HTPC vs Standalone Blueray/HD Players

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by iiraaa, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. iiraaa

    iiraaa
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    Hi there,

    I am about to build a HTPC but before I spend my cash on all the components I was wondering what video quality I could expect from an HTPC compaired to the available standalone players. I shall be playing this through a PT-AE2000E (full HD projector) and feeding it via hdmi. Sound will be handled off the mobo via digital to my amp (may consider a seperate sound card later) I also want to add a TV tuner later but not decided on which yet.

    One final point is would the 2Ghz proc be powerful enough for an HTPC - this is not a games machine.

    The components I was thinking of purchasing are below:

    gfx 1 NVIDIA Fanless 8500GT 256MB DDR2 PCI-E *HDMI*
    HDD 1 SpinPoint HD103UJ F1 1000GB SATA-II 32MB Cache (OEM)
    proc 1 Intel Core 2 Duo E2180 "LGA775 Conroe" 2.00GHz (800FSB)
    mem 1 Corsair 2GB DDR2 XMS2 DHX PC2-6400C4DHX TwinX (2x1GB)
    case 1 OrigenAE HTPC Aluminium S16V Black 116
    optical 1 LG GGC-H20L Blu-Ray Reader & HD-DVD ROM Serial ATA Drive - Retail
    psu 1 FL-550ATX Fanless 550W PSU
    mobo 1 Asus P5N-T Deluxe nForce 780i (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard

    Thank you very much for any info you can supply.

    martin
     
  2. Zarch

    Zarch
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    From comments i've read, people say there is no difference. (although i'm not 100% certain about the new HD audio formats, anyone???)

    And remember, you will also be able to play file based video clips from your HTPC over the standalone box, which is a massive draw imho.

    Personally i'd swap the 8500 for a ATI 2400XT card.

    As for your CPU i'd say it should be fine if you couple it with a 2400xt. Check out my performance thread for more info: http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=666171

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. iiraaa

    iiraaa
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    Thank you for the swift reply,

    I chose the nvidia card so that the drivers for it and the mobo were all one set. So should i just consider a little bit more power in 8500 and say move to a fanless 8600?

    Martin
     
  4. ducattigezzer

    ducattigezzer
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    IMO you should buy a standalone hd player and a ps3 for blu ray

    it would be nice to have a all in one HTPC set up but like any computer you will get more problems than from stand alone

    or to put it another way you can get a hd dvd player for @£150,then a PS3 [email protected]£300 so @£450
    with no hassle just plug and play

    as for the HTPC the componets alone will cost roughly that,then you have to put it together,make sure the software runs right and if you read through the forums about the amount of people who are having problems with their set ups it far out-ways the advantages of the HTPC

    and the end of the day it's your choice but i would read through the various threads on here about HTPC and your'll see what i mean.

    also just if you want to play file based just install linux on the ps3 and you can use vlc which will play any clips or moives that you throw at and you can still use the ps3 as a blu-ray player
     
  5. mrm3

    mrm3
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    HD audio is where the HTPC will be a let down...always something to spoil the party.
     
  6. spacefunk54

    spacefunk54
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    Hello martin & all,

    I am in the exact same predicament that you are in at the moment, based on some of the other comments on this thread. Just trying to make my mind up whether to build a HTPC or go standalone blu-ray player. I have an SXRD 55A2000 which only has 2 HDMI inputs and i am not ready to upgrade my pioneer 7.1 amp yet (no HDMI). I want one input for SKY-HD and the other input for everything else.

    I think if i was going to get a standalone i would wait for the BD profile 2.0 players (or BD live) to hit the market. The PS3 will probably upgrade to this final profile, but so far nothing is confirmed. This may change with the as yet un-released firmware update to the current model, which would still restrict you to bitstream HD audio over HDMI only - no analogue outputs! (plus i still refuse to buy a PS3 until sony bundle a rumble controller with the console, yes i know thats sad but hey! it should have been there along with the emotion engine chip for us UK consumers from day1!)

    I want the HD audio over analogue because im buying monitor audio BR6 surround speakers and want the best quality signal i can get through my current amp.

    This leads me back to my original question of HTPC...

    Is it possible to get the new HD audio formats from PC over analogue??
    This is a must if i'm going to spend the extra money on origenae s16v case and all the other components

    780i or x38 mobo (not decided - help??)
    8800 ultra or gt? which is best for HTPC? or ATI hd3780 looks good for x38??

    gonna go quad intel q6600 for the extra beef!!

    2GB corsair DDR2 1066Mhz

    same LG optical dual format drive as mentioned

    Surely this is the way!!! but why do i get the feeling i will fudge all this up somewhere eg. overscan settings on graphics card leading to HDCP problems or something like that.

    Just hurry up sony and release a profile 2.0 player with HD outputs!!
    :lease:
     
  7. spacefunk54

    spacefunk54
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    i meant ATI HD3870 sorry!
     
  8. Azzin

    Azzin
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    What makes you say that?

    Pretty much all HTPCs will have analogue out on the mobo for HD audio.
     
  9. Trancerii

    Trancerii
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    On the HD audio front it can be a bit of a complicated issue, more info Here
     
  10. Azzin

    Azzin
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    I absolutely agree with you that is definately more complicated than just plugging a standalone player into the mains then just plugging in an HDMI lead and an optical lead, but certainly not impossible. :smashin:
     
  11. Zarch

    Zarch
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    If this PC is just to be used for playing movies and general PC use then you don't need and 8800 or 3870 card, just a simple ATI 2400XT or above will suffice (ie 2600pro & 2600xt)

    Also, the quad core chip is a massive overkill for HTPC use. I've got 'everything' running on a E4400 and ATI 2600Pro with no problems. See this: http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=666171

    Hope this helps.
     
  12. mrm3

    mrm3
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    I guess 6 channel analog connection from sound card to receiver would do the job as I think powerdvd etc can do this. Anyway I said it was a let down not impossible. You will not get digital lossless sound so there is a compromise.

    I am not an expect on audio but just with 5.1 i have had had pains with MCE/HTPCs though usually work in the end !

    PS Just done a search and new Intel G35 motherboards can do 7.1 LPCM so just need the software? Also many things are on the way...

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=923826

    Good guide
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=751319
     
  13. IceHappy

    IceHappy
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    Hello Mate:hiya:
    Question by what premise do you make your statement that sound on an HTPC will let you down?

    Not a baited question but I have had htpc since Hauppauge invented TV Cards. I run the following equipment in my computer Sound Blaster Xtreme X-Fi Elite Pro
    Creative Labs Gigaworks S750 - 7.1 Digital Speakers.

    I am now considering adding a Blue-Ray/HD reader to my PC. The advantage here is being able to rip the media to hard drive and of course the price. As I see it the combined unit is less than £225!

    This brings of course the next question as to which PC Blueray / HD reader is best?

    I would appreciate any response.
    Thank you:cool:
     
  14. Palexr

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    I just built the following HTPC to sit under my TV.

    • Hiper Black Media Center Case With 200W PSU - Only 53mm High - £42.53
    • MSI P6NGM-FIH GeForce 7150 Socket 775 onboard VGA 8 channel audio mATX Motherboard - £44.21
    • Seagate ST3250410AS 250GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache - £37.31
    • Intel Pentium Dual Core E2160 Socket 775 (1.8GHz) 1MB L2 Cache - £37.37
    • Hiper HFC 10828-C2 Low profile Cooler - Socket 775 - £20
    • 4GB (2 x Extra Value 2GB DDR2 667MHz/PC2-5400 Value Memory) - £43.50
    • BTC 9029URF Wireless Media Center Keyboard - USB - £20.90
    • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium OEM 1PK DVD - £51.35
    • Sony NEC Optiarc AD-5540A 8x DVD±RW Dual Layer Slim-line ReWriter (Black) - £24.99
    • Cyberlink Media Center Remote Control - With Mini USB IR Receiver - £5.99
    Total = £390 delivered (if you google the descriptions it should take you to the places I bought the gear from).

    I already had USB DVB-T TV and Wifi cards.

    I am really happy with the build. The Hiper case is really good, absolutely whisper quiet and is the same size as AV equipment - unlike most other HTPC cases, something to look out for...

    Since you aren't going to play games on the machine I'd question whether you need a dedicated graphics card at all. They take up valuable space. My graphics are integrated on the motherboard and have an HDMI out, so one cable to the AV receiver does the trick for video and (7.1) audio. You can also use the optical and other connectors.

    To your point about dvd play back, having just replaced my Samsung DVD player (1080i) with this I can assure you that there is absolutely no difference whatsoever. The picture is just as good as is the audio. The advantage is of course that I have a fully functioning PC alongside that as well. So right now I am typing this from my sofa on my 40" screen.

    In terms of HD DVD / Bluray, I have plugged my Xbox 360 HD DVD player and it works a treat. I believe it is actually the cheapest HD DVD player around? You can also get Bluray players (slimline/laptop sized as well as normal),

    Just as a note about the graphic cards again, like I said, I am using a 40" LCD at 1920x1080 on my integrated graphics in and they have coped fine with DVDs, HD DVDs, CDs, iTunes, photos, the internet, streamed video from my main computer, so, again, I'd think about whether you really need a seperate graphics (if you aren't going to game on it - if you are buy something decent, 8800gt or equivalent minimum, anything lower is a waste of time).
     
  15. qTr

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    I was trying to build a HTPC with a blu-ray player without a dedicated graphics card, using one of the MSI AMD motherboards with HDCP support, got it all sorted for about £400 which I thought was quite good. But apparently (in a review http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/Silent-HTPC-Blu-ray-HD-DVD-DVB-S2,review-29784-5.html)
    decoding the copy protection blu-ray discs needs more than the integrated graphics :( so gonna have to put a card in I think. Anyone know if there are any motherboards with integrated graphics which can decode copy protected blu-ray discs?
     
  16. anthony.s

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    There is currently only one option for both formats in a single drive - LG GGx - H20L (x= c for reader , w for BR writer).
    It works perfectly for me and many others. Plextor are about to release a similar drive. So similar that I suspect it is a rebadged LG :D
     
  17. Mxx

    Mxx
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    That's pretty impressive!

    How did you hook up the Xbox 360 HD-DVD drive? You didn't fit it in the case did you?

    Have you tried playing playing a 720p h264 encoded file from the hard disk - how did it perform?
     
  18. mossym

    mossym
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    onboard graphics on my motherboard could handle hddvd and mkv 1080p files no problem. they could not handle blu-ray. moved to 2600xt and no problems. despite manufactures best claims i think you are much better off investing in a seperate card, especially for blu-ray
     
  19. onkeh

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    I'd be most concerned about noise if playing optical media. I've never seen a PC optical drive that didn't sound like a jet engine so as I say, that would be my biggest concern. Regarding performance, even relatively modest integrated graphics cards can deal with 1080p playback. Or you can go cheapo on the motherboard and get a fanless 8600gt for about 50 quid which will go over and above.
     

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