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Media Centre quality not as good as dedicated DVD players ?

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by snow-munki, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. snow-munki

    snow-munki
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    Hi,

    was just wondering if using a PC to watch DVD's and Divx films is as good as buying an acutal dvd player ?

    I guess main advantage is that a Media centre PC can also surf the net and download things. BUT it just so much more effort to turn on a PC just to watch a PC, will need to wait like 2 mins for it to boot up, whereas a dvd player is pretty much instant....

    What do you guys think ?
     
  2. starfire

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    Mine is powered on via remote and up and running in a second or two - I use suspend to ram (STR) and its very quick at getting going.

    The MCE remote can turn it on and off so no hassle there.

    Output to my CRT 32" WS TV via S-Video gives a very good picture - if you had HD Plasma or LCD pixel matched the picture could be stunning I guess, especially with any HD content.
     
  3. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    NOpe the quality of Standards dvd's on PC will never be as good as a normal DVD player..., well unless you got some pretty expensive hardware in your PC such as a Sweet spot video processor and realmagic Xcard...
     
  4. fallwood

    fallwood
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    Errr I think your wrong there, a pc with the right software can produce a far better image than the most expensive dvd players. Granted if your just using svideo or composite out to a crt then the image is gonna be pretty average, hook it up via vga or hdmi to a projector/plasma/lcd and you get stunning results. Ive tested some really good dvd players against my HTPC and the only one that got close cost over a grand, still wasnt as good though. My setup cost a little over 350 quid so not much more than a mid range dvd player and it does sooo much more than a dvd player ever could.
     
  5. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    I've been running dvd's on PC's when they came out back since 1998, used all the software and decoders, and no they are not as as good as a standalone machine, sometimes you get Lag in menu's and when you pause and play dvd's you have to wait for the drive to speed up, i've used a crt and lcd and i sit about 50cm's from the screen so I see evrything, I see all the scan lines and stuff...basically when you watch a dvd on your pc it is scaled up from 720*576 to 1024*768, but when you watch it on tv with a dvd player there is little or no scaling, and you get a perfect clear image. Like you most fo us do not use projectors we use just a standard monitor/lcd, and is this case dvd playback is poor compared to a standalone player..., by the way I use Win DVD for playback any other player out there is just pants, granted win dvd has problems but for playing back dvd's alone it excels over any other software player, and No I do not use hardware encoding/DXVA I use the CPU for decoding the video...., DXVA is a lod of crap and will always be there just some added bonus they throw in with gaphics cards which makes the image look even worse....
     
  6. fallwood

    fallwood
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    On any plasma/projector/hi def display device that will accept a vga or dvi/hdmi input the pc cannot be touched for picture quality, ive seen pc's play dvd through standard pc monitors etc and admitedly it looks crap. Anyone with an ati card can get a really good quality output to rgb scart with a specially made vga to scart cable . The best dvd software by far is theatertek used in conjunction with ffdshow, if you havent tried it yet i would advise you do as it gives the best quality playback ive seen, used with ffdshow post proceessing you can make a standard dvd look almost high def , even when viewed on my 90" projector screen the results are amazing, my 400 quid dvd player (which is now gathering dust) doesnt get anywhere near it. As you say though if your using a standard crt or pc monitor (pc monitors always make video/film look crap cos theres no free aliasing like on a tv) the results can look poor as the source from a pc needs to be displayed on something that can make use of the pure signal. For the average guy with a normal tv a standalone player is the easiest way to go but for the serious videophile I think that you'll find that the pc is taking over fast. Anyway shouldnt u be asleep or have u got bad insomnia like me.
     
  7. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    HAHAHA, I always stay up late, best time to search the net, find it more peacefull, anyway I've not used theatrek, they don't have a demo and i'm not paying for it without haing a demo, not tried fddshow, will it work on an LCD display, i mean can I use it on my pc monitor or will it only output to a secondary screen, and PC monitors are the best type of display when you feed it a good source, you feed it a Hi-Def source and it will outperform anything, but you feed it a crappy low res source like dvd's well it will just look like to grap, a pc display is a hi-res display so you have to feed it hi-res content to make best use of it, feeding it crappy low res dvd socontent will always look crap on it, sure you can try and improve it, but it always will be crap, trying to display something at half the res of your native res..., best put it feed you display, content at twice it's native res and you will be sorted, 1080i looks amazing on a 1024* 768 Display....as does the 1080P Batman trailer..., and I don't mind the black lines if the content is at 1.78.1, but it's only when you have 2.35.1 content is when you need a widescreen display...
     
  8. snow-munki

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    thanks guys. Well mines only going to a 10 year old sony 28' TV using svideo so not that great anyways.

    Oh just though, how about sound, my soundcard does have optical out, will this be as good as a dvd player? As am i right to assume its the amp that does all the hard work with regards to sound ??
     
  9. starfire

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    I've used a Nvidia FX5200 and now a 6200 and the S-Video output for playing TV from my Nova-T PCI freeview is very good, certainly better than my Tivo (running from Sky digibox) which is connected via RGB.

    WRT sound, yes if you use SPDIF output then the amp does all the decoding, the soundcard just passes the signal.
     
  10. evolution400

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    Just thought I would add my vote to the PC I have been a AV buff for about 10 years now I never once considered a PC for a home entertainment system because of all the potch no proper remote not being able to swithc it off and on quick same features as a video an amp etc.
    Then last year I installed MCE 2004 and was amazed at what it all could do was angry at frist with the bugs but I persisted until MCE 2005 was released then upgraded and now I would put my hand on my heart and say I will never ever go back to old school system with about 50 remotes big stacks of items under the TV to do different jobs when 1 system can do it all in one and th features of MCE I could now not live with out yes I know sky plus can pause record live tv etc yep well I would rather save my money not waste it. MCE can do so much more and my system is now so stable I cant remember the last time it crashed and as for the picture hooked up to my 50" DLP TV which is running 720p res via DVI the hidef stuff is out of this world!
    I watch DVD's all the time and I think the picture is quality is excellent even though its is displayed in 720p.
    MCE is the future !
     
  11. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    Meda Center was not available as a standalone OS then, only available preinstalled on media center pc's...hmm, I smell something fishy.... :nono:
     
  12. evolution400

    evolution400
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    You are indeed correct I happen to be a fully licensed MS system builder and have been for a number of years now well spotted sherlock.
     
  13. Sledge

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    You could also get it on MSDN universal which is where I got mine from.
     
  14. fallwood

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    Sorry mate but if youve not tried theatertek or ffdshow then your not quite as clued up as you think you are, any self respecting video buff will be running ffdshow and theatertek as its widely known that the results are amazing. Yes they do a free trial of theatertek but you have to email them and ask for it and ffdshow is freeware . Go get them now and then tell me what you think.
     
  15. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    How much was the subscription though for the package with that in?, some of them packages are way to expensive like $500 for a year subscription...
     
  16. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    But would a standalone player with a built in hi-def scaler not do the same thing?..., you can pick one up for like £100, so why bother paying the £60 for Theatrek, it's a rip off if you ask me..., they expect you to pay that much for their top package, but do not give a demo, and as for emailing them ,well they can go take a jump...
     
  17. Hawklan

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    Hi

    Just a quick comment about the quality of DVD PC playback over a stand alone DVD

    I've moved from a Arcam DV27 to Theatretek via a HCPC
    Without a doubt the HCPC is better that the Arcam - Fresh images, no scan lines vibrant colours - This is even more noticible via a projector
    However there is a trade off - mainly being convenience and reliablity - I've had Theatretek freeze up an few times requiring a hard reset

    So use the HCPC approach if you can deal with the wife nagging about how much easier the DVD player was to use

    Many thanks

    RON
     
  18. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    You do get scan line when useing DXA hardware acceleration, have to go right up to the screen to see it...
     
  19. DEANO-B

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    A PC running TheatreTek blows away any sclaer I've seen. I have a HiDef Panny 700 Projector displaying a 1280x720 image onto a 100" screen, and is probably the best way to test DVD playback. Any small defects in PQ is evident, and you can tell the difference in quality from DVD to DVD. A couple of weeks ago I demo'd a £700 scaler with a Panny 700 and even after mesing around couldn't get it as sharp as my HTPC running TheatreTek. The simple fact is there are so many 'tweaks' you can do in TheatreTek a scaler will never match it. Also with it being software you can easily update it. £50 may sound a lot of dosh for software but the end result is the best possible visual reproduction that you can acheive, and is certainly cheaper than £700 for a scaler :smashin:
     
  20. scumball

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    Any chance of letting me know what settings you tweak in ffdshow for the best quality DVD playback to a Panny 700...What does TT bring to the equation over other decoders? Is it just that ffdshow works with that player?
     
  21. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    I emailed Theatrek for a demo, but they said they did not have one, they said they had a 7 day money back guarantee though...., well mayeb when I get a pare £60 which is unlikely i'll try it out...
     
  22. starfire

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    I could be wrong as I don't use TT but I thought it uses Nvidia DVD Decoder codecs.

    In which case you could download the free trial of these from Nvidia and a free trial of Zoomplayer and that will probably come very close to TT.

    |ts what I use with my HTPC and projector and its fantastic quality.
     
  23. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    I don't like the new version of Zoom player, now a days you have to install it, but the older ones, like 2 years ago you would just unzip it and run, no installing..., the new one is kinda buggy and it tkaes so long to configure right, where as the older one worked staight out of the box...
     
  24. DEANO-B

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    It's really FFDshow that does most of the work. The thing TT does is not crash out like Zoom Player. I've had it on 3 months now it it hasn't gone down once. TT also has a very simple front end with easy navigation system via remote running Girder software. The FFDshow settings are very complex and it is best to follow a guideline like http://htpcnews.com/main.php?id=ffdshowdvd_1 or visit www.avsforum.com where you will find many in depth posts on how to achieve the best results.
     
  25. starfire

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    Fair enough. Haven't had any problems with latest ZP myself, use it to play back all my films on the projector and its worked fine. I think to get anything near perfect takes a little time to configure.
     
  26. DEANO-B

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    Zoom Player is stable without FFDshow. Download FFDshow the difference is unbelievable! :smashin: Its worth the time setting it up!
     

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