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Looking at getting a Media PC

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by JonMace, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. JonMace

    JonMace
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    Looking at getting a media PC and what advice on what to buy.

    Current set up is:-

    Samsung NTL STB
    Pace 4000 NTL STB
    Tivo (not currently networked but looking into it)
    XBOX (moded for xbox media center)
    PC
    Laptop
    Denon 2910 DVD
    28 inch Sony WS TV
    Denon 1802 Amp

    So is it worth going down this route?
    if so can I connect it all together?
    What should I buy and how much will it cost?
     
  2. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    To be honest I'm not sure an HTPC would give you much more than you have with those components, though I suppose it depends on what you're looking for it to do that your current setup doesn't.

    In pure PQ terms I don't think you'll see much difference on your TV, the PQ improvements PCs can give really only begin to come into their own on larger screens when decoding artifacts, scaling noise, ringing etc. start to be clearly visible. This is especially true as your 2910 is a pretty decent player, ignoring the macroblocking problem which again given the size of your display probably isn't really noticeable to you.

    While an MCE-type system will be more convenient perhaps you've got the Tivo so you don't need the PC to act as a PVR, and connecting the X-Box etc. to the PC via something like Sweetspot isn't really going to make much difference I'd say.
     
  3. JonMace

    JonMace
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    Sorry forgot to mention one major part of the HT Pany 700 PJ

    Also have an Iscan pro scaller
     
  4. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Ah, right, the 700 does make a difference. ;)

    If the iScan were an HD I'd say not .. I've just migrated to a Lumagen HDP-based system and it's superior to the HTPC .. but IIRC the Pro can't scale to 700-native resolution so I'd expect the PC to be better but whether that's the best route is another matter.

    Also, connecting your other bits and pieces could be a problem, something like the Sweetspot capture card is nice but has limited inputs.

    In your position I think I'd be looking at trading-up the iScan perhaps, in my case the Luma after calibration is producing a significantly better PQ than the PC.
     
  5. NaimBoy

    NaimBoy
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    JonMace & KraGorn,

    Hope you don't mind me jumping in here, but I'm also debating the merits of a HTPC vs DVD & Scaler....

    I don't watch TV, only DVDs - hopefully on a Sony HS50 if it ever arrives !

    The PC option started off as the favourite, but the effort required to make it quiet and the apparent non-stop fiddling required with the likes of TheatreTek, Powerstrip, FFDShow etc has been putting me off lately. Especially as I work in IT and quite frankly have had enough of the damn things by the end of the day.

    The alternative is to get something like the Pioneer 868 and use its internal scaler until such time as I can afford a Lumagen scaler - what DVD player are you using KraGorn ? I'm encouraged by you comments on the PQ compared with the PC - is this something that's 'user' attainable or did it require a visit from Gordon ?

    Many thanks,
    Mark
     
  6. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    I have an 868 passing SD interlaced to the Luma via HDMI and thence to an H77 projector. I did have Gordon come and do his magic, worth every penny considering the relatively small proportion of the cost of the system, you could choose the DVI model and the saving of the HDP would more than pay for Gordon.

    I didn't try setting the Luma before Gordon came I simply used it 'out of the box' but even with rudimentary calibration it was as good as I'd achieved with the PC after countless hours of fiddling.
     
  7. NaimBoy

    NaimBoy
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    Thanks KraGorn - that's all I needed to know :clap:
     
  8. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    I should add that Gordon spent most of his time calibrating the projector, balancing colours. While he spent some time with the Luma he was mainly configuring 3 refresh rates, multiple inputs, image position etc. which didn't materially affect the PQ.

    Clearly the player/scaler option is more expensive that a PC, though I spent somewhere around £1500 trying various components like graphics cards, water-cooling etc.
     

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