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novice htpc builder

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by srbwilson, Oct 10, 2004.

  1. srbwilson

    srbwilson
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    i'm thinking of building my self a htpc with a silverstone case. I am an experienced pc builder so guess it should not be too difficult. Now the question i have is regarding the connection to a panasonic pwd6 plasma. The system will have a radeon 9800 pro. The cables i have routed to the plasma at the moment are a vga and component., the vga being used for x box and sky and the component for dvd.

    How and what is the best way to connect the 9800 pro to the display for progessive scan via dvd? Will the output be as good as my Harmon kardon 25 dvd player and as easy to use once configured (woman proof!).

    Been doing some research but its mind blowing to a noob!

    any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. inzaman

    inzaman
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    Does the plamsa have a dvi input, if so then that will be the best method of connection.
     
  3. srbwilson

    srbwilson
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    i think it does have the option for a dvi board, however, as the plasma is already installed, all cables are hidden in the walls, with the excpetion of a dvi cable! so not really an option.
     
  4. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Assuming you use a decent DVD player package like TheaterTek for example the quality will be noticeably better than the HK25 .. and if you spend time twiddling with something lke FFDSHOW it'll kick the HK into a cocked-hat.

    Use the VGA if DVI isn't an option (pity), that's simply RGB whereas Component is another variant of discrete colour channels, PQ should be the same, and will be since the only way to get component out of a PC card is to convert the VGA to YCrCb in the first place.

    Ease of use is arguably the same, if you invest the time in getting some sort of HTPC front-end and a remote to drive it .. of course, you don't have to 'boot' a DVD player. :)
     
  5. srbwilson

    srbwilson
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    cheers for that. also would i have to mess around with powerstrip for setting upto to the plasma or just set the res in xp? also would i be able to out put via the dvi on the 9800 pro to a 'normal' pc tft monitor for normal pc work?
     
  6. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Powerstrip is used to configure resolutions and refresh rates Windows doesn't know about, to that extent it depends on the settings you need to drive your plasma as to whether PStrip is needed. If you were using DVI it's conceivable the Windows driver could autodetect the settings the display needs, but using VGA you'll have to do thie manually. Don't worry, once set PStrip loads at boot-time and sets things up during the log-in process so your desktop gets set to the correct settings.

    Yes, you could output to DVI at the same time or alternatively to the VGA.
     
  7. srbwilson

    srbwilson
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    Ok sounds good to me. Just need to get everything connected. How does progressive scan work then? for example i can buy an adaptor to make the dvi connection on the 9800pro a component out, will this output progressive or just RGB? and if so would this be better or worse than vga?or am i getting completely mixed up? i suppose the main considerations are three fold, 1, i want great dvd playback and 2, i need to connect a number of devices so need to use the vga into the plasma and also the component connection. 3, i need to be able to connect a tft for normal work applications.

    Currently i have the sky and x box running into a rgb splitter then into a rgb to vga box then to plasma via vga. The HK25 is then fed via component inot the display to give me progressive scan picture quality, phew!.

    ultimatley i want a htpc for dvd playback via the plasma and a music server and to be able to use the same box via a tft for 'normal' work.

    sorry for the warblings :rolleyes:
     
  8. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    You're confusing a few things here. :)

    The term 'progressive scan' refers to how individual frames of the image are sent to the display, it says nothing about the mechanism of the transfer. In order to send a progressive signal from a DVD (which AFAIK is always interlaced off the disk) you need a de-interlacer, either in the source, an intermediate video processor or the display. The quality of this component is the critical factor in determining the result .. note this isn't really an issue with CRT displays.

    Terms like 'component', 'rgb', 'composite' etc. refer to the nature of the electronic signals used to transfer those image frames from the source to the display .. these are all analogue signals.

    DVI is a digital transfer mechanism, HDMI is simply a superset of DVI.

    PQ is dependent on many factors, but as far as connections are concerned you'll get a descreasing PQ for the same source and display thus:

    1) DVI
    2) Component or RGB (they differ in the signals they send but are effectively equivalent, the point being each prime colour is in essence sent separately)
    3) S-Video (here 2 colours are sent and the third is imputed by the receiver)
    4) Composite (utterly naff!)


    The output SIGNAL from a PC is by definition progressive as long as you don't configure an 'interlaced' refresh rate for the graphics card, however the frames coming off the DVD still will be de-interlaced by the player software.


    I hope that makes things a little clearer. :)
     
  9. srbwilson

    srbwilson
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    That makes things very clear, thanks! :thumbsup: I presume you have a htpc? if so what dvd player and software do you use and with which gfx card?

    cheers
     
  10. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    I use LiteOn drives, due to availability of region code resetting utilities, together with AnyDVD to do remove region codes, unskippable ads and copyright notices, and also rip to hard disk for more convenient playback.

    Currently I use TheaterTek with a Radeon 9600, a combination used by many HCPC owners. However if you look at other threads on here and over on AVS you'll be aware that version 2 is about to be released and the thinking now is that an nVidia 6600GT could be 'the' card now.

    Another alternative is WinDVD which is also popular.

    In addition, some users run ZoomPlayer together with the decoders from either TT or WinDVD, or more recently the nVidia codecs that TT 2.0 will ship with .. note that these don't require an nVidia card and are reportedly better than the sonic codecs which come with TT 1.x.

    Additionally, if you really feel like getting 'down and dirty' ;), you can pass the decoded video stream through a video processor like FFDSHOW which provides a myriad of settings to tweak and twiddle ... you'll find extensive threads on this here and on AVS and other places.

    Be careful, tinkering can become addictive. :D
     

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