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What makes a HTPC a HTPC?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by ajf, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. ajf

    ajf
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    Never really considered a PC for Home Theatre, so, what makes a good HTPC?
    I guess CPU does not need to be especially powerful - or does it?
    Main thoughts are, are there any special considerations for DVD playback or just use any DVD drive and software player?
    I vaguely remember few years back reading about various special cards for scaling and de-interlacing(?) etc?
    What about sound? Decent card with digital out enough for connection to external Denon amp?
    What about tuner cards? I have Telewest cable so assume I need analogue tuner?

    Any sample machine specs from members here?
    Also, if I rip all my DVDs to hard disk is there any software in existence that can catalogue the files so that I could have a menu type affair where I could just click on an icon for a film and it plays?

    At the moment this is just a thought but as my PC needs replacing soon thought I might look into the options.
     
  2. Skunkpipe

    Skunkpipe
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    living room friendly come top of the list IMHO. Good looking and quiet
     
  3. lisag

    lisag
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    There are infinte possibilities.... this is what I would recommend..

    A good looking, quiet, lounge friendly case,
    A 3ghz processor
    1gb ram
    Lots and lots of hard drive space
    Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
    My Movies plug-in will do the cataloguing you want,
    Nvidia 6600/6600GT graphics card
    With the nvidia purevideo decoder,
    Will do onboard post processing and gpu video accelaration,
    Hauppauge MCE friendly analogue card (or two)
    Onboard spdif out or a mid range 24bit soundcard with spdif out.

    That should get you going :)

    lisa
     
  4. dan1979

    dan1979
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    It does if you want the best possible picture, ffdshow (post processing and scaling software) and playback of high definition stuff needs something FAST, I just about get away with playing 1080i films with an AMD 2800 Barton though my options in ffdshow are limited by my processor speed.

    I don't have any pretty front ends just a regular two year old PC with 820GB of hard drive space hooked up to a projector with lots of handy software.
     
  5. couchpotato

    couchpotato
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    Silence is golden, as any parent will agree with, good looks help a lot as well, thinking about it rather like the qualities you would like in a woman.
     
  6. lisag

    lisag
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    Hey :nono:
    Unless you are referring to its endless abilities, good looks, and the fact that it is infinitely more cleverer than you will ever understand? :)

    lisa
     
  7. couchpotato

    couchpotato
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    But of course, I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the opposite sex (wonder why such a negative word as opposite was ever used to describe the fair maidens? :D )
     
  8. lisag

    lisag
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    Pleased to hear it ;)
     
  9. ajf

    ajf
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    Thanks for the replies and info so far :)
    Gives me something to look into! Is the ffdshow software and nvidia purevideo software effectively the same thing from different authors?

    Also, those of you with MCE, did you buy a PC with it pre-installed or were you able to get the OS seperately? If so, where?!

    Andrew
     
  10. Skunkpipe

    Skunkpipe
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    The os is availble from most good retailers. To comply with the licence it should really be sold with a 'non-peripheral hardware' item (we supply it with a 49p case fan if no other qualifying H/w is ordered.)
    It's about £82 inc vat
     
  11. dan1979

    dan1979
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    No, ffdshow is more customisable and can do more things - used together you can get great results.
     
  12. ajf

    ajf
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    Oh, I see.
    Just looking at a site about ffdshow though and am now more confused!
    It seems to work with divx files - correct?
    How would you usually use this with any DVDs that have been ripped to the hard disk?
    I assume the usual way it to use something like dvd decrypter to copy the vob files across to the hard disk?
    Would those then be encoded to divx?

    Forgive me if these are silly questions but I have never really looked into any of this sort of thing before :)

    Andrew
     
  13. lisag

    lisag
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    I use ffdshow within MCE to post process divx/xvid files - I let Nvidia purevideo take care of DVD playback (looks fab IMHO!).

    If you use a different software player (Theatertek for example) you can get ffdshow to post process DVD's as well as other video files.

    lisa
     
  14. dan1979

    dan1979
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    There's only a handful of progs that let you use ffdshow with DVD's: Zoom Player Pro, Theatertek and another one I've never used that I can't recall the name of, I find Theatertek the best as it's a lot more stable than ZP.
     

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