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Sky to HTPC and Projector

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Gillykid, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. Gillykid

    Gillykid
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    Currently very very happy with my setup of HTPC to LCD and Projector - looks great and really practical.

    However, just got sky and want to use it on both the HTPC and LCD. Its currently setup on the projector no problems through SCART, but the digibox only has one SCART ouput.

    Am I right in thinking the best was is to get an amplified scart splitter, run one SCART to the projector and then the other via RGB to a sweetspot card?

    Is this correct? Have others done it? Where is a good place for splitters?

    Cheers, G
     
  2. SeaneyC

    SeaneyC
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    OK G, first things first, how is everything connected?

    From the sounds of it, it sounds like you have your HTPC connected to both your PJ, and your LCD. I assume you're using VGA or DVI for both of them, if you're not, you're already losing heaps of picture quality!

    The best way to run your digibox with your setup, assuming they're both connected to the HTPC, would be to run it into a sweetspot via RGB scart, and then using DScaler on the HTPC, output to the LCD and the projector. The de-interlacing in DScaler will probably be streets ahead of the one in your projector (although you haven't stated which one you have) not to mention you won't lose any quality with the scart splitter etc..
     
  3. Gillykid

    Gillykid
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    Hi SeaneyC, thanks for the reply

    Yeah, the Projecor is connected via DVI, the LCD through VGA then I use Powerstrip to flip between them with 1:1 pixel mapping.

    The projector is a Panasonic AE-500, with Sky also directly connected to it via SCART.

    So you would recommend running SKY through the HTPC then onto the projector as apposed to direct?? Cool! Saves buying a splliter :D - those things are about £45!

    Anyone managed to do this themselves?

    Cheers
    G
     
  4. SeaneyC

    SeaneyC
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    Yes me! Well not sky, but i run my consoles (Xbox, Gamecube, N64, Dreamcast)and my VHS video into my HTPC via S-Video and DScaler, into my CRT projector :) Probably a bad example as the CRT projector can do native interlaced output too, but i've seen quite a few LCD projectors fed with with an S-Video signal (although not the AE-500) and TBH they looked like crap.

    I might be putting my neck out here, but i'd say even a £15 tv card off ebay in conjunction with D-Scaler would give you a nice picture than running directly into the PJ. From what i've heard the sweetspot is a nice card, but i can't really warrant buying one right now as i'm just about to get rid of most of my HC stuff :(
     
  5. Gillykid

    Gillykid
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    Thanks for the advice (and confidence boost!) - I will go with the Sweetspot.

    P.S. Why get rid of HC stuff?? My life seems so much more complete with an 80" screen!
     
  6. SeaneyC

    SeaneyC
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    My friend that owns the flat I live in is going into the army and is selling it, and i also didn't make the start i had hoped to at Uni, so i'm going back home to live with the rents for a bit :(

    But on the up side i hope to recoup some of my loss and have something a little more stylish and less hardcore for when i go home now :) Enjoy the rewards of DScaler, i hope it brings you the same improvements i saw in my setup!
     
  7. Gillykid

    Gillykid
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    Hi SeaneyC

    Well Sweetspot and DScaler is in - very happy with the result. What settings do you (or others!) use in DScaler when viewing sky? Or is everyone using the default settings.

    I have played around for some minor imporvements, but the amount of settings scares the hell out of me! What filters / tweaks have people done??

    Cheers

    G
     
  8. NaTT

    NaTT
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    dya mean to say that with RGB Scart from a set top box you're better off going into a sweetspot and out of your PC via DVI, than going to a JS RGB to Component convertor then directly to your plasma's Component ins?

    Really? I'll be in a position to do both when my Plasma arrives, but I'd have thought the JS box would give the best results..
     
  9. philipb

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    NaTT

    IMHO Sweetspot+Dscaler is the better option. I have used the JS box and it is excellent, but I prefer the PC option. Dscaler is a superb and free bit of software which improves PQ dramatically. I haver experimented with Showshifter, which uses the Sweetspot as the capture device but takes Dscaler out of the line. PQ is noticeably worse than using the Sweetspot+dscaler combo.


    Dscaler is the difference.

    FWIW, I run RGB scart from Sky+ to Sweetspot/Dscaler; DVI out of Radeon 9600 to Pioneer 43MXE1. I also have a Netgem outputting component directly to the MXE1, and that is also excellent PQ but still not as good as the PC option.
     
  10. NaTT

    NaTT
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    Cheers Philip,
    that's almost exactly the system I will have! including the graphics card, Plasma and Sweetspot. (mine's NTL though not Sky).
    I've only used Dscaler with my sweetspot on my test rig (office PC) and only then into a AOC 19in LCD and for limited periods and settings tweaking (due to having to lug it all into the living room to hook up to the STB with the Van Damme cables).

    TV looked kinda "dull" and grainy on those few tests, and I was resigned to the thought that a direct connection to my future plasma would render better results. But this could be it being a cheapish screen and not set-up right.

    Any tips on settings to improve the picture quality? I'm guessing that power strip's not needed given the 9600's option of 1024X768.
     
  11. philipb

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    Agreed - PS not needed.

    The guys at Sweetspot recommend Dscaler out of the box - ie no tweakings necessary. I have adjusted video settings (turned down brightness and contrast) and may have to again as my brand new MXE1 settles in.

    I do use the chroma filter to adjust a small horizontal offset visible in the Sky info bar and other colour boxes, eg Sky news.

    I'll check to see if i've set anything else, but I don't think so. I think everything else is default setting.
     
  12. NaTT

    NaTT
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    cool, and this gives you a TV picture on the 43MXE1 much better than anything you'd likely see set-up in shops? and even slightly better than via a JS convertor box? :thumbsup:

    Forgive my persistance, I've only ever seen a 434HDE fed off a freeview box with an RGB scart. This looked a bit better than most demos I'd seen, but I've taken a bit of a flier on the hope that with a 43MXE1 an NTL box to a JS box to the BNC inputs, I'll see a marked improvement.
    Are we talking almost CRT 'esque from a 3+ meters away?
     
  13. philipb

    philipb
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    cool, and this gives you a TV picture on the 43MXE1 much better than anything you'd likely see set-up in shops? and even slightly better than via a JS convertor box?

    Absolutely. These things are always subjective, but I think all MXE1 owners - and 433 owners for that matter - will agree that with a decent scaler/deinterlacer involved (HTPC or Lumagen/Crystalio/etc) the monitor will beat the HDE version comfortably. Even the direct feed from Sky via a JS box will still be better. But the Sweetspot/Dscaler route beats all. On my old 433, and certainly on the MXE1, Sky movies can approach DVD quality. OK the Pioneers cannot match the Pannys for sheer contrast ratio but in all other respects I rate them best PQ of all. Contrast is not CRT standard - but what plasma is? I sit about 3 metres away and PQ is excellent. No going back to CRT for me. The only question is when will LCD surpass plasma size for size and pound for pound? Probably a couple of years. But plasmas get better and better and cheaper and cheaper, and bigger and bigger. CRT RIP :thumbsdow
     
  14. NaTT

    NaTT
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    cheers again Philip. I'll probably be giving that a go as soon as I get it, which might even be this weekend (finger crossed) :rolleyes: .

    Agree with what you say about LCD competing with Plasma. It's of case of "when" not "is/are" LCDs a better bet than plasma, and 2 years seems about right given the price differential and the fact that Plasma's won't stand still whilst LCDs are bridging the gap.
     

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