PC or standalone player


Prominent Member
Nov 3, 2002
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Maybe this would be better in the HCPC forum, but as this is where I've been posting questions regarding my planned Plasma purchase (Panny 42" PW5), I'll ask here...

As part of this set up I plan to have a PC connected to the display. It is a well spec'ed PC and is fitted with a Radeon 8500 graphics card and a coax out to my amp for DD/DTS decoding. It will be wireless networked to my server for access to the net and for access to other files (pictures, MP3's, etc). I will also use a wireless keyboard and mouse...

The graphics card will allow me to generate a genuine wide screen 852x480 screen mode which as you know is the same resolution as the 42" PW5. Being a PC output it is naturally progressive, so I'm wondering how playing DVD's on the PC will compare to a half decent player such as a Pioneer 656 (which I know isn't progressive)?

Any comments welcomed.


I've always favoured a standalone DVD player. Much less hassel to set up. But I think there's probably a better and more informed forum member on this than myself! Friends played around with this in the early days, just to save on buying a DVD player. Every time they tried to play a DVD, they had to re-configure or restore from a back up. Never did we just sit down and watch a DVD.

All the best,

Dr John Sim.
I'm currently looking at this very question. Not sure my conclusions so far will help you though, because I have the Pioneer 433 which has 1024x768 resolution with a DVI connection to the PC.

Any way FWIW, playback via the PC is very dependent on the software player you use. The best I've found so far is Theatertek. My graphics card is also a Radeon 8500. Last night I was running LofTR on my sony 9000es set top via component connection, then on the PC through the DVI. Both gave excellent pictures, and I was hard pressed to say that either was better. No question the Sony is more convenient to use and its silent. But the PC pictures did benefit from the progressive output inherent in PC playback.

You need to remember that the 9000ES was when it was current Sony's flagship player and has given me oustanding playback on all the screens/TVs that its been hooked up to. To compete with this the PC must be good.

Question is do I want to make the extra investment to put a quality soundcard into the PC and try to make it quieter? At the moment I'm not sure its worth it. Given that the Panny has a lower resolution (it does make a difference) - and has analogue in via VGA rather than DVI I would doubt that you would see much if any benefit over a good set top. I don't know
Thanks for the replies. I will try this once I have the Plasma to play with, although I don't have Theatretek - just WinDVD and PowerDVD.


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