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I'm getting there but need a few more pointers please.

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Andy.T, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. Andy.T

    Andy.T
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    Ok my HCPC is coming along nicely and by lots of reading (here and on AVS) and a bit of trial and error I am slowly getting there.

    In case it matters my HCPC consists of...

    Hardware
    - Abit BD7-RAID Motherboard
    - Intel Pentium 4 1.6 GHz 512 Cache
    - Radeon 7200
    - 256MB DDR Ram
    - Maxtor IDE ATA-133 80GB 7200RPM
    - Toshiba IDE DVD SD-M1612
    - M-Audio Audiophile 2496
    - Cheap tat case ;)

    ... plugged into Sony KP41-DS1 41" Widescreen Telly to be supplemented by a Panasonic PT-AE100 in a month or two.

    Software
    Win XP Pro
    PowerDVD XP 4 patched to latest version
    Power Strip 3
    YxY (I've not buggered about with this yet)
    Exact Audio/Monkey Lossless/Winamp

    I originally had WinDVD 2000 on there but through a strange set of circumstances with my video card supplier I have ended up with a free copy of Power DVD. I have found much prefer Power DVD over Win DVD for the following reasons.

    - It can use the S/PDIF of the M-Audio even if the S/PDIF is not the default Windows audio device. This allows me to have Windows Media Player etc. to use the analogue phono ports as the default device.

    - It automatically outputs PCM audio via the analogue phono ports, I like this.

    - It extracts the Dolby Digital signal from .vobs like the Simpsons THX trailer (I couldn't get WinDVD to do this at all).

    - It generally seems to have a lot more functionality.

    - PQ seems better.

    Ok now for all the questions...

    a) I have removed Win DVD and am sticking to Power DVD XP for the above reasons but are the Ravisent, ATI or TT players even better? Will they do all the above and give better PQ?

    b) I am currently outputting to the TV via S-Video and I am a little underwhelmed at the results (my Sony DVP-S7700 DVD player spoiled me). Has anyone tried anything like this? It is a diy circuit to convert VGA to RGB SCART, or has anyone tried one of the commercially available (though expensive) scan converters? Obviously when I get the AE100 this won't be such a big problem but I do want the telly ouput to look as good as it can, at the moment the image is a little soft.

    c) I have installed the latest Catalyst drivers for my Radeon 7200 how best can I use Power Strip to tweak the output to my 41" RPTV? What resolutions and refresh rates? Does it depend on the aspect ratio? Should I have different settings for PAL/NTSC DVDs? Or should I use the "Force Resolution" feature within Power DVD?

    d) Should Hardware Acceleration be on or off on Power DVD? I can't detect much of a difference.

    e) Power DVD can judder a little at times on slow constant pans or when things are in slow-mo, anything I should look for?

    f) Any other observations based on the above? Other than this reads like "War and Peace"? :clown:

    Thanks for all your help so far guys,

    Andy Trump
     
  2. Andy.T

    Andy.T
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    You should all feel free to reply by the way. :D

    Ok the judders/tearing are really getting on my nerves now so here's another question.

    Most HCPCs are plumbed into a projector, at the moment mine is going into a RPTV, could this be the problem? I know ideally with NTSC I should be outputting 72Hz and for PAL 75Hz, but am I right in thinking a PAL TV only does 50 or 60 at best? As a reminder my TV is a Sony KP41-DS1.

    I have set Powerstrip to 72Hz 720 x 480 for NTSC stuff and it takes the resolution. I'm not so sure the refresh rate is sticking though, when I look in the display properties the display driver thinks it is still doing 60Hz.

    How do I overide this? Would I want to (would it damage the TV)? And finally how come stand-alone DVD players like my Sony DVP-S7700 don't suffer from this same problem?
     
  3. Epithet

    Epithet
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    Hi Andy

    I'm very interested in your thread and have been waiting anxiously for one of the HCPC wizards to respond. Unfortunately no one seems to able to help you. I too am a novice to HCPC and can only offer you my experience but I hope you find it relevant. First off my spec.

    ABIT KX7 333 M/board
    AMD 1800+XP
    512 DDR RAM
    IBM Deckstar 60GB 7200
    Nvidia G/force 2 MX 400 with XP detonator drivers.
    S/B Audigy
    Pioneer 116/2 DVD (Region 2 only for the moment)
    Phillips 24P6006C TV.
    Win XP Pro
    PowerDVD (I too am impressed with this player, particularly the audio decoders available on the full pacakage).

    This is set up in a study and I have no plans for a projector at this stage. The Nvidia card is connected the Phillips using the S-video output.

    I have played with various configurations and like you was despairing at the quality of the image and the juddering pans. The following summarises my experience.

    PC analogue monitor (refresh rate options 60 to 100) - despite trying various configurations of refresh rate and resolution I have failed to get a satisfactory image.

    Phillips TV - Power DVD Video acceleration disabled - better image than monitor but juddering pans and moderate tearing. Various configurations of refresh rate and resolution failed to resolve. Very disappointing image.

    Phillips TV - Power DVD Video acceleration enabled. Alleluia!!. Excellent image and very smooth pans. I briefly owned a Denon 2800 and I believe the images that I am getting are at least of similar quality but without the artefacts that you get with the 2800. I am very impressed with this HCPC set-up and if I can configure the machine to automatically fire up Power DVD then it will also be family friendly.

    I also briefly experimented with both the PC monitor and TV operating in duel mode. This resulted in juddering pans and very serious tearing.

    The only other minor niggle is lip sync which is discussed in various threads. Certain DVDs appear to be more prone to lip sync than others. I recently watched Gladiator (R2) from beginning to end with no lip sync problems. However, I experienced lip sync problems several times when watching Star Wars Episode 1. I found that briefly pausing the film is often sufficient to restore the sync.

    Have you managed to come up with any solutions to your problems?
    If you haven't already done so, I recommend that you download the very comprehensive Power DVD manual from their website.

    Good luck

    Epithet.
     
  4. RichardH

    RichardH
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    Star Wars Ep1 - lip synch > I have the R4 of this (not sure if othger versions are better or worse), and even on a standard DVD player, it gets progressively worse through the film. Have to try pausing it to see if it makes a difference. So it may not be your HCPC at fault!

    R
     
  5. Andy.T

    Andy.T
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    Thanks for the replies. I was beginning to think I had a strange problem with my browser software that made my posts invisible hehe ;)

    Things are improving on the judder/tearing thing. I totally lost it and was about to blat the PC and re-install XP but decided to have one more play before I did.

    I had read before in the FAQs that you want to have as little as possible in the system tray, I hadn't realised how important this is. I looked at the system tray and it had a few things there but they were all things I thought I needed. I had Power-Strip, the ATI control panel thing that Catalyst installed, DVD Region Killer, the M-Audio control panel and Winamp Agent. To cut a long story short, removing all of these made the juddering all but disappear.

    I'd still be interested in answers on increasing the frequency of the output to the RPTV and possible output of RGB signal to the RPTV. I have since found this which may also do the trick. Could the RGB signal from the BNCs be convertible to SCART?

    Andy Trump
     
  6. Epithet

    Epithet
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    Andy

    Glad to hear things are looking up. Very interested in your comments on the system tray. Will be expelling all errant programmes from mine toniight.

    I think that you may have answered your own earlier question concerning hardware acceleration. As I understand it, enabling acceleration ensures that the certain aspects of the video processing is executed by your graphics card and not your (player?) software which, according to the PowerDVD manual, results in "...DVD playback is accelerated when 70% of DVD decoding is transferred to the (graphics) card itself thus alleviating CPU resources". Perhaps this will help reduce judder and tearing.

    Richard H.

    Thanks for your input re: Star Wars. The pause technique is not totally reliable but when it works it beats stopping and restarting the film.


    Epithet.
     

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