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HTPC SPEC ? For feeding PLV-Z2 / 3803

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by chris l., Mar 13, 2004.

  1. chris l.

    chris l.
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    Dear All,

    Having listened to various generally positive comments on HTPC and played a few of the WM9 720p / 1080i clips, I've decided that I will build one and see how it compares to my Denon 2200.

    I'm looking to build a HTPC for feeding a PLV-Z2 via DVI and 3803 via digital coax.

    I've built my own general spec pc's in the past, just by getting the next to the top spec on all parts etc.

    I'm well aware of the general need for silence in the finished product (not a consideration I have had on past builds, ie current general spec pc having 4 fans sucking / blowing to keep it cool in its cupboard). Also I’m currently running a Radeon (seems to be a popular HTPC choice) 9600 but just because that’s what I bought, not because I appreciated any tech spec etc.

    I would very much appreciate comments / opinions on a pc spec (hardware / software) that would do justice when feeding my Z2 projector via DVI an image 1280x720 and a digital coax feed in dts/dd to my Denon 3803.

    I will also look very naive I think when I ask the question. Do you rip the DVD to the hard drive for playback or do you play the DVD direct from the DVD drive ? I guess it’s the hard drive play, but this leads to my next question.

    When you rip the DVD to the hard drive does it automatically take the dd/dts signal also ?

    If their is a web site on basic HTPC ie a-b step by step a link would be very much appreciated.

    Oh, if I have keystoning in effect (Z2 is ceiling mounted) will this significantly alter the quality of pic as the Z2 is obviously re-scaling the feed to suit the projection. Is it a case to get / see 1-1 pixel mapping the Z2 has to be projecting at right angles to the screen along the dead centre axis ?

    Thanks in advance.

    Regards.

    Chris L.
     
  2. owain_thomas

    owain_thomas
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    You can do either, ripping to HD will make it quieter (you don't have the DVD drive running), but there are plenty of quiet DVDs out there if you don't want the expense/hassle of storing all you dvds on disk.

    You can easily rip a DVD as a full copy of the disk, it would have all the soundtracks, extras, subtitles, etc on it. The sound is actually part of the same file on the disk so splitting it would require more effort than keeping it intact.

    Not that I know of, maybe someone else can help, TBH it's not that hard if you have already built your own PC then you've got most of the know-how and the rest can be picked up from here and www.avsforum.com

    You're lucky with the Z2, it has a lens shift feature so you can mount the PJ off-centre and, as long as it's aligned perpendicular to the screen the image can be square with no need for keystoning. Keystoning would probably have a detremental effect on the image quality.

    HTH
    owain
     
  3. zAndy1

    zAndy1
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    Ok, as for spec, I'd go for a P4 2.8C CPU, quite cheap and easily overclockable and will do hidef. Motherboard , I've got an Asus P4P800 and an Abit IC7 in my PCs and both will do the job very well. If you want ethernet lan for broadband get a motherboard with onboard LAN.
    Hard drive get as big as you can afford, 160GB or more are getting very affordable these days so I'd go for one of those if poss (plenty of room for DVD rips). Seagate barracudas are very quiet although I don't think that's true of the SATA ones so be careful.
    Soundcard, tough one, I have an Maudio Revolution which sounds fantastic and has a coaxial digital output for passing DD/DTS to my amp, recommended but support perhaps questionable.
    Graphics card, Radeon 9600 as fanless and cheap and ideal for DVD playback.
    Then just get a DVD Rom drive (Pioneer are usually reliable) and if you want one get a DVD writer drive (I've got NEC 2500A which is an 8x writer, can be had for less than £100 I think). Memory get 512MB of PC3200 Ram, crucial or Corsair or something, get 2 sticks of 256MB for dual channel operation. Put it all together, get Theatertek on it (recommended although not free).
    You can rip the DVD to your hard drive or you can play it from the DVD drive, you have to balance HD space and convenience I guess. If you use DVD Profiler you can build a database of your DVDs by just entering the serial numbers (will get covers and info automatically). You can then import the DVD Profiler database into something like xlobby and if you have any of the DVDs on your hard drive it will load them as online DVDs and play them from the HD when you click on the cover in Xlobby. You can also set Xlobby to play a random VOB trailer before playing the movie!
    As regards 1-1 pixel mapping, doesn't matter where the projector is pointing, you just set the resolution to 1280x720 and that's it. Best not to use Keystone if you can help it as it does affect image quality adversely but sometimes it can't be avoided.
    That's just a quickie overview, if you need any more help just fire away..

    Cheers,
    Andy.
     
  4. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    As the others have said, keystone correction is bad ... in fact it's VERY bad and to a large extent defeats the object of achieving 1:1 mapping in the first place, which is to eliminate the built-in scaler on the Z2 which like most low/mid projectors is pretty average ... the point is that it's the scaler that's used to perform the keystone correction.

    The Z2's lens shift really should mean you don't need to have a keystone problem to begin with, although it does mean the projector's placement can be a little more difficult to accomodate, but eliminating keystone correction is very definitely worth it.

    As for the power of the PC you need, for DVD-only playback nothing more than a 2Gz is needed, the lesser power the less heat to deal with in as near a silent fashion as possible. However, if you want to play the HD stuff that's beginning to appear in WM9 format a 2.8GHz is more the order of the day, as Andy mentioned.

    To rip DVDs you need something like DVD Shrink or DVD Decrypter, the first one can also copy DVDs by re-compressing to fit on single-layer DVD+-Rs, while the second one will rip to the hard disk in-tact (or movie only as you wish) ... for just playing off hard disk you won't want to re-compresses so you preserve original quality.
     

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