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HTPC DVD Playback

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Bluestraw, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. Bluestraw

    Bluestraw
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    I'm thinking of setting up a HTPC to go with a nice new LCD 32" (not bought yet - maybe new Philips 9830 when it comes out!)... I am still a bit of a novice, and I'm not sure the best way to feed DVDs to my new set...

    To me, there seem 3 options - 1 is to feed 480i from the DVD player and let the TV upscale, 2 is to feed an upscaled 720p image from a suitable DVD player, and 3 is to playback via HTPC. Can someone with experience please tell me more about (3)? Does the PC do as good a job at upscaling as a good standalone DVD player?

    Any help much appreciated :lease:
     
  2. originalbadboy

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    A PC should always be the best option out of the three you have listed.

    480i will look terrible on an LCD, and kind of defeats the object. 720p from a DVD player will probably give you a good picture quality, but I suppose it really depends on the player used.

    From personal experience (and I dont have any practical expereince of choice 2), I would always go with the HTPC solution.

    You will have more control over how the picture is being reproduced, you wont have to worry about dvd regions, and as long as it is set up ok, it will look a hundred times better than any dvd player you can buy.

    The only disavantage is getting the thing set up to your liking. If your not into tweaking, or playing around with PC software, customisation etc, then you may be better off with a 720p dvd player.
     
  3. phfjones

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    This is a similiar situation mine.

    I have a three year old Denon 2800 MkII or I can use a Dell Dimension with a JVC DVD Drive with a Radeon 9800 Card with a component out convertor. If I use the HTPC, what settings should I be looking at changing, and what is the best sofware DVD player? I have VLC and Power DVD 6, and they seem OK, but changing the setting can be difficult.

    I got this for the HD movies, and Gladiator in HD is fantastic!!! However, ny back catalogue DVD's are in SD, hence the question.

    Grateful for any assistance.

    Paul
     
  4. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Bluestraw:

    The first thing you need to ascertain is what the native resolution of the TV is, this is important (as is whether it will accept that resolution from an external source, some can't).

    Second, does it have a digital input (ie. DVI+HDCP or HDMI)?

    If the answers are 1280x720p and YES then probably the easiest solution is to get a DVD player capable of outputting that resolution .. look in the DVD player forums for more info.

    If it doesn't have that native resolution then it become more complicated and an HTPC could be the preferred solution since it can probably be persuaded to output that size and will offer an excellent DVD playback using either PowerDVD or TheaterTek.

    However, IMHO and IMX while an HTPC will give a better PQ than low/mid DVD players it's only when you get to 40"+ plasmas or projection systems that the difference becomes really noticeable and worth the time and effort needed to set up and tweak/twiddle and HTPC into life.


    Paul:

    The key to getting first-rate PQ out of an HTPC for SD material is FFDSHOW, there's a raft of information about this in this forum .. again, depending on the abilities of your display.

    What format is your Gladiator HD in?

    I think the majority consider TheaterTek to be the 'best' player, it's certainly very good when feeding FFDSHOW using the NVidia codecs and works great with ATIs.
     
  5. phfjones

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    Thanks Robin,

    I'll get a copy of Theatertek! Gladiator is in 1080i and as you will see from my Signature I am projecting from an excellent iVision HD 720 native projector, and I want to get a DVD to output the best resolution possible.


    How do I tweak the graphics card to output 720p onan ATI card (if it can be done). As I have said the card is a Radeon ATI 128mb Card.

    Thanks for your help so far.

    Paul
     
  6. probedb

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    Hi Paul,

    It depends how you're connected to the projector? If it's a VGA cable you should be able to select 1280x720 as a mode for it and maybe change the refresh if necessary. If it's component you should be able to do a similar thing.

    As for setting stuff up, particularly DVDs, I found this link very useful!

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=469093

    Cheers,

    Paul.
     
  7. phfjones

    phfjones
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    Great link. You have helped here and on my previous question regarding the video card, which I have duly ordered. Excellent!

    Paul
     
  8. Bluestraw

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    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for the input. I will in any case be using a HTPC to output HD material (which I have 'acquired'!), so my question was really whether this would also give great DVD playback, or whether a standalone would be better. Sounds like that is a resounding 'yes' - and I'm totally up for the 'tweaking' to make it work!

    One thing that did confuse me is your comment about not being worth it for screens <40"... Surely HD resolution IS totally noticeable on a 32" screen, compared to SD? Or are you saying that, as long as there is some sort of upconversion to 720p, the finer detail added by a HTPC when making that conversion isn't really noticeable on such a screen, compared to using a reasonable DVD player upconversion?

    Thanks for the help so far - I really appreciate it!
     
  9. KraGorn

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    Yes. :)

    On my system .. 720p DLP projector on to a 92" screen .. the difference between my HTPC and a Momitsu V800 scaling to 720p (both via DVI) was noticeable but when I reduced the projected image size to around 40" as an experiment one time then the difference became less noticeable.

    However, if you're prepared to fight the system to get several bits of software playing nice together .. video drivers, mpeg decoders, DVD player, FFDSHOW, maybe Reclock .. then you will get a better PQ than a standalone player, just don't expect it to be 'night and day' on a display of that size.

    Since you'll be having a PC for HD playback in any case then the only expense you'll have would be for TheaterTek (over and above whatever HD player you use, though TT can also lay .TS files) so it's not a great outlay to try it.

    FFDSHOW has been discussed many, many times on here .. I've contributed to a thread or two :D .. so there's plenty of advice on how to set it up available.
     
  10. probedb

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    No problem :)
     

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