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Iscan pro or a HTPC internal scaler?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by hoyin, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. hoyin

    hoyin
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    About to install a Sharp LCD 26GA4E.

    I have an iscan pro, but this is linked to my projector downstairs.

    I have heard all this talk that actually if I made a HTPC with MCE2005 and the necessary hardware and software for a progressive scan scaler and component out would I beable to exceed the PQ I get from my iScan Pro?
     
  2. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    You probably could but not using MCE 2005 on its' own I don't think .. maybe someone with MCE will correct me. :)

    To get a decent PQ you'll generally be using a software player like TheaterTek or maybe ZoomPlayer or WinDVD because you need to use FFDSHOW (the scaler). This will immediately will take you out of the warm and cuddly Media Center front-end (remember, MCE 2005 is just a sexy media player application sitting on top of a slightly modified XP Pro).

    Installing MCE yourself can be a pain, there's a good article about this in the latest PCW in which one of the writers describes his problems trying to put together a machine MCE is happy with .. the problem is that it's VERY picky about the hardware it's prepared to accept.

    Bottom line: for DVD playback my advice is to ignore MCE, simply get XP Home and then the software player of choice, if you need features like PVR and TV then consider one of the other front-ends ... again, PCW has an article looking at MCE and some of the alternatives.

    If you're thinking about using MCE 2005 then I recommend you get a copy of the March edition of PCW.

    [edit]

    There's a good thread about MCE 2005 on AVS with a lot of good info too.
     
  3. hoyin

    hoyin
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    Thanks!

    I am going to get PCW and have a read.

    How about scalers?

    IS it really possible to get a internal computer one that can out perform a purpose made one? Like my iScan Pro?
     
  4. KraGorn

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    I have no experience with scalers .. yet ;) .. but from what I've read I would think that certainly a PC will do no worse than the Pro at less expense. Where I'm less sure is the assertion I've seen that a PC will out-do something like the iScan HD or a Lumagen DVI.

    There are two aspects, deinterlacing and scaling without experience of comparing them I don't know. Clearly the PC is a lot cheaper and more flexible a solution, assuming you use it for other things, than a decent DVD player plus scaler, if the discrete components produce a better picture it'd be a case of whether it was *that* much better for the price.

    Have a read of this Home Theater PC News article which is a good intro to FFDSHOW, it gives some idea of the possibilities which may give you some idea.
     
  5. dazzer123

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    Hi any idea which media front end would be best would like a remote and for it to work theatertek i will get pcw today and have a look but all opinions appreciated.
     
  6. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    TheaterTek is a standalone player, which means that whichever front-end you use for the PC itself it'll always fire-up TT as a separate program. AIUI if you want to stay inside something like MCE you'll need to buy the nVidia codecs directly from nVidia, they plug into Windows Media Player .. the main down-side to this is that you can't use FFDSHOW so won't have access to the scaling and other filtering it does.
     
  7. dazzer123

    dazzer123
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    Yep I hear what you are saying I just would have liked to have simplified things a little for my wife, I looked at pcw and have ordered pinnacles media center 300i which should be a reasonable front-end and leave thetertek and ffdshow purely for myself.
     
  8. KraGorn

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    I've seen some good comments about Pinnacle's product .. and I'd definitely agree with keeping ANYTHING with FFDSHOW away from the non-technical members of the family. ;)
     
  9. jhkanguk

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    I have MCE2005 + Black Gold Freeview PCI card + nVidia GeForce6600 graphics card + nVidia DVD decoder.

    For family use, I think this setup is one of the best as
    1. all of your family can control almost everything (dvd, tv, pvr, and so on) using remote control.
    2. nVidia decoder and GeForce 6600 does good quality hardware upscaling and de-interlacing.
    No need to use ffdshow or dscaler. Low cpu usage.

    Picture quality from this setup is so superb even my wife can see the difference between HTPC and external freeview or dvd.
     
  10. Razor

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    Try Xlobby its free.
     

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