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Urgent HCPC Advice...

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Neelix, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. Neelix

    Neelix
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    I am starting to panic now as I cannot fiure out what I should be doing regarding a HCPC??!! :confused: :eek: :suicide: I have the electrician coming round next week to carve up my new apartment in order to lay cables, put up my plasma and ceiling mount the HS50. I am thinking of using only VGA and DVI to HDMI cables x 2 i.e. one set to the plasma and the other set to the HS50. I can't think I need anything else :confused: This leads me to the HCPC confusion... what do I get? I have been reading the Elonex Artisan thread with interest as this would ideally be my preference to buy "off the shelf" but I am a little concernd with the spec. The X300SE card is hardly max strength and only has one DVI output! The PVR500 sounds good but appears to only accept composite or S-Video. I will be hooking up a Sky digibox and from what I read on here it should use a RGB connection for best results. I initially started to look at a self-build (ok with it technically just don't have much spare times to source the best stuff) which appears to suggest a Sweetspot card for capture and the Xcard for output. That said you can't use MCE2005 on a self-build which would be my ideal as it will need to be very simple for my girlfriend to enjoy using. I have heard FFDshow doesn't work with MCE :( So what am I to do? I need to have 4 outputs from the HCPC (unless I can get an external switcher). I would ideally want to use a very intuitive media centre like MCE2005 software but am drawn to the idea of FFDshow and Dscaler to maximise PQ... what should I do? Any suggestions... HELP :lease:
     
  2. Oakleyspatz

    Oakleyspatz
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  3. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    A PC with a 9600 Radeon and Sweetspot for scaling/deinterlacing external sources should be all you really need if you want to start on a budget. You can find cheaper or freeware software like MCE2005 such as Meedio and MYHTPC which are front-ends that sit over the top of windows and are customiseable. They look great and work well IMHO. I would run all cables to the pj just in case.

    Add a 5.1 soundcard, 3200+ CPU (for Hi Def, anything less wil,ll be fine for DVD unless you want to use FFDShow) and mobo with a few 200gig hard drives and you're away. Look into upgrading to PVR etc later after you've got this one up and running.

    I don't use FFDShow (You will need a 3200+ to run it properly) though it can improve your image, but i'm hapy with PowerDVD and the latest version of WinDVD.

    I use a case which looks like a piece of av kit and it sits in my cabinet (pic on my web-site), so they don't have to look like a PC at all. You can make them quiet so they don;t sound like a pc either. Once you've built it and get to grips with it, you can look at how to make it quieter later. That's what I did, though mostly out of curiosity because it was hardly audible from where I sat anyway.

    Gary.
     
  4. Craig Armstrong

    Craig Armstrong
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    I've got one of these HTPC cases and have been really happy with it - not cheap but well made. I have also bought a decent Zalman flower cooler for the CPU and one of the quiet running PSUs also available on the quietpc website :)
     
  5. Neelix

    Neelix
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    Thanks for the input so far. Does the sweetspot card remove the need to use Dscaler? What sort of connection / cable should I use from the Sky Digibox to go into the HCPC, I don't have it yet so don't know what outputs are available on the back?

    @ Craig and Gary, how much have your HCPCs cost you guys? If I use a different media centre can I integrate a remote control and do they support PVR functions like the Hauppage series? Craig, did you buy the front LED display for your case and does it work well?

    Soooo many questions and so little time :(
     
  6. Craig Armstrong

    Craig Armstrong
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    I lose track to be honest, changing bits every now and again. You can build one on a smaller budget then I did, but to give you an idea of what I have bought over last fortnight:

    Motherboard - Asus AV8 - approx £80
    Athlon64 3500+ - £180
    9700 Pro Graphics Card (just before Christmas) - £100
    1GB memory (CL2 decent stuff) - £120
    SATA 200GB hard drive - £75

    Then there's the case, the quiet running CPU fan and PSU, DVD ROM or writer.

    I've got the LCD installed and use LCD Smartie 5.1 to control it quite successfully.

    I also have the remote control unit but had nothing but problems trying to set it up with the software (software's/my fault rather than the infrared unit) so ditched it. I do have a Nebula Electonrics digiTV card (£120) in the PC as well and that comes with a remote control and ability to control various media software apps, although I have not sat down and sorted it all out, I've got a 17" screen next to my sofa which I use to set stuff up before dropping in onto my second screen, the projector! :D
     
  7. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    I use a Asus mobo which was around £45, a 2600+ CPU (will swap that with my 2800+ desktop CPU soon) and 1/2 gig of ram (it might still be 256 meg but I think I upgraded it :) ). Initialy I had a 40gig hard drive, but I've added a bigger one to store movies on, and the DVD drive is a Liteon which is quiet. I made the pc quiet by swapping the PSU fan for a Papst 19db one, and did a similar thing for the CPU fan using a 3200+ heatsink. None of the parts were expensive except the HTPC case which was £100, but any case will do (start at £10). Overall the cost can't be a great deal more than £350. You can build a basic DVD playing set-up for under £200.

    Here's a link to some HTPC cases:

    http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/acatalog/Kustom_PCs_Shop_HTPC_Cases_96.html

    Sweetspot is an input card and you will still nedd DScaler softare to process the incoming images ready for your graphics card to display. I don't watch tv on my set-up, so i don't have a tv card or Sweetspot card. I watch just movies and some Hi Def stuff.

    Gary.
     

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