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thinking of builing a PC to go with PJ any one else going this ??

jamieuk23

Banned
Hi was thinking about building a PC to go with my PJ. as I was thinking about buying a DVD recorder to go with my plasma etc. Then i thought how about a PC with a TV capture card that I have lieing around.

+ I would be able to play classic PC games on the Big screen like Rome total war.

Is any one else have a PC running with the PJ ??

If so what cool stuff are you using your PC for with your PJ ??

I am just unsure of this is a nraml thing that people are doing and if its a waist of time etc

thanks

:thumbsup:
 

throwit

Established Member
everything displayed by my pj is from pc

i use it for dvds, photograph editing and viewing, cad and corel graphics suite, i also did all my university pc work with my projector - but of course, at 10-15p per hour of lamp use it ain't cheap

using a pc is a double edged sword...

pros :

flexibility - easy to multitask

pcs running software like dvd player are generally more resistant to update needs unlike seperate av equipment that just does what it did when it left the factory

pcs are potentially less expensive, as individual components can be replaced if something dies


cons :

if something busts, like a power supply, it's all over 'till you fix it

noise, some pcs can be intrusive, my pc would be deathly silent with its' zalman cpu cooler - but the power supply though quiet is always putting nvh into the pc chassis - got to sort it - it's way overpowered so i keep meaning to take it all apart and use a speed controller to turn the fan right down, but i'll need to monitor power supply temp with everything going - bit of a pita to do, that


there are probably more reasons to , or not to use a pc, personally i like it
 

jamieuk23

Banned
thanks for your very informing post mate !

is it possible for a PC to work like a OPPO DVD player which Upscales a DVD to 720 HDTV resloutions etc ??

+ when I went for a demo for my PJ they had a PC setup there with the PJ`s on display and I noticed the guy had a kind of remote controle in his had which worked like a mouse, seemed really cool but I am guessing very exspensive, any ideas what the controle/mouse is called ???

+ does this seem like a decent deal ?

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/NEW-PENTIUM-P...Z8774553891QQcategoryZ179QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
 

throwit

Established Member
not sure about being comparable to oppo, but at a guess you should surely be able to find pc dvd player that's competitive, though i don't know what to recommend as i still battle on with my slightly old and crappy powerdvd5

one point to note is that most pcs thesedays'll pump out a signal that is an exact native match for your pj - superb ! e.g. 1280x720

directly wired or usb remotes are either a) still ridiculously expensive (last looked into them ages ago as my lp 240 has a mouse on remote) or b) really cheap now, a worthwhile addition if reasonably priced i'd say

you know what technology's like, it's out of date before they've thought it all out ! :mad: but despite this, your ebay find looks like it's up to the job, and appears a decent enough deal, perhaps take your finger off the trigger 'till some real tech head adds their 2p ? !...but i know how hard it is to hold it down once a purchase is in sight ;)
 

metallic

Established Member
If you have the time and inclination to tinker to tweak then you will find that you can make a far better dvd player out a pc then an oppo. Have a search for ffdshow. You will need a fast processor to do this though. That one you posted would be enough for some basic resizing but not much more. It really depends if you would rather have a simple plug and play dvd player or spend time setting up a pc based one that will give better results but will not be as easy to use.

Also that pc link you posted. If you want to play games then you will need to buy a graphics card for that pc, as it only comes with integrated graphics. Add around £100-£150 onto that price for something reasonable.
 

throwit

Established Member
couple more things

may be an idea to ask what the db situation for this pc is - much the same as with a pj, your pc really has to be sub 28db to properly in the 'quiet' range

and also, although losing the pen is another pita, a tablet (like i use) is a great thing to have (apart from remote mouse i don't use mice anymore - tablet is v cool tool)

:)
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
I'm also a PC user and have never used anything else really (5 years +).

I use an all in one keyboard/trackball or a Gyration suite (remote mouse and kb) to operate it, and like the others, everything comes from it. Currently it's the only real way of displaying Hi Def too.

Gary
 

sniffer66

Distinguished Member
Well, Im an ex HTPC user, so heres my experience

Just as background, I have 15 years in PC support for a Bluechip and am now a consultant in IT Security

I needed to get DVD's and the RGBs output from my Sky+ scaled into my SD plasma and my (at the time) HD PJ

Rather than go the software player route I went for the Sweetspot/Xcard combo and using Dscaler for video processing. This gave me an all digital path for DVD's as I was using DVI out from a Radeon 9600 and the VGA analogue out for the plasma

Picture quality was excellent however the whole setup was in my lounge and was used all day by the wife and kids. even with a programmable remote and Girder remote software etc I lost count of the amount of phone calls at work complaining that X had a problem, Z wasnt working, Y was doing this
Also, given my background I couldnt resist fiddling wiht the entire setup constantly - sometimes causing more problems - with all the usual complaints form the missus :D

I ended up moving to a dedicated scaler/video processor that has automatic video/audion detection and switching and have never looked back - the wife is much happier :thumbsup:

Im not saying HTPC's are a bad thing - the results can be just as good , if not better than anything else. I wouldnt reccomend one for family use TBH. if you have a dedicated room or you are the sole user and dont mind a lot of fiddling then they are a great, cheaper alternative. It also helps to have a good grounding in PC setup/configuration - or a lot of patience and a willingness to learn
 

jamieuk23

Banned
I might consider just putting 2gther my own PC. so whats the most inportant part when it comes to building a PC for excellent DVD playback > the graphics card or motherboard ??

Is there certain video cards you can buy out there which will upgrade the PC performace for watching DVD`s, a certain vidoe card especially for DVD playback ?

as you can see I am a little lost here.

can you make a list for me of things you think I would need to buy to build a very good performace PC, to be at the Heart of my home cinema setup ?

:thumbsup:

I will start...

1. PC case

2.?
 

Anim

Established Member
Dont know if it was mentioned but have a look at Windows XP Media Centre and also the NVidia PureVideo codec, makes a good all rounder all in one combination

Sniffer:

Your a consultant in IT security?
Cool, I need somebody to lock down an online app server soon. Can pay with cables, wires and a full bag of interconnects :rotfl:

Anim
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
Jamie,

A Radeon 9600 or better is a good start for the video card, and have a look on the HTPC forum for other recommendations for NVidia. The graphics card is the most important part for good DVD/video playback. You don't need a powerful machine unless you'll be playing back Hi Def or want to use post processing like FFDShow or DScaler.

So a 1ghz machine will be OK for DVD, but 3ghz or better for HD.

Don;t gorget a sound card with S/PDIF out for full 5.1 (and extended) digital outputs.

WinXP and a software player like PowerDVD 6 or WinDVD 6 will get you going with good results. TheaterTek is more expensive but more flexible, and ZoomPlayer is shareware and the most advanced player available, but you already need a software player installed as it doesn;t have it;s own video/audio filters to render the image and sound itslef.

Gary
 

FlyingBig

Standard Member
Ya, anyone not using their PC with their PJ isn't realising its full potential or is wasting money on expensive dvd players to play DVDS that can be played on your PC for free and without lip sync issues. Games are just a mighty fine bonus :p
 

cyberheater

Prominent Member
I'd recommend a nvidia card. Ideally a 6600 + nvideo purevideo codec. This will give you amazing video quality with minimal cpu and future proof you for any hi-def content you might want to source.

I know folks on this board tend to go ati but you'll need something like a nvidia 6600 to take full advantage of purevideo hardware acceleration.
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
Hi John,

I'm a little out of touch with the advances of HTPC since my system seems to perform well with it's (older) 9600, but if you could give a bit more info on the advantages of the NVidia 6600 I'd appraciate it. :)

Gary
 

throwit

Established Member
also, i'm probably not the first to ask, but i bet i;m also not the only one who wants to know...can you get graphics cards that also handle video equally well or vice versa ?...why isn't there one card to do both ?...i have nvidia geforce 5200 (i think) graphics card, and am running out of slots !

also, below is screen shot of my pc/pj multitasking - on a quieter day of doing several things at once (and none of them well !)
 

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Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
All graphics cards will display the PC desktop and applicationes etc pretty much the same. It's how they do video that counts. Some have better mpg 'engines' in them to handle macroblocking and deinterlacing/scaling etc, and that's why the choice of graphics card can be important.

Your 5200 may be OK, but an ATI 9600 or Nvidia 6600 will do a better job. Try the 5200 and see what you think of it. You may be pleasantly surprised and feel the higher end cards don't offer a great deal more improvement. On the other hand you may feel differently.

Gary
 

throwit

Established Member
when you say try the 5200, is that a typo, or do you mean set the dvd to be displayed via the card i have ? as i think the chap who installed the graphics card and nvidia drivers set that up for me

on the subect of deinterlacing , some dvds (eg lotr fellowship of the ring extended edition, at beginning of disc 2) literally seem to display like they're tearing from one frame to the next, like tearing paper, but i attributed that to my powerdvd5 which seems to have steadily deteriorated though not fatally - some dvds appear not to work so well with force bob, force weave or auto select

anyways, thanks for the advice, if and when, i'll look into the 6600, although of course the options/choice may well have changed by then
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
I'm not that familiar with the 5200 so that's why I suggested you see how it performs for a while. I use PowerDVD6 and don't get tearing - not sure if what you're getting is projector related or not though (might be the 5200). Some PJs do exhibit tearing if they are not optomised for video (data pjs for instance).

If you are watching a film based movie, force weave will usually give the best results, and bob for video.

As for slots you don't need any more - you simply uninstall the graphic card drivers, shut doen and turn of the PC then physicaly remove the graphics card. You then install the new card and fiollow the PC instructions as prompted after switching it back on.

Better grapchics cards are coming out all the time, so see what's recommended.

Gary
 

throwit

Established Member
thanks !

i think i was getting a little muddled...a video card is for tv capture or tv out ?...and not for display of dvd, which is handled by the graphics card ? is that correct, or am i making you furious with my stupidity ? !
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
Not yet. :)

When you said video card I assumed you meant the graphics card which is what you conect your display to (monitor etc). Some graphics cards have video capture facilities, but I was just talking about a graphics card that will give you good DVD playback capabilities at the moment. Some graphics cards do games as well as DVD playback very well too.

Quite often a 'tv' card is the term used for a capture card since it sometimes contains a tv tuner. If you don;t have any spare slots and need tv facilities then you will have to look into an 'all in wonder' ATI card or similar.

Gary
 

cyberheater

Prominent Member
Gary Lightfoot said:
Hi John,

I'm a little out of touch with the advances of HTPC since my system seems to perform well with it's (older) 9600, but if you could give a bit more info on the advantages of the NVidia 6600 I'd appraciate it. :)

Gary


Cards like the 6600 have the following hardware accelaration features if used with the latest drivers and purevideo codec.

Features support:-

H.264 Decode Acceleration, MPEG-2 Decode Acceleration, WMV9 Decode Acceleration, High-Quality Scaling, Spatial-Temporal, De-Interlacing, Inverse Telecine, Bad Edit Correction.

I picked up my 6600 on ebay for around 40 quid and it made a huge difference for hi-def/standard def content.

The upshot is low cpu usage and a vastly improved video playback.

On the other hand. If you use ffdshow then you won't be used the hardware acceleration features of your video card anyway.

More info here http://www.nvidia.com/page/purevideo.html
 
E

edto

Guest
I've been shopping around getting a infofcus sp 4805 to run with a PC, so if anyone refer any builds for a sytem just made purely to play movies would be a big plus with audio/video cards.
 

jamieuk23

Banned
reagrds to connecting PC to projector for best picture Quality would you just use the VGA connection.. or is it worth buying a HDMI PCI card and connecting that way (if there is such thing as a HDMI card?)

All so what sought of ram would you recomend for video playback 500MB be ok ??
 

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