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progressive scan or htpc??

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by buns, Jun 29, 2001.

  1. buns

    buns
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    Having alomst decided that the way forward to go is to build a htpc, I do have one important question. In itally i was insisting on prog scan capability on my projector so i could get the best signals.....do i need this same capability to use the htpc? or can i get away without it? I would like to use a plus u3 880.....if i dont need prog scan, if i do i would like a sanyo plv30....what would anyone suggest?

    thanks

    Adam
     
  2. Jeff

    Jeff
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    I don't have a projector (yet) so maybe you shouldn't take this as gosspel but the PJ doesn't need to support Prog scan, it just needs a VGA input. Hopefully someone else will also confirm this for you. Here is another thought though, I would still look for progressive scan support, getting a HTPC to work flawlessly can be a hard slog, you might want to buy a cheap prog scan player as a backup.

    Jeff
     
  3. ReTrO

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    The VGA video signal is a progressive scan signal. So any projector with a VGA input will be pro-scan compatible.

    All LCD and DLP's will support PS and most CRT's (only very old ones won't, my 1989 BD600 will for instance).

    Try to get a pj with a native res. of at least 1024x768@75hz. This will ollow you to get a really good picture from PC scaling using a decent graphics card.


    Rick
     
  4. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    ReTrO has it.

    Progressive scan signals can be sent as Component or RGB. Fixed panel projectors that have a VGA input will accept the RGB version.

    Additionally some projectors accept the Component version. However with a HTPC and the correct scaling software you possibly don't need the functionality of the Component input.

    I would say though that making sure the unit has at least SVGA native resolution will not guarantee a great picture, even if the HTPC is doing the scaling and de-interlacing. Colour accuracy and grey scale tracking will also have an impact on the end result.

    Find a good projector then make it better by by-passing it's internal processing.... As for what's a good HTPC well I'll leave that to ReTrO and the restof the guys who know MUCH more about that than me.

    Gordon
     
  5. buns

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    Right.....thats good to know! I am stuck really. I want my projector asap.....at the moment as i said, the plus is what I would be after. sorry, this should be on the projector thread really! ok then....

    what sort of combinations of dvd and graphics cards, software players might work best for me?

    adam
     
  6. ReTrO

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    For HCPC you should be looking for a combination of the following:

    Graphics card chipset : (Choose from)
    ATi Radeon
    nVidia GeForce 2 family (GTS, MX, MX400 etc. £75+)
    nVidia GeForce 3 (£300+)


    As for software:

    WinDVD
    PowerDVD

    These can be supplemented with YXY, and DVDGenie, for aspect ratio control and region control respectivly.

    (I've used neither of these so someone else can help you more.)


    Basic PC: (these are redommended mins., cost u v. little to buy all of them)

    800Mhz AMD Duron +
    256mb RAM (PC133 or 2100DDR)
    30Gb HDD+
    12x DVD-ROM +
    Sound cards can vary depends on your other needs, probably Sound Blaster family, or Hercules Gamer XP.
    Graphics cards as above

    Hope this helps!

    Rick
     
  7. Stuart Wright

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    To comment on Retro's reply, I personally would stick to intel for compatibilities sake.
    A PIII 1000 is about £130 + VAT.
    Also I would stick 512meg of RAM in there now that 256s are £30 + VAT each.
    Don't just buy ANY DVD ROM drive. Make sure it can be made region free via a firmware fix. The info can be found at the 'DVD Firmware' link in the links/contacts section here.
     
  8. buns

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    thank you very much! At the moment I am actually putting together a system for work.....as a bit of a learning experience before i attack the htpc.

    Specs wise......i was actually avoiding the intels.....AMD ddr seems to be the way....

    512MB sounds about right! Presumably a fast acces hard drive is also preferable?

    Dont fear.....I listen to you guys often.....i know that any old dvd player wont do!.....but maybe you might suggest which anyone else uses to give me an idea of the best.....if there is such a thing!

    what else.....is dvi something of use....I as yet have no idea what it is! (apart from something graphicsy) I read somewhere about certain cards being better suited to custom resolutions and such likes......is this true?

    where can i buy the likes of windvd and powerdvd? and for how much?

    can i get away with making the machine multi functional......if i use one HD for home theatre and another one for other apps?

    thanks alot guys

    Adam
     
  9. Jeff

    Jeff
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  10. Metric

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    dvi keeps it all in the digital domain, so in theory its just 0s and 1s running accross...so things like ghosting etc over longer cables shouldnt occur
     
  11. buns

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    informative as always, thanks. By the way I am getting swayed towrd an infocus lp340.....any ideas on its abilities with a htpc?

    Adam
     
  12. minimivic

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    Buns

    The Infocus LP340 works well with a HTPC. The internal scaler isn't too bad but the inprovments are significant when connected to a PC.
    Be aware of the "rainbow effect", it is improved by the addition of the PC but Demo 1 first, and try to get 1 home for a day or two to play with. Its the only way to be sure :D
    Otherwise make sure you get a return warrenty if you are unhappy.
     
  13. Desmo

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    Just out of curiosity, have any of you guys who say go for Intel actually got an AMD based comp?
     
  14. Jeff

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    OK, why AMD?

    The reasons I went for a PIII 933 are;

    Low cost
    mATX
    Intel 815 chipset
    Cool
    Quiet
    Intel drivers
    Compatibility
    Reliability

    Jeff
     
  15. buns

    buns
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    Sharky

    I agree entirely as far as demoing goes....however Ireland isnt the hub of the projector world.....It just isnt possible for me to demo the infocus! And I am understandably....not too keen on putting down all that cash without looking first! I didnt notice the rainbow with the Sim 200, so i assumed i dont see it. Is it normal to get return warranties.....or is it something that has to be payed for?

    thanks

    adam
     
  16. Gary Lightfoot

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    After reading stuff on www.avsforum.com, it seems that the main probs with AMD is not the processor, but the support chips. VIA chipsets seem to cause some people problems, and everyone swears by the 4in1 VIA drivers.

    AMD is so cheap now - £93 for a 1ghz processor, and mobo's starting from £55, it's easy to see the attraction. I'm going to upgrade my desktop machine soon, and I'm definately going the AMD route. The machine will eventualy replace my current MPact2 based HTPC, so it'll give me a good chance to see how things go. I'll be getting the older Giagbyte 71XE4 board so that all my existing stuff will swap into it, and it isn't based on the VIA chipset, so hopefully everything will work OK. :)

    Anyone know the cheapest place for an ATI Radeon 32meg DDR card? I might get one imported from the states (Radeon LE) if I can't find a cheap one over here.

    ASUS do a £19 digital out soundcard with 5.1 support which was reviewed recently in either PCPro or PC World computer mags. I got an Aureal 5.1 card from computergeeks.com in the states, and with postage etc came to about £18. Anyone interested in the url, let me know.

    Gary.
     
  17. Guest

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    The main problem with AMD is compatability issues with (mainly) audiophile quality sound card (M-audio A2496) and Radeon gfx card. That's why I opted for the Intel route even though it's more expensive.

    If you decide to go AMD, think twice before you get 71XE4: maximum AGP bandwith is 2x (dunno how far will this affect DVD playback), no ATA100 support, and it's based on the old AMD irongate chipset which has much slower memory benchmarks and whose drivers are not updated as frequently as VIA's.

    just my 2 cents.
     
  18. Desmo

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    I didn't say there was anything wrong with Intel. I just see a lot of people still saying stay away from AMD when I don't think it's justified.
    That's all. I'm not looking for a fight :)
     
  19. Gary Lightfoot

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    Thanks for the input typing99,

    As far as I know, there is very little between agp 2x and 4x, so I doubt there'll be much difference. Most of the complaints/comments I've seen on other forums seem to be based more around the via chipset than anything else, and those that have used the 71xe4 have said it was 'rock solid' etc.

    I won't be using an expensive sound card, so no worries there, and I'm currently running an ata66 on a 33 machine, so I won't miss the 100 capability, but might notice the speed increase. :)

    As for benchmarks, in my experience of computers, I rarely see the difference. I upgraded from a ATI Mach1 2meg card, to a 4meg Matrox Mystique 220 and didn't see any difference. Even Quake/Quake2 fps was about the same. I did notice the diff' when I upgraded the processor, and again when I added a Voodoo2 card though!

    I will check the Radeon/AMD combo though, based on what you said, as I will be getting this card (if it's still being made) when this machine finaly replaces my HTPC.

    Thanks for your 2c - I'd hate to buy a new card that wouldn't work on my PC...

    Gary.
     
  20. ReTrO

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    Gary: I've got an old Millenium II. It has an extra 15pin d-sub out on the back for video?

    Any ideas how to use it (Break out leads etc.)?

    Cheers

    Rick
     
  21. Guest

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    1024 x 768 at 75hz.....?

    This is not neeeded for decoding native dvd resolution,my belief is that it is overkill for dvd-maybe useful for a high definition signal,but over 640 x 480 at progressive scan is not really for dvd-but for computer games etc.
    I have found that if you upscale above the native resolution it can have an adverse affect if anything. :eek:
     
  22. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Spartacus,

    What display are you using?
    Do you know what a scaler is?
    What is the resolution of R2 PAL DVD's?
    What is the resolution of R1 DVD's?
    Care to rethink?

    Jeff
     
  23. Gary Lightfoot

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    Hi Atomic/Retro,

    If it's like my Mystique 220, then you have to fit a daughter card (in my case the Rainbow Runner) and that comes with leads for video in/out etc.

    HTH.

    Gary
     
  24. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    High End One:

    It depends what you are outputting to whether it's worth going above 480P. As there are very few 600 x 480 fixed panel projectors around these days then feeding them with their native resolution should give a significant benefit.

    For high quality CRT you may even want to go above 768P.....

    Gordon
     
  25. jason t

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    hi guys

    advice needed please when using my plv30 with a htpc what resolution should i use ??

    for pal ??
    for ntsc ??

    thank you

    jason
     
  26. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    You should try 800 x 600. The native resolution of the panel. This is the same for NTSC and PAL

    Gordon
     
  27. Guest

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    Gordon;-
    If the progressive scan of a vga signal is output at 640 x 480,this is enough to handle the resolution of dvd?
    The active lines of a dvd picture are below 480?
    If you are scaling then surely this is only really beneficial above a 9ft screen where the line structure might be apparent?
    Again,i would have thought that the distance
    you are from the screen is important to ensure that the line structure is not.
    It also depends on the panel of the projector you are using,but even with a higher res-capable panel,you are limited by the format..do you agree?
     
  28. buns

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    ok......to ask the question thatI really wanted to ask when I posted intially!

    When using a budget projector such as the sanyo plv30, are there noticible improvements using a HTPC as opposed to taking the easy way out and sending the projector a progressive signal from the likes of the iscan?

    As a silly afterthought, the iscan will deinterlace a pal signal wont it......does it then output in 480p or 576p?

    thanks

    Adam
     
  29. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    Buns: Iscan outputs 576 P

    HighEnd One: The NTSC television standard has 525 lines of vertical resolution(horizontal lines) of those the maximum available for active video are 482.

    Is 640 x 480 enough resolution for DVD...well that got me thinking as DVD may well be 720 x 480 for NTSC. I need to check that. Obviously PAL is more.

    In any given situation the ideal seating is at a position where the screen is able to fit your field of view comfortably without having to turn your head...unless you like sitting at the front row of your local multiplex. The caveat as you say being that you should sit far enough away so that picture structure is not evident. This includes a the cinema as well...

    With LCD, DLP, d'Ila devices this depends on the number of pixels and the dot-pitch between each pixel. Screen size is just one of the factors. Higher quantity, more densely packed arrays make it harder to see the panel structure, which you mention.

    With CRT projection the important bit is how narrow a line the projector can draw across a screen. 9ft as a screen width is neither here nor there I'm afraid. Lets say you have a 16:9 screen of 6ft width. Now, we have a 7" crt that can draw 480 lines horizontally with each line just touching the next. We can't see line structure. Great. Now suppose we increase the screen size to 7ft wide. Height goes up....but now we've got to draw 480 lines in this larger space.....this means there's going to be gaps between each scan line. Your solution is to sit further back so you can't see the gap. Fair enough. My solution is to increase the output resolution of the scaler or HTPC to draw more lines.

    If you have an 8" CRT it can probably draw even narrower lines. I've got a 7" CRT sitting downstairs in my lounge (NEC9PG)and at 480P scan lines are easily visible on my 160cm X 90cm screen. So I increased the scaler output to tripled,720P.

    Ultimately you are limited by the resolution of the source format but you must remember that a fixed panel projector with a 1024 x 768 pixel array will have to scale the NTSC image to fit those pixels. I believe that a good scaler can do this to a much higher standard than any internal scaler within a projector, at least that I have seen.

    I also believe that even although there are only 480 vertical lines of resolution on disc interpolating that information to a higher resolution can be beneficial. Think of it as oversampling in CD parlance.

    I hope this helps your understanding of my thoughts on the subject.

    Gordon
     
  30. Guest

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    I get your point Gordon,though in laymans terms,if a dvd picture is made up of 480 active lines carrying all the info and picture detail there is-you need to see all that detail-you cannot see more than is there.
    Would you see ALL that detail at 640 x 480-i.e.see the 480 lines of resolution-OR-would you only see 478?..would scaling up produce any more detail?..could it?
    Again,in laymans terms,if you had a line and within that line was all the detail you needed to see-would quadrupling that line just stretch the detail-and soften the detail?
    Could you not also say that 640 x 480(480p)is ideal-and enough,to display all the detail-whereas 720p for instance via scaler should in theory be ideal for a 720 line picture(if there was a format with 720p)?
    Are you in some respects by applying all these exotic scalings,attempting to get two pints out of a pint pot?
    I would assume as well that using this logic,1080p is ideal for high def sources but somewhat overegging the mix for dvd?
    FINALLY..if the vga output is progressive from a p.c.anyway-are you not achieving close to the equivalent of a 960 line picture even at 640 x 480?
    As i said earlier,i am playing devils advocate here,so your comments are eagerly anticipated!!

    I am playing devils advocate here :D :D :D :D :D :D ;)
     

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