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Plasma with HTPC DVD-ROM

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by mikeycrawford, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. mikeycrawford

    mikeycrawford
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    Hello Peeps,

    I intend to hook my plasma (when I get one) up to my PC via VGA (OR DVI if it has one). I will play my DVDs on the multi-region DVD-ROM drive on the PC and my question is this

    By viewing DVDs in this way, will I automatically be getting the picture equivelance of NTSC-Prog/Pal-Prog on a standalone DVD player? I am assuming that because the PC is outputting in non-interlaced format, then the DVD will display in non-interlaced (progressive??) too.

    Am I right, or am I wrong

    TIA
     
  2. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Yes you will be getting a progressive output if you use the HD15 VGA socket. Will it be better than a good progressive dvd player is another, different topic.

    Gordon
     
  3. philipb

    philipb
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    After Gordon had calibrated my Pioner 433, I decided to compare DVD PQ via a PC and from a Denon 3800.

    The PC has a Toshiba DVD drive, Intel P4 1.4 GHz, TheaterTek playback software, Nvidia graphics and Windows 2000 outputting to the Plasma's DVI input.

    The Denon is hooked up to the component input on the plasma and outputs PAL progressive scan. Disc used was Gladiator.

    Result - very close, but the PC won. There was a very slight but perceptible increase in detail level, and colours were more vivid. Don't underestimate the importance of a good playback package such as TheaterTek - hardware is not the only determinant.

    I assume that the narrow victory by the PC is due essentially to the signal remaining in the digital domain all the way from disc to screen, while the Denon has to some pretty nifty D/A and A/D work on the way.

    The Denon is a superb picture, and its real bonus is being a lot more user friendly than the PC route.

    Mikey - if you plan to use your PC a lot with the plasma, I recommend you go for a higher resolution model. The Pioneer 433 MXE (not HDE) is in my view the best choice, but then I would say that given that I have one. And get it calibrated by Gordon - money well spent.
     
  4. phil_evans

    phil_evans
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    Hi Philip,

    Having just stepped into the PC world this week with a new Shuttle (though not specifically for HCPC) can you tell me what resolution you run into the Pioneer? Obviously 1024x768 is dot-for-dot, but will players like TheaterTek allow you to adjust aspect ratios for the wide pixels - or do you run a custom resolution (1360x768)?

    I have only tried PowerDVD (came with my Samsung DVD drive) very briefly and the picture looked much more pixelated than my Pio656A DVD player. Does TheaterTek do some scaling/anti-aliasing to improve the picture?

    Regards
    Phil
     
  5. MAW

    MAW
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    Phil, your issue is probably the pc needing to synchronize correctly with the screen, what card are you using? I do this at work with a radeon 9000, it's brill when set up, but took me an hour or so to get the best settings, keep fiddling!
     
  6. phil_evans

    phil_evans
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    MAW,

    I've only just got the shuttle (SN41G2) going so am using the integrated graphics (nVidia GF 440 or something). Anyway I get a great, stable desktop in XP at native resolution 1024x768. Do you run this resolution into your 433?

    My question is really:

    a) do different DVD playback software apply significantly different processing to the DVD image (i.e. is TheaterTek much more "advanced" than PowerDVD), and

    b) can the software itself change the aspect ratio to suit the 433's slightly odd resolution/aspect ratio (i.e. stretched XGA).

    I guess I need to do some research on TheaterTek, PowerDVD, dScaler etc but thought I might get a simple answer from some 433 owners!
     
  7. MAW

    MAW
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    Don't have much time for DVD, but have tried powerdvd and it is not affected by the 'stretched' xga image. It can still produce a correctly scaled image. I have theatretek at home via projector, it's good, but IMHO not worth the money over the 'free' players.

    Yes, I run xga into the 433, with the resulting image squash with other windows apps.
     
  8. philipb

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    Phil

    The graphics card is set at 1024x768. Theatertek allows you to vary aspect ratio by adjusting vertical and horizontal settings. Gladiator originally appeared in a very narrow window on the screen. I set the aspect ratio to 1024x768 which enlarged the picture but did not fill the screen, before running the comparison. I didn't check out other settings, but it would be interesting. Theatertek does give you more control than many packages, but its not the only good one.

    I'm in the middle of re-decorating the living room just now and all my AV gear is piled up in the spare room, so I'm off air for a while. Her indoors is away this weekend (peace and quiet), so I hope to be up and running again soon. Then I'll play with some custom resolutions and report back.

    I don't think Theatertek does any scaling or the like, apart as I say from giving you almost total flexibility over the aspect ratio. This may amount to the same thing I suppose.
     
  9. phil_evans

    phil_evans
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    Many thanks for the feedback guys - I'll do some more tweaking over the weekend to see if I can get a better image and confirm whether I have an aspect ratio problem.

    Philip - good luck with the decorating. I've just installed ADSL together with a half wired/ half wireless LAN and made a bit of a mess of some of our walls. My other half is expecting a clean-up this weekend unfortunately...:rolleyes:
     
  10. phil_evans

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    OK, I now have a working PC (had many problems with onboard nVidia graphics, now have a GF4 card) and am able to compare my PC DVD playback with my Pioneer 656a.

    I'm running 1024x768 @ 75Hz into the 433 for PAL playback (is this right - seems sensible to use 3 x PAL framerate) and now what I notice is a slight judder in playback (e.g. a moving figure looks like a sequence of frames rather than a smooth action). I have no problems with aspect ratios thankfully.

    When I look in the PowerDVD Video -> Advanced settings I see that it has 3 de-interlacing settings (video modes: forced bob/forced weave/auto). I use the auto mode . My question is, does TheaterTek have more advanced de-interlacing algorithms than PowerDVD that would provide smoother playback?

    I thought DScaler might be the answer but this seems to be only for playback of captured video.
     
  11. philipb

    philipb
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    I have also seen the judder on pans, although on TV rather than DVDs. Have read its related to refresh rate, but you should be OK at 75 Hz. Make sure you have DMA enabled - latest graphics drivers - etc. What processor do you have?
     

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