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Whats needed to get the best picture quality and functionality out of MCE 2005?

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by Kamakazie, May 5, 2005.

  1. Kamakazie

    Kamakazie
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    Im looking at pairing a HTPC with an AV Reciever and Plasma screen and use it as a complete media setup.
    I will use SPDIF passthrough and get the reciever to decode but for the picture...
    i've read that FDDShow cannot be used with MCE unless trhough my movies or something?? What about DScaler?

    Whats is regarded as the best setup that will integrate with MCE 05 to get top picture quality?
    What DVD player and codec set (doesn't have to be free) is best?
    Can probably spend about £1400 on the PC so no real restrictions as to the GFX card or capture cards.
    TV will be gotten from a Sky box. DVD quality is my primary concern, TV quality is secondary as i know the feeds can be useless.

    Thanks
     
  2. HSC

    HSC
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    with MCE the best picture quality would probably be achieved via the following:

    1:1 pixel mapping (i.e. VGA card resolution output is set to the same as your panels native resolution)
    an Nvidia 6600/6600GT/6800 video card with the latest drivers for PureVideo
    and a DVD decoder such as the one available from Nvidia

    however there are variations on the above - plus additional tweaks possible
    search the forums here for more answers
     
  3. Rambles

    Rambles
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    I agree with HSC on the Nvidia 6600GT card or better and Nvidia decoder are a good pairing, dvd playback looks excellent on my Panasonic PW7 plasma. You cannot use Dscaler within MCE but you could use it separately, outside of the MCE app if you want to try different filters etc.. Bit of a pain though because you would lose the MCE functionality which is really the best bit.

    I have an SD panel (852 x 480) and find the resolution of 1024 x 576 gives good results via DVI and 1280 x 720 via VGA.
     
  4. MikeFish

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    Agree with what's been said above.
    You could improve the picture of DVD playback further by using the latest version of My Movies. This will aloow you to playback using TheaterTek, which in turn allows you to use FFDShow post processing. This give an excellent picture. The only drawback for me is that once you start watching a film it opens TheaterTek. Now, my MCE remote doesn't have full functionality with TT, and if I stop the film it doesn't default back to the MCE interface, meaning I need a use a mouse to say change the film (PITA!). Also, the latest version of My Movies crashes a lot on my PC as does the latest version of TT. Don't know why, but again, a PITA.
     
  5. crazyal

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    lisag, I am in the process of building a HTPC and also own a PW7 - can I have a DVI card and use the VGA at the same time or should I route everything through the VGA connector?

    Thanks
     
  6. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Hi, sorry not sure I understand the question.... The PW7 comes with a VGA input as standard, you can buy an extra DVI terminal board for the panel and have a DVI as well as the VGA connection. Quality on DVI is marginally better, but the VGA input works fine too. I am using my VGA input for something else so thought I would try a DVI board for the HTPC.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  7. crazyal

    crazyal
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    Sorry Lisag, should have explained better. I currently have my Sky routed through to the VGA port on my PW7 via a JS RGB > VGA convertor, thus:

    SKY > DVD Recorder > JS Box > Plasma

    Building the HTPC is not the problem, it's integratng into my current setup that is giving me the headache.

    The ouput from the JS box is the VGA cable - is there some sort of convertor to get this into the HTPC? The only output on the Skybox or is scart - no SVHS I'm afraid (which is what I would of done to push the signal into the HTPC)

    The capture card I'll be using is this one:-

    http://komplett.co.uk/k/ki.asp?sku=309527&cks=SER

    Sorry to be a pain - just trying to get things right as I go along...

    Cheers
     
  8. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Ah, I am with you now!
    I also have the JS Box using up the VGA port of my PW7 with a Freeview PVR, I haven't managed to integrate this to my HTPC, two separate devices and the HTPC uses the DVI terminal board.

    That card is a good find, not heard of it before and very reasonably priced, however.... looks like you are going to have to use S-video to connect up your sky box to it, and I don't know how you will include the JS Box in the set-up. Also, if you want twin tuner functions (record one channel and watch another) you will need two tv tuner cards and two sky set-top boxes.

    The only other way of doing it is using the Sweetspot RGB capture card which will give you better quality video, but does not work with MCE.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  9. crazyal

    crazyal
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    How about I do away with the JS box and take the scart output from the DVD Recorder and convert that to S-VHS into the HTPC - then output from the PC upto the plasma using the VGA port? Would I notice alot of difference using a DVI card in the plasma?

    If recommending DVI, can you recommend a good source for the DVI card?

    Cheers.
     
  10. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Yes, that sounds good I think that will work, does the DVD recorder not have an s-video output, that would be even easier. If the scart is RGB out can that be converted to s-video (I have no idea)?

    I got my DVI board from these people Day3 but not sure I can say the PQ is £110 better.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  11. crazyal

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    No, the Pioneer DVR310 only has scart output so I'll convert that to SVHS before feeding into the capture card.

    I'll see how it goes - once its up and running I'll post my findings on the cheap capture card I've ordered.

    You say you have the PW7 aswell lisag? - do I need to run any kind of pixel mapping application on the HTPC to get a good picture on the plasma or do I need to set the graphics card to a certain resolution (Radeon 9800 Pro 128Mb).

    Cheers
     
  12. Rambles

    Rambles
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    I use 1024 x 576 @ 60 via DVI, and I did use 1280 x 720 @ 60 via VGA. I do have two separate callibration settings, I use 'Normal' for viewing the PC windows, surfing etc, and 'Cinema' for film playback. I used the DVE disc to callibrate - which was quite challenging....
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  13. crazyal

    crazyal
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    Thats great, thanks lisag....

    *EDIT* - Looks like I'll be getting this to try - it's a scart to S-VHS and 2 stereo phonos - it also comes with an adapter to convert the phonos to a 3.5MM jack for sound card input - £14.99.

    I'll let you know how I get on.

    Cheers.
     
  14. crazyal

    crazyal
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    As a followup I now have the HTPC up and running (bit noisy but cool)
    I am taking the scart feed into a small block which is a scart-passthru box but on the top is a SVHS and composite feed. I am taking the SVHS out of here into the capture card - this is where the problem starts.

    This is the passthru box I am using.

    The picture is washed out with little colour and lots of little lines down the screen - I can't seem to see the capture card settings anywhere in XP - I installed no software for the card just the drivers. Recording through MCE from live TV and playback is fine so I know the card is working, its just the picture quality. No SVHS output directly from the Skybox unfortunately.

    I have been into the the Sky setup menu and changed scart to PAL & RGB with no effect. The scart lead's I'm using are high quality as is the SVHS lead into the HTPC.

    **UPDATE** - All sorted now....

    WMC asks you during the TV setup what kind of connection I'm using - I answered S-VHS. This what gave the grainy/washed out picture - when choosing 'Composite' the picture is perfect.

    So just to let people know, this cheapo CLUB3D 1000 card is 100% perfect with WMC 2005 and records and plays back with superb results. Hasnt got 2 tuners, but it does the job for me.

    Any recommendations for a super-quiet heatsink/fan that will fit an AMD 2600XP chip - motherboard is AT7 MAX2.

    Cheers
     

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