1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What the Hell is HTPC

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by smicker, Aug 11, 2002.

  1. smicker

    smicker
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hi
    Can some one tell me what HTPC is and how it can inprove my picture and sound on my AE100 which Ive just taken out of the box and am really chuffed with. What is the best way of conecting my DVD svhs or compont PS2 and Sky Digi Box. What about an expensive I Scan etc, HELP>>>>>>
    thanks Smicker.......


    Arcam DV88
    PTAE100
    Arcam AVR100
    Sky Digi Box (no svhs ouput)
    PS 2
     
  2. jrwood

    jrwood
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    HTPC, that is, Home Theater Personal Computer, is a new and emerging field in the Home Theater arena. From the very beginning, Home Theater was mostly analog: the image stored on the Laserdisc is in the form of FM signal which is analog. The stereo sound was also recorded in the analog domain. Now, thanks to DVD, home theater has entered its fully digital era : the crystal clear, colour rich digital component picture; thrilling, soul touching 6.1 discrete digital surround sound and of course, the video-game-like navigation interface from many of the excellent DVD titles. All are digitals. It's quite a natural evolution to converge the technology and components with the mother component of the digital world : Computer.

    What can I do with my HTPC?

    The desktop PC you are working on now is actually quite powerful. The PC allows you to

    *) Progressive scan DVD with native 2-3 inverse telecine compatibility
    *) Internal line doubling (for DVD source) capability with huge selection of custom made resolution including the ATSC DTV format : 480P, 540P, 720P, 1080i, etc
    *) External line doubling (for external video source including Laserdisc, TV tuner, view-cam, etc) capability
    *) Extraction of DVD-ROM contents from many of the blockbuster DVD titles
    *) Playing eye catching 3D games
    *) Bypass the internal scaler of your projector, this gives a far crisper image with less artifacts compared to hooking up a standalone DVD player.
    *) Have more control over how the image looks by adjusting the gamma/brightness/contrast/vertical refresh rate on the HTPC.
    *) Your HTPC can act as a multimedia centre, why not rip all your CD's into mp3 format so that it acts a jukebox too!.
    *) www.dscaler.org allows you to scale the poor tv/cable resolution up to your native projector resolution and includes filters to 'clean' up the image. It also does 3/2 pulldown etc www.dscaler.org for more information.

    Most importantly, all of the above would be performed by the machine inside the same stylish compact metallic case with price slightly higher than a mid-level DVD player.

    Ok, its functionality is good, but how about its quality?

    Let's get straight to the point, despite the low price of this setup, the DVD playback quality beats those from more expensive standalone DVD players. That's not without reason. I have noticed that the difference in picture quality between those low-end class DVD players and those high-end class DVD players is very little. That explains how well it is for the MPEG-2 decoding process to be implemented in different configuration. With the fast running PC, the decoding process bears no difficulties at all. So the quality is at least as good as those standalone DVD player. More importantly, the 2-3 inverse telecine process is done COMPLETELY in the digital domain within the computer. The video signal does not go through an additional analog to digital conversion as was the case with standalone progressive scan DVD players, external line doublers. HTPC can perform the task completely in the digital domain. Only the final signal will be converted back to analog just before it is being transmitted to those display units. The result is a more pure and accurate colour reproduction and the absence of the motion artifact. Remember, all these benefits come with the price of a moderate DVD player ONLY. Isn't technology wonderful?

    Great… then I just plug my computer into my TV and get the great picture! Or did I miss something!!??

    Yes, you missed something. Most of the PC's we are using are not designed solely for home theater purpose. Even though many of the PCs today claim to be a home theater PC, it just has the capability of DVD playback only. In my opinion, that's not a HTPC. In order to make the most out of your PC for home theater purpose, some work has to be done (either by yourself or by the technician from the company selling HTPC). Until then, your PC is, well, just your Personal Computer.

    So, welcome to the era of digital convergence…

    [Some links you might find interesting..]

    http://www.digitalconnection.com/FAQ/HTPC_2.htm

    http://www.keohi.com/keohihdtv/htpc/htpc.html

    http://deinterlace.sourceforge.net/FAQ.htm

    http://multimedian.com/school/htpc.html
     
  3. jrwood

    jrwood
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Other people with an ISCAN can tell you how good it is compared to a HTPC, some hate PC's and prefer more consumer orientated products for their projectors. Thats the great thing about home cinema, just do what you find best!.

    If you were using a HTPC then I would probably have a Pinnacle Rave! card which has svideo input. Hook that up to your svhs recorder and then use dscaler.org free program to scale the crappy tv resolution up to 848x480 (AE100 native resolution). The following links are specific to your AE100 and talks about his HTPC. http://www.markgoldie.co.uk/hcpc/hcpc.htm http://www.markgoldie.co.uk/hc/hc2.html

    By the sounds of it though I think the ProV might be a better choice for your PS2 as you dont really want to have your PS2 going through a HTPC, I believe scan.co.uk were doing a deal last week where a ProV could be bought for £104 !.

    Have a read of

    http://www.markgoldie.co.uk/hc/hc5.html
     
  4. John Dawson

    John Dawson
    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2001
    Messages:
    852
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Cambridge, UK
    Ratings:
    +112
    QUOTE "So the quality is at least as good as those standalone DVD player. More importantly, the 2-3 inverse telecine process is done COMPLETELY in the digital domain within the computer. The video signal does not go through an additional analog to digital conversion as was the case with standalone progressive scan DVD players, external line doublers. HTPC can perform the task completely in the digital domain. Only the final signal will be converted back to analog just before it is being transmitted to those display units. " END QUOTE

    Just for the record just about ALL standalone DVD players that output an analogue PS signal generate that entirely in the digital domain inside the player. The only exception I know of is the TAG which, because of limitations to do with its otherwise excellent Mediamatics chipset, cannot do this. The quality of the PS engines used in the different DVD players are very variable however. The final video output quality will also depend on the quality of the video encoder and its associated DACs plus the quality of the subsequent reconstruction filters and 75 ohm output buffers, plus the power supplies that feed them.

    I would be curious to compare the paper specs of the better graphics cards with those of higher end DVD players. Does anyone have knowledge of this?

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  5. Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    At Shockabubu's mini shootout not long ago we compared a HTPC with my DVD player (the Philips 962SA) and believe me there was not a lot in it at all. I think if you ask everyone that was there they would agree that probably on a blind test they wouldn't be able to say which was which. For me the convenience of a standalone player more than makes up for the minute loss of PQ compared to the HTPC route. I used a HTPC before the Philips and I don't feel I've lost any PQ by going to the standalone player, I'm just happy that the thing plays all the discs I throw at it without either crashing or having to be tweaked in some way. I appreciate it's probably possible to get a PC as user friendly as a standalone player and also as resilient but it takes a lot of hard work and quite a bit of technical know how that most people just can't afford to invest the time.
    Anyway as to your original question, try a Pro-V (I picked one up in the Scan today only sale the other day for £104!) for connecting your S-Video components and if you can upgrade your DV88 to progressive scan as that will make quite a big difference.
    As for the Sky, you could use an RGB to S-Video convertor although I think you take a hit on PQ doing that or route the composite signal through the Pro-V (not sure what the results would be like with that)?

    Cheers,
    Andy
     
  6. Shockabuku

    Shockabuku
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Messages:
    1,796
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Ratings:
    +159
    Yep, Andy is right...the Philips looked absolutely superb. Very very close to the HCPC in picture quality (which surprised a few of us). If I didn't want the hassle of a PC & were looking for a standalone machine, then the Philips would definitely be top of my list. Bit of a bargain I recall too!
     
  7. MerMan

    MerMan
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2002
    Messages:
    129
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Ratings:
    +0
    Over the past few weeks I have been experimenting with an
    Iscan Pro (borrowed) + my own Meridian 596 DVD player and an HTPC with all the kit and gizmos associated with it.

    The object was to determine whether I should 1) wait for the progressive scan upgrade (based on the Faroudja chipset from Meridian 2) buy an Iscan Pro or 3) use an HTPC.

    I was using my friends Panasonic PT-AE100 projector.

    After many hours of watching using the Iscan and tweaking the HTPC it all became irrelevant. When we watched a movie using my friends Arcam DV27 with progressive out it was better than both. For sheer convenience against an HTPC I dont belive a player of this quality can be beaten.

    My conclusion was to wait for the Meridian upgrade available in a few months hopefully. The Arcam just can't do music as well as the Meridian otherwise I would be tempted.

    Please note that I am in no way connected or related to any Arcam employee :) although I do own an Arcam Alpha 10P3 and to help back that up I have to say that the Arcam remote is a complete mess and I'm a hard key remote fan!

    Regards
     
  8. GearHead

    GearHead
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    jrwood: "Only the final signal will be converted back to analog just before it is being transmitted to those display units."

    Use DVI and even this conversion is elliminated. And very noticeable it is to with a large projected image.


    MerMan: "After many hours of watching using the Iscan and tweaking the HTPC it all became irrelevant. When we watched a movie using my friends Arcam DV27 with progressive out it was better than both"

    I'm not doubting you but if true that's incredible ! What connection were you using between HTPC and the projector and was the Windows resolution mapped perfectly to the projectors panel ?

    Allan
     
  9. jrwood

    jrwood
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Do the consumer DVD players natively support the 848x480 panel of the AE100 then?, it not then the scaler in the AE100 is being used...
     
  10. MerMan

    MerMan
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2002
    Messages:
    129
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Ratings:
    +0
    Allan (Gearhead)

    The connection being used was VGA. The resolution was mapped exactly to the resolution of the projector (Powerstrip) was used.

    Has any HTPC owner seen a DVD player like the Arcam DV27 hooked to a projector using progressive scan ??

    Regards
    Wilson
     
  11. GearHead

    GearHead
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Not yet !!

    I think I'll put that M-Audio card I was thinking about on hold for now :rolleyes:

    Allan
     
  12. Mr.D

    Mr.D
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2000
    Messages:
    11,040
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Ratings:
    +1,111
    Iwould seriously suspect that matching the panel resolution in an HTPC is going to give you better results than 720x480 or 720x576 being scaled and put through an additional analogue to digital transform stage. Caveats are as long as the HTPC is properly configured : gamma importantly )
     
  13. MerMan

    MerMan
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2002
    Messages:
    129
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Ratings:
    +0
    The first time somebody is able to compare an HTPC and a high-end player like the Arcam DV27 using progrssive I would be more than happy to hear their findings.

    Regards
     

Share This Page

Loading...