windows XP

    Peviously was 750 MHz AMD

    Should I hijack it to run my Projector- I want HDTV and DVD as well as sky

    Or buy a Lumagen or similar with my dvd players?

    Thinking of using TheaterTek, maybe a Sweetspot SDI for my other sources

    Is the Radeon the best card still?

    Oh, and the HS20 will soon be upgraded to the HS50 or Optoma H77...
     
  2. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    I have a 6800GT-based HTPC using TheaterTek and am considering getting a Lumagen to connect my Pio 868 to my H77 .. so I'm looking at going the other route, just so you know where I'm coming from. :)

    That said, the 9800 will be fine, get TheaterTek and FFDSHOW and you'll have a great PQ with it, a 6800/6600 will provide an incremental improvement if you're going to be projecting large, say 80"+ 16:9.

    How such a setup would compare to a DVD->scaler I don't know, I'm hoping to get a Lumagen on loan to try, the main thing though is getting 480i/576i out of the DVD player as that AIUI is key to getting the best out of the scaler .. either SDI or via HDMI such as the 868 can do.

    Arguably the HTPC is a lot more flexible, I personally though am getting fed up with updated codecs, graphics drivers etc. just to get everything playing happily together .. then there are issues like image tearing, audio glitches, suttering, 50hz/60hz issues etc.

    It IS possible to get a superb PQ rom a PC, it can just take a lot of fiddling depending on your needs.
     
  3. mikeaitch

    mikeaitch
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    Thanks Kragorn, just the kind of insight I'm after! :smashin:

    Does anybody else agree?

    I was thinking of 'borrowing' the new pc to put through my pj to see for myself, but, like you, I have never seen a scaler 1st hand to compare. I can build a new HTPC for around £7-800 specifically for my chosen pj, but that's the majority of the price for a new Lumagen .

    Does everybody use their HTPC just for DVD or do all the other sources go through it as well?
     
  4. silentbob

    silentbob
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    I can fully identify with the concerns raised by Kragorn.

    Owning an HCPC can be a rewarding experience, however it can also be the most frustrating thing in the world!

    A simple rule of thumb is, if you really cannot be bothered to fiddle at quite a complex level than owning an HCP probably is not for you. If however, fiddling is one of the joys of HomeCinema, you may actually enjoy the experience.

    To give you some idea, after 2 months of owning one, I have only recently got everything looking thet way I want it to. Again though, when you compare the PQ with a standard Prog Scan DVD player, it really is in a different league.

    Also bear in mind that one of the main reasons for going the HCPC route for me initially was to play HiDef media. And despite Consumer Electronics catching up fast, there isn't a standalone box that I would be confident of playing the range of media I throw at my PC.

    BTW Kragorn, keep us informed of your Lumagen loan, I'll be interested to hear about your experiences.
     
  5. hebawom

    hebawom
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    I really can't see KraGorn's argument.
    For me, it took a couple of weeks of tweaking, until I found that I was very (VERY!) happy with the picture quality. I don't constantly search for updated codecs and drivers etc. When I get in from work, I have a cup of hot chocolate, insert a disc and enjoy using the same settings that I always use.

    Also, I recieve TV channels, radio channels, my full mp3 collection, play CD's (rare these days!), DivX, XviD. I bought a PVR capture card as well, so now I can timeshift live TV, record TV programs on my harddrive etc, the list goes on and on. Also, this year, I'm going to get hold of Windows Media Centre Edition with remote control, so that I'll only need one fully integrated program to run all of my media needs, and no more getting out of my settee (except to insert ROM media!).

    I can't see that there is really any other way to go than the HCPC route!!
    If you are going to build one, make sure you make it as quiet as possible. My CPU fan with be upgraded sometime soon because of this very reason.
     

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