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Ragnaroks HTPC

Ragnarok

Active Member
It's not so much a project but it might turn into one. I realized I had virtually A whole PC of bit and bobs laying un-used. So it started here.

This is what I has lying around.

An old black ATX case.
Corsair HX520 PSU ( I know this is an excellent piece of kit but I have a HX620 in my main pc)
ASrock 4core Dual Vsta motherboard ( When I upgraded to an I7 I upgraded my mums PC and pulled this from her PC)
Intel Core 2 Duo E4400 cpu + Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7
2x 1gb corsair DDR2 667 memory ( memory was so cheep I got my mum a 4 gig kit and I was Left with this)
1 x belkin Gigabit ethernet card ( the onboard NIC is only 10/100 mbit)
SkyStar2 DVB-S card
Ge force 6200 AGP graphic card
Samsung Spinpiont 500gb HDD.

Now I am Forever watching HD movies TV blu-rays/HDTV and stuff on my PC. I even Have 2 DVB-s2 cards in my PC that I use to watch TV on my PC and that is setup to allow me to watch record capture 2 sky HD channels at once.

So I also have 2x DVB-S2 tuners available. to try and make this work.

So I'd Like to to turn this in to an all singing and dancing HTPC the old bits into an all singing and dancing HTPC with 2 HD tuners and a SD tuner that can replace my Sky + HD under the TV have soo much more functionality. So my Viewing card isn't doing a merry dance between my Sky+Hd box and Card reader for my PC.
Maybe Later when I have that Much working try to add the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD to it and get that up and running too.

I do realize this machine is most likely going to struggle with playing back interlaced HDTV in H.264 but when this was in my mums computer I did manage to get this very CPU memory and graphic card playing back a sky sports HD recording perfectly.

The Story So far is I have Put it together. Partitioned the HDD 50gb for the OS and the rest for another Partition. Installed Windows XP, and copied a HD transport stream over to it along with a copy of good old media player classic ( because if it's ability to let you choose the Codecs it will use) and a bunch of Codecs to see what might work on this machine.

I've Managed to have replicated geting a HD transport stream to play back very nicely with CoreAVC (with Hardware De-interlacing set), AC3 filter, Haali Media splitter under the VMR7 renderer. EVR worked well when i had downloaded the .net3.5 framework too with a touch heavier CPU useage, but VMR9 failed miserably.

The downsides. I had to overclock the CPU from it's stock 2ghz to 2.66ghz to make the playback smooth, as Decoding this stream used the CPU heavily (60-90% CPU usage with a Sky HD TS from the Sky Sports HD channels). Also this motherboard has really bad overclocking options And I'm not entirely sure it's stable enough to be a PVR at that speed.

I copied over DVB Dream and got the DVB-S card up and running to check and see If BBCHD and ITVHD where ok being watched Live. That was ok too, both played ok and used 40-80% cpu time.

Now The Question is where do I go Next, I guess this is to be continued. :)
 
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Me too mate, I've been thinking of upgrading my HTPC to FullHD with Blu-Ray/HD-DVD, just short of DVB-S2 card and a spare HDD & mATX board.

The old one has to go, it struggles on standard definition stuff. I've been trying to get around to it but am overwhelmed a bit by all the codecs and plugins etc for a proper frontend interface like Davey's, Theydon's and others machines.
 

Ragnarok

Active Member
I've Had a little more time.

I've also got the the plugins in DVB dream working so when my sky viewing card is in my DM500s which i brought to use as a little box to do read my viewing card. I can view all my Sky channels (bar most of the HD channels because I've yet to add one of the DVB-S2 tuners Yet) on DVB dream.

For those wondering about the new Sky card and how the heck I use it with My PC. I couldn't find a cam that worked properly with it anymore, and my NEWCS setup on windows was the same, if it worked at all it'd work with constantly glitches every 5-10 seconds. The only thing that Supports the new sky cars currently is NEWCS 1.66 or later. but NEWCS is Linux only. My attempts to run it under Puppy Linux on VM player in windows on was semi successful, It worked but the card would reset alot!! Eventualy I caved in and brought a cheep dreambox 500s clone hooked it up to the network and setup NEWCS and everything and it now works like a dream on the watching Sky HD on my PC with the new Viewing card front ( but the card does need to go back in the sky box to be kept alive, and you can see when it need to back in the sky box in the web console).

I've had a chat with a friend he recons media portal is great, Little did i know when i helped him get his sky card working on his PC he was in fact using Media Portal and that it Unofficially supports MDAPI like my DVB apps do. Which is fab because that sounds Ideal for what I want on my PC. But he also said that It only Supports VRM9 and EVR, also EVR may not work properly on XP. He also points out that on his Simlar spec machine he's able to use cyberlink's latest H.264 Codec running DXVA and it uses virtually no CPU time.

Now I just have to see how media portal goes considder a new graphics card. Looking around a passively cooled Geforce 9400 GT looks fit for the job and cheep. So i might go pick one up.

It might be worth moving to Vista for proper EVR support too
 
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Ragnarok

Active Member
fWell I've for the new graphic card and it works beautifully with Hardware acceleration, result. Also found out that EVR Fails in mediaportal in windows XP. VMR9 wasn't quite rock steady in xp ether.

I've gone to Vista and managed to set it up Core AVC even with Cuda I can get it playing back video smoothly but Cyberlink works perfectly now, Got media potal working with all the DVB-S(2)card's, it plays back various Video files and even managed to get all my subscription channels working well too and the EPG is fully populated for all channels too just like the Sky box but much faster. Even ITVHD gets epg data from the freesat EPG so you can set up recordings for that.

The only major Issue i ran into was that the happague win TV Nova S2 card, doesn't like the upto date satellite lists, you have to modify the lists with pilot disabled on all the S2 tranponder data before it'll work with Sky's DVB-s2 channels.

minor issues, other remotes for my TV and AV amp are picked up by the happague remote sensor and make it do random things. Channel Changing is a little slow too but it works.

It's not perfectly stable but it shows promise. Seems this very much possible. it's getting tempting to get a new remote and HTPC case to finish it off.
 
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