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htpc or dvd

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by jasoncp, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. jasoncp

    jasoncp
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    Im about to buy a projector with the sanyo z1 looking like the favourite i only realy intend to use it for dvd use

    would i be better off just buying a progresive scan dvd or using a htpc

    i want optimum picture quality (i think the htpc would prob be better but would there be much in it?)

    also most of my dvds are region 1 if this makes any difference

    cheers for any help

    jason
     
  2. GaryG

    GaryG
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    A direct feed from your HTPC bypassing your projector's internal de-interlacer/scaler will give the best possible picture providing your projector supports it. A progressive scan player will not quite match the HTPC but it's a lot less hassle to operate. I've used a HTPC for a good few years and have now foresaken the picture quality for ease of use and switched to a DVD player, still got the HTPC though, just in case I need to give myself a 'fix'.
     
  3. donmc

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    I used a DVD player for the first week or two (not progressive mind you) and was well impressed with the picture. Out of curiosity, I plugged in a laptop not fully optimised and could see a difference straight away.

    I've now gone down the route of HTPC (£350) and a ProV for SKY\Tivo. Picture is excellent. Using TheaterTek as the DVD player and it's great especially for sorting out Aspect ratios automatically.

    What has suprised me is the amount of additional things I am starting to use the HTPC for:

    Gaming - Flight Sims are great on an 8' screen
    Music - As the HTPC is linked to my sound system I use it to playback MP3s (I don't fire up the PJ for this - I use Terminal Services from another PC)
    Photos - Most of my digital photos are on a share on my main PC. It's great to display them to a group using the PJ. Much better than prints or crowding round a monitor.
    Internet Access - The big screen enables "communal" web surfing!

    Not too fiddly to operate as I use a wireless mouse and keyboard and the TheaterTek software is driven by keyboard commands if necessary.
     
  4. Donnacha

    Donnacha
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    DonMC - I would be interested in your HCPC for £350 - what did you use? Would like one myself.

    Cheers

    Donnacha
     
  5. donmc

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    Hi, I bought all the bits from ebuyer.com and built it myself.

    I attach the list of parts and what I paid for them below together with the quickfind code.

    1 x BTC 9001ARF Wireless Internet Multimedia Keyboard 43976 £18.94
    1 x Liteon 16x48 IDE Internal DVD -OEM 29463 £25.26
    1 x 512MB PC133 SDRAM 22918 £28.80
    1 x Creative Audigy Card OEM 43068 £36.30
    1 x High Quality Round IDE Cable ATA100 60cm in Blue 36351 £2.63
    1 x ECS K7VMM Socket A ATX SDR/DDR Audio/Video/LAN 36862 £41.66
    1 x JNC SJA-520 ATX Midi Tower Case with 300w PSU & Front Panel USB Ports 43654 £14.75
    1 x AMD ATHLON XP2100+ 266MHz FSB 36843 £61.99
    1 x Thermal Grease x3 for CPUs in between Fan and CPU 27290 £2.15
    1 x Coolermaster DP5-6J31C Fan AMD Approved Upto XP & MP 2100 34834 £4.41
    1 x MS Sidewinder Precision 2 v1 USB for WindowsNT Windows9x 17483 £23.14
    1 x Radeon 7500 128Bit 64Mb DDR DVi+TV-Out - Retail Box 33751 £37.99

    Total inc VAT = £350.17
     
  6. Donnacha

    Donnacha
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    Fantastic!! Cheers for that - plenty of food for thought!
     
  7. donmc

    donmc
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    No problem - Don't forget to budget for:

    Operating System - I used XP Pro
    DVD software - I used TheaterTek
    Powerstrip - Resolution tweaking software

    Cheers
    Don
     
  8. johnkay

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    donmc would your pc be good for sony hs10 or would you have to change things for different projectors. Also is the sound dolby/dts 5.1. is the dvd multi-region. is it a quite pc. Could I get the local computer shop to build one for me, would that be expensive, my local computer shop sell a 1.2 ghz @£299 but I have not checked out the full specs.
    Sorry about all the questions but am toying with the idea of htpc.
     
  9. donmc

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    Some good questions!!

    I presume it would be fine, powerstrip sorts out the resolution matching. May be worth getting confirmation from other HS10 owners though
    I use the digital SP/DIF out from the card straight into a DD amp. 5.1 seems fine. The card also can do its own decoding so you can connect 5.1 speakers to it. Not sure of DTS as my amp doesn't do DTS. I think it will be OK though.
    Not out of the box but there are firmware bios updates but I haven't got round to doing this yet
    This is a standard PC so it isn't that quiet. I actually have the PC located in another room than the PJ so it doesn't matter to me. You can get new PSUs and other sound removing components if this is an issue.
    Probably, but it really is easy to do your own.

    As far as the £299 pc is concerned check out the graphics card. Most HTPC owners seem to specify the Radeon range

    Cheers
    Don
     
  10. johnkay

    johnkay
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    donmc, thanks for you quick response, but just another point could I use my destop fujitsu- siemens pc 1.6ghz with a nvida geforce 2, 64mbit video card with tv out, just to get a taste of what the improvement is like. I did plug into the tv out (s-video) output from the pc into my projector but I got no picture,( presumably the radeon cards use DVI output the projector has a dvi input.) I have previously plugged the pc s-video output into the tv and it played ok.
     
  11. The Mekon

    The Mekon
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    I decided to build a system from the ground up for my HTPC.

    I used a Shuttle ss51g from microdirect.co.uk for the basis of this.

    The shuttle's are a bare bones system where you add a cpu, ram, hd and an AGP if you require DVI.

    The shuttles come with an on board audio card with has SPDIF out. It also has onboard graphics which, for non DVI users, is pretty good. They cost around £210.

    They are pretty small (8w*10h*16d inches), have a quiet fan option. Gas cooling for the processor as opposed to a fan and it looks pretty cool.

    I ended up using a 1.7G Celeron, 256M PC2700 memory, Radeon 7500, 40 G H/d and a pioneer Dvd (which is easy to flash).

    The sytem works well, dvd's play flawlessly with no loss of lip sync or noticeable layer change as I had on my old sony 725.

    The complete system cost around £400. I bought a wireless k/b and mouse for under £30 from malpin and that also has proved to be excellent

    I'm using Win2000 as my main i/f, with powerstrip for setting the screen resolution. DVD genie and Powerdvd sort out the playing side. The SPDIF o/p plumbs into my yamaha amp and that's about it. :D
     
  12. Harb

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    Well here is my new system which I finally fired up tonight.......

    Intel Pentium 2.26 533 FSB
    Thermaltake Volcano 7+ CPU Adjustable speed CPU Cooler fan
    Gigabyte P4 Titan 533 Motherboard (SoundBlaster Digital
    and Lan and RAID optioned)
    Motherboard Number is GA-8ihxp
    512 MB Latest PC 1066 RD RAM
    Adaptec 19160 Fast SCSI Adaptor IN BOX RETAIL PACK
    Seagate 40 GB 10,000 RPM LVD SCSI HARD DRIVE
    ATLAS SUPER FLOWER 8 FAN ALUMINIUM CASE FRONT USBS AND SOUND
    48 x 16 x 48 x ASUS CD RW (MT.RAINER COMPATIBLE)
    NEC 12 SPEED DVD
    FLOPPY DRIVE
    MICROSOFT Wireless PRO KEYBOARD
    MICROSOFT Wireless OPTICAL MOUSE
    MICROSOFT WINDOWS XP PROFESSIONAL PACK IN BOX
    WINDOWS XP PLUS FULL RETAIL SOFTWARE IN BOX
    GEFORCE 4 4400 TI 128 MB
    AverTvStudio Card

    I must say, so far so good........
    Only on the CRT monitor at the moment, till I pick up my Replacement AE-300 in Sydney tomorrow.
    Then I can try the DVI output.

    Cheers
    John
     
  13. donmc

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    Use the VGA out straight into the Pj if it supports it. The radeon do have a DVI connector but they come with a DVI -> VGA converter so you can plug standard VGA cable in.
     
  14. donmc

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    Use the VGA out straight into the Pj if it supports it. The radeon do have a DVI connector but they come with a DVI -> VGA converter so you can plug standard VGA cable in.
     
  15. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    A cheap way to quieten down the PSU part of a pc is to buy an 80mm Papst case fan to replace the noisy one in the PSU. It dropped over 5dbs from my sound meter (it went off the bottom of the scale so I've no idea what it was in total). I got mine from www.quietpc.co.uk. They also do cooling fans for cpus if you need something quieter.

    Provided you use a Radeon graphics card (preferably with DVI for future proofing), a 5.1 capable soundcard, and something like a 950mhz Duron as a minimum, you can actualy build an HTPC for £250. Making it quiet cost me a further £44 including postage.

    If you're going to use DScaler 4 for deinteralcing via a capture card, you might need something a little more powerful than a 950 Duron. I found 128m ram is enough to run DVDs, but you might need more for recording i.e like a Tivo.

    ebuyer.com has some very good prices so is always worth a look.

    Gary.
     
  16. Turl

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    Mekon,

    I'm toying with the idea of using a SB51G as the basis for my HTPC. Can you tell me if the built-in digital out on the Shuttle mainboard will output DD and DTS?.

    If this is the case I take it that DD EX and DTS-ES will also be supported. I hope this is the case because I was thinking that maybe I needed to take up the one PCI slot with a sound card such as the Audigy 2.

    Thanks,

    Turl
     

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