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Jeff, JohnAd and other HTPC fans: Questions

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Nic Rhodes, Aug 7, 2001.

  1. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Jeff

    Re your new Falcon frame grabber. From memory you said you got it from EMS but I can find no details of such a company in the UK. The nearest one is EMS Electronics in Ireland. I have tried searching but to no avail.

    Have you got a link or phone number please, so I can treat my self to one.

    ASUS Cdspeed. This sounds an interesting utility but I have been unable to download it, probably down to my computer difficulties, is there any other way of getting it other than ftp?

    Decided to treat myself to a 'kosher' software DVD player rather than OEM etc. WinDVD 3.0 DD/ DTS looks the hot favourite. Do you know if it can be bought in the UK on CD-ROM or are we talking an international purchase here? I am after the full product not the cut downs. I would rather buy in the UK.

    I have had a major catastrophe re HD recently which necessitated using my HCPC for other duties. It has raised several questions and has allowed a significant rebuild on my HTPC effort to enhance usability.

    What about network connections on HTPCs?

    What about Internet access / firewalls on HTPCs?

    What about anti virus on HTPCs?

    What about office / PK Zip / Adobe on HTPCs?

    What about RAID systems on HTPCs?

    Basically what is likely to interfere with DVD playback? What should I avoid?

    I heard Linns KIVOR yesterday. It sounded excellent. Better the Ikemi but not as good as a CD12. Serious player. What is the best way to rip CDs to a HD without compression? The HTPC will shortly have a RAID 30GB (security array) using 2 30Gb drives and at least 1 76Gb drive for CDs / PVR data storage.

    PS Does anyone know if Dscaler can support more than one Falcon card?
     
  2. JohnAd

    JohnAd
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    Nic

    I'll have a go at answering some of your questions.

    Dscaler only support 1 card at the moment, we are planning to add multiple card support soemtime this year.

    Software to avoid is anything that runs all the time. In the category is some parts of Office, virus scanners, windows scheduling agent, certain hardware.

    If you are a registry master then it's reasonably easy to disable most of the crap thet gets installed to run all the time by various software but for the novice the rule of thumb is don't install anything that inst relevant to DVD playback.

    pkzip and abode will be fine as will simple stuff like DScaler that doesn't do anything when it's not running.

    Other known offenders are<br />Winamp's new agent<br />Real player<br />Messenger<br />Leaving mail clients running<br />Leaving Office apps running

    <br />With regards to network I would say I would put an HTPC on the nbetwork but don't use it to connect directly to the internet if you can avoid it and don't share anything from it.

    I wouldn't put anti virus software on but if you do disable any real-time scanning and scheduling while watching DVD.

    RAID is probably overkill, again a rule of thumb would be avoid adding any cards you don't really need and disable in hardware config or BIOS any hardware you don't need.

    For example that would suggest<br />No SCSI or Firewire cards<br />Disable parallel port<br />Disable unused serial ports<br />Disable USB if you're not using it<br />Disable power management<br />Disable floppy drive if you've got a network

    Doing all of this will avoid interrupts messing things up, reduce memory usage, will improve boot times and hopefully just make everything more stable.

    On the CD question, can you really tell the difference between a 256kbs MP3 and the original? If you can then I did remember there used to be a lossless codec that gave 50% compression or you could just rip to wav. I would do the test, you need to do it properly and get someone else to start either the ripped wav or the high bit rate MP3 though the same kit. I found that 196 was enough for me not to bne able to tell.

    John
     
  3. Jeff

    Jeff
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    A very good reply from John, a cople of things to add.

    Here is the EMS web site.

    <a href="http://www.iste.com/video-capture/falcon.html" target="_blank">http://www.iste.com/video-capture/falcon.html</a>

    WinDVD 3.0 is OK but it has a bug which basically means that you can't use a pronto to select the sound track on many DVD's, you HAVE to use a mouse. I use WinDVD 2.6.35 with the .exe from 2.6.4 to great effect. This gives me 3.0 quality but without the bugs.

    The best tip I have is to do regular backups. I perform drive image backups of my C drive (about 500MB) to separate Data partition. This has saved me so many times!.

    A better CD spindown /speed util can be found here<br /><a href="http://cdromtool.hopto.org" target="_blank">http://cdromtool.hopto.org</a>

    Jeff
     
  4. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    So much great info in such a short time. Thanks guys

    As you will probably have gathered I had to stick several of the 'don't do in HTPCs' on my HTPC to get me up and running again. I think they need to go long term.

    I have a raid card in the HTPC already so all it needs is two similar HD to give me that added security. I have them as well. It is therefore simple to do when I rebuid at the end of the month when my duff disc returns.

    I ordered two HD swap cages that Jeff uses today and will get the Falcon tomorrow. Data can then be stored in two location and have CDR backup. I am also a fan of internal ZIP discs.

    I bought a HD management program yesterday. This will allow HD images to be archived easily (NOW!). They had been 'copied' to a separate partition but I had a mechanical HD failure not a software problem. No easy way out.

    I have the english patch for WinDVD already but could do with a 'proper' copy of WinDVD. Any UK site selling the full code? I fancied the DTS compatibility on WinDVD 3 but if it has this pronto fault....I use a pronto.

    Thanks for all the do and don't. I try and keep upto date with the AVS board but there are just so many posts, my wife has forgotten what I look like.

    Thanks again, I owe you pint or two at the event.

    Any other comments from the masses?
     
  5. GarryF

    GarryF
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    Something that is confusing with Windvd 3.0 is the DTS version.

    As I understand it 2.64 will pass through DTS, it is only if you want the PC to decode DTS you need the DTS version, if you are sending sound to an external amp optically there is no need for it.

    I think the software is really only available as a download from intervideo for $50, $70 if you really need to decode DTS
     

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