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Whats The Problem ??

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by tbrar, Jul 19, 2003.

  1. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Gents (& Ladies),

    Although regular user of AV Forums, this is the first time I have posted within the HCPC segment. What I would like is some gernal advice really.

    HD Content, whether it be broadcast or via home theater, is important to me and my viewing, hence one factor in my choice of plasma the Pioneer PDP-433MXE.

    But this then leads onto the best method to drive the display. Currently using the PD-5002 Video Board and Arcam DVD 88+ for Video, I am looking at the best methods to improve my HT experience.

    Obviously there are native rate scaler cards that I can look at within the display (or indeed external scalers). But with this option I will also have to look to upgrade my DVD player at some point to give me DVI(HDCP) or HDMI output, as Arcam 88+ does not (or wait for the modular Arcam upgrade which is promised).

    Already the expense is adding up and this does not even account for future expenses such as HD DVD Players.

    Now with a HCPC it would appear, that this expense certainly over the life of my display, could be cut somewhat.

    The HCPC, if well equipped with the HW/SW, could provide the de-interlacing for PAL & NTSC sources it could then provide 1080i or 720p and scale exactly to native rate of my display. It could also adapt to whatever, to a degree, the future throws at it via adding new software / electronics etc.

    Hence my thinking is with a HCPC, I could begin to use it as just a high quality scaler, then add to it as and when I choose (is that correct?).

    On the face of it, it looks like the best option, I am just curious as to why it doesn't seem as popular as the 'conventional' route - is it simply because the technology just isn't there yet or am I missing something ???? - I would really like some advise please.

    I have Phil from Uvem coming down next week to demo a HCPC, but I am keen to get your feedback / information, so I understand as much as I can prior to the demo as if I am happy etc, I may well take the plunge !


    Thanks


    Tony
     
  2. buns

    buns
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    Its not so popular because

    1) its not plug and play: You need to build the thing, you need to set it up, calibrate and more likely than not, regularly fiddle with it to sort out small issues as they arise. Many users are not willing and not able to do this.

    2) Relatively few people know about the pc option. The majority of higer end owners i suspect just go to a dealer and have never thought of searching the net. Anyone taking this approach will just be fed the dealier spiel and even if they did happen to ask about pc's, there is a good chance they will be quickly disuaded by a 'better' product which the dealer can supply (no offense to any dealers, but this is my experience).

    The technology is very much there. Whilst not having compared to higher end scalars, i am informed that pc is the best method for great picture unless you are spending really silly money. You could use software based pcs which do everything in one (such as a theatretek based machine) which very few look back from, there is even the option for video processing machines using hardware de-interlacing (and scaling?) which will allow for HD sources should you need that.

    All the best

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  3. MikeTV

    MikeTV
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    You have provided so much information that it is difficult to know where to start to answer you questions. But I'll do my best.

    Currently there is no HD broadcast in the UK - just trusty old PAL/interlaced content. But I guess you are referring to digital broadcasts or DVD material. An HCPC is not a prerequisite for these. Set-top boxes are fine, for most people.

    The HCPC shines as a scaler. It is often configured to output at the native resolution of the display. The HCPC is usually cheaper than a dedicated external scaler, especially when you consider all the additional functionality it provides.

    I am not sure what HDMI is exactly, but an HCPC can give you DVI - fairly inexpensively.

    I'm not sure that HCPC's will support HD DVD drives - but I don't know enough about this whole area. It may be that you will need an external player. It may play the recent HD material that has been around (like the Terminator, Step into Liquid HD movies). But is my belief that this all bleeding edge stuff, and not really mainstream at all. You will also need a powerful PC to play it back properly. For example, an HCPC won't play DVD-Audio/SACD disks - at least not yet, and not at the best bit-rates. You will have a hard time building a system that is entirely future-proof, but an HCPC may offer more flexibility in this respect.

    Yes - bang on! Although, like any PC, there will come a day when you want to replace the whole thing with the latest model, for all the new benefits. PC's have a shelf life, despite their inherent modularity.

    This is the crux. The HCPC really appeals to people who enjoy tinkering with PC's, because there can be a lot of work involved in getting it to do everything. It is a hobby for most, and as such is generally quite time consuming. This can be too much for some, understandably, when all you really want to do is to watch a DVD on a plasma screen. So it is always a trade off between money, time and HT quality, and everyone has different demands in these areas.
     
  4. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Thanks Guys,

    I know there was a lot there.

    Basically I want the best picture possible at the minute - with a view to build upon as and when.

    Could I buy a HTPC and use it simply as a top of range scaler product?, retaining my DVD Player for Audio output (I can upgrade my Arcam to DVDA & SACD).

    Or this a no goer ? :confused:

    Tony

    NB - HDMI is a new digital connection form, resolving some issues that existed with DVI plus adding more functionlity.
     
  5. buns

    buns
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    My assumption on the pc being able to do HD is valid, but i was not assuming on using an internal drive. Currently the simplest hcpc solution uses and external player and uses the immersive h3d capture card. A recent upgrade to this product and the addition of an HD input/output card makes this very attractive. If you were to use this solution with your current player, you would input to the capture card which would deinterlace then the HD card would scale and output to your display. If you ended up with an HD sounce (dvhs perhaps?) you would input to the HD card and it would come right back out the same card. An important point is that this is ALL hardware based. Yes it costs a bit (£750 for the capture and HD card) but you definitely DONT need a high powered pc, in fact this solution would survive quite happily using a via c3 chip, limited Ram and onboard video and sound.

    This to my mind would give you the best combination of sound and picture that is possible for the money.

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  6. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    In my opinion, HTPC's recently made a big step forward on domestic ease-of-use "WAF":

    holo3d scaler card (version 1 or 2) £400-£500
    xcard DVD decoder card £78
    xcard to holo3d pdi ribbon cable £20
    Radeon 9000 fanless vga graphics card or 9700pro and zamlan vga heatsink £50/£250
    dvd-rom drive £30
    zalman quiet power-supply PSU £46
    case, motherboard (ideally intel), low-end cpu (300MHz+), any hard disc, win xp home £100-400

    +Once setup, the above plays DVD's when inserted, beautifully, SDI quality input, great deinterlacing, great scaling.

    +I think the latest holo3d software update allows control of xcard xmedia player (usually hidden and not shown on-screen) via the standard holo3d bundled usb connected IR remote control (not tried myself as already written custoim girder groups).

    +Also gives very clean component, s-video and 3-4 composite inputs with one configurable for sdi input if you ever decode to use that in addition to the internal xcard DVD player.

    +Optional RGBs input board to take a Sky or Cable box RGB input in component quality (reportedly better than RGB-to-Svideo converter boxes) £155 http://www.spatz-tech.de/immersive/immersive.htm

    +Don't strictly need a soundcard as S/PDIF output is on the Xcard board. You may want a £100 card for high-end CD/MP3 playback if you decode to use WinAmp or something to run a jukebox media library later.

    +S-Video and Composite and Component (inc NTSC progressive scan) DVD outputs also on the Xcard board, but they are reported to be average quality and not ideal.

    Windows XP starts
    Xcard player in startup
    Holo3d gui in startup.

    i.e. player and de-interlacer available within about 30 secs of power-up.
    Remote control of scaler and dvd look to be about to be combined in the standard software release.

    +Option already in holo3d gui to power-off.

    +holo3d gui incorporates resolution and timing setup on-screen graphics so that you never have to touch the hidden powerstrip application itself.

    regards,
    Rob.

    p.s One caveat, in that my wife hasn't ever tried to use the htpc in our garage/cinema room alone!

    p.s. If I ever get a plasma, I'd be surprised if the above didn't feed it within a week.
     
  7. MikeTV

    MikeTV
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    Yes - good idea. But a word of warning, there are many facets to scaling (DVD's, TV broadcasts, etc.). For DVD usage, most use a DVD-Rom drive, although there may be work involved in getting region-free playback. Believe it or not, there are millions of ways to play a DVD in an HCPC. So, as you can see, it is a bit like sucking on a fire hose - there is a lot to learn. You may get lucky, and the dealer may offer something that handles most issues for you, and suits your needs. On the other hand, you may prefer to go "a la carte", so to speak, and build/choose your own HCPC and choose your own components. This will be cheaper in the long run, and quite possibly better suited to your needs, but a lot more work. For TV playback/scaling, it is much the same story, but the solution will be quite different (you'll need to choose a capture card and software - and perhaps set-top box). And then there is the issue of connecting to the plasma, and the choosing/configuring the correct display resolutions. But it will be worth it in the end!
     
  8. MikeTV

    MikeTV
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    Buns, Rob,

    I am just curious - are there 3 different architectures being proposed here (in reverse order of preference):

    1. PC + dvdrom (let's call this old school!)
    2. PC + H3D + standalone DVD player (RGB inputs)
    3. PC + H3D + DVD Rom (via PDI inputs)

    Or am I mistaken?

    Cheers,

    Mike.
     
  9. buns

    buns
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    option 2 has the option you could use sdi, rgb, s-vid, component or even dvi.

    option 3 does not need an h3d, there are other lesser cards which have been modified to do this.

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  10. MikeTV

    MikeTV
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    Thanks. Maybe my "order of preference" is misleading or debatable. I'm still having a hard time understanding why an analogue H3D hardware based solution, would always beat an all-digital software-based solution. But perhaps I'm in "H3D denial", and perhaps that disussion should be in another thread. But I am coming around to the H3D approach :)
     
  11. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Gents,

    I am trying to keep it simple for me, so please bear with...

    So if I am correct, an option pertaining to best PQ / Sound currently would involve retaining Arcam (quite happy to do so). Then building, or buying a prebuilt, HCPC for deinterlacing & scaling purposes.

    Depending on option, the de-interlacing/scaling, could work for either my TV, DVD or both?.

    What is the differrence between 'all digital', which by its nature sounds the way forward and H3D?. Will I need the HD3 approach due to my outputs from DVD/TV being analouge outputs currently?

    Thanks


    Tony
     
  12. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Hi Mike,
    There's no real reason why a pure software solution can't work perfectly.

    The issue is that it does not at present.

    Lets take TheaterTek, which is agreed to have the best quality MPEG decoding and nicest user-interface for home cinema use:

    1. Pans judder slightly or a lot depending on a few factors including refresh rate. This is generally understood to be because the Soundcard's clock runs at slightly different rate to video clocks using Microsoft DirectShow, which all the best picture quality players now use.

    2. Deinterlacing on menus, video material and incorrectly flagged discs looks bad because no software players appear to do motion adaptive deinterlacing properly.

    3. TheaterTek crashes sometimes on dvd-rom disc eject button being used and won't let region1 or 2 discs be swapped without closing playher first. A workaround is to stop, eject disc and close player software, it can be programmed in to a remote click using gorder or something, but is hard work and not totally transparent. Xcard dvd or external SDI Dvd players let you just insert a disc to play and eject anything.

    4. Navigation on some disc menus doesn't work, although DirectX and TheaterTek improvements have reduced this quite a bit.

    The holo3d isn't magic, but it combines SDI/PDI quality one-box DVD playback and the best available quality htpc inputs for Component, S-video and Composite video inputs under a single, great looking on-screen graphics, which are scaled and output by a Radeon using VGA or DVI.

    The PDI modded Connexant CX2338x input boards sound to be superb value and I think already are working in Dscaler. The CX2338x board I had had a chroma offset issue for S-Video and wasn't quite as clean as a PB TV-100(Flyview 2000 clone) or the holo3d. This can be corrected mostly with the Dscaler Chroma output filter, but you'll probably need to turn that off when watching a DVD via PDI.

    In my experience, if anyone is a Laserdisc junkie, forget using a composite input to a htpc on anything but a holo3d, or ensure your laserdisc has a good combed S-Video output, like the Pioneer CLD-925 or the high-end Japanese S or X players.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  13. Rob.Screene

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    Hi Tony.

    Yes, all the above solutions allow at least S-video input for TV, Sky, consoles, etc.

    The holo3d allows component inputs and optionally RGB inputs too.

    You could use analog Component output or S-video output from your DVD player in to a HTPC, but it won't be as noise-free or sharp a picture as the digital SDI or PDI input formats. 3 reasons:
    1. The digital picture is converted to analog
    2. Sent down an analog cable
    3. Converted back to digital for the htpc to scale.

    Remember it's then this result that is deinterlaced and then scaled-up, think if it as looking at the noise with a magnifying glass!

    The SDI or PDI digital formats avoid the noise and degredation caused by the above 3.

    I tried a Sony DVD-925 via S-Video and Playstation2 DVD playback via S-Video in through a capture card to Dscaler and although reasonable, the picture was not as flim-like or smooth as TheaterTek software or the Xcard PDI input.

    The PDI input solutions work off a really cheap Xcard, which itself is less than an SDI output mod for any player, excluding the cost of an SDI capable input card (SDI silk or holo3d).

    If using an on-board dvd-rom+xcard solution, a few have reported that the Xcard S/PDIF digital audio output is not as good as a high-end DVD player. I haven't really noticed this myself, althoug the only sources I've previously used are a £500 Sony DVD-925 domestic player (very well reviewed for sound quality a few yearsw back) or TheaterTek and an m-audio audiophile 2496 sound card, all via a Denon A10-SE THX ultra2 AV amp and some Linn speakers.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  14. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Rob,

    Thanks for that. I see you point. But isnt the problem than going to be getting a digital output from my Arcam? - the Arcam only currently outputs component - no digital.

    MMmmmm...given what Im after - with all your thoughts. What would you recommend?

    Sorry to labour on this, it is somewhat different to the traditional AV world !!!

    Yikes.......Another lurning curve !!!:eek: :eek:


    Tony
     
  15. Rob.Screene

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    Hi Tony,

    I've only seen a Pioneer PDP-433MXE once, and that was using A Denon 3800 progressive component and the onboard pioneer scaling.

    I think you'd prefer a well set-up htpc, and in my mind the Xcard and dvd-rom is a bargain or an SDI modded player+SDI card. Apparently the Xcard PDI looks nigh identical to a SDI moddel player, it's just no-board and cheaper.

    I just noticed you are in Berkshire too, how about seeing the thing in action, it's much easier todecide than just reading about this stuff.

    a) If you want to bring the Arcam and some component leads (3x 75ohm video cables) round sometime, we could compare the Arcam+Component to Xcard+PDI.
    [edit: just seen your sig says you have a few leads already!]
    If you don't currently have component cables, I do have one of the three, we just need another two 75ohm phono-to-phono video cables. I might even have 3 in a few days time as I think the x-box component lead I've ordered includes them.

    b) I could pull the htpc out of my rack and bring if over to you, if you want. We'd probably spend a few hours looking for "pixel perfection" settings for your plasma panel, unless we can find the exact powerstrip settings beforehand from another Pioneer PDP-433MXE+radeon htpc user.

    Oh for b), we'd need a VGA-to-plasma lead, that'll connect from the radeon VGA in to your plasma (bnc or d-sub vga?)

    I'd love to see a scaler on a high-end plasma. To-date I've been a little underwhelmed with plasmas, but I've never seen one with a well scaled video source.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  16. buns

    buns
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    Or you use the HD board and can forget the hassle of the radeon and supposedly get better pictures into the bargain.

    Also for interest, many who compared sdi vs a good component input to the h3d card failed to see any difference in normal viewing and required test patterns to actually convince them sdi was better.

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  17. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Rob,

    Fantastic idea !!

    I have got components cables coming out of my ears !!! :laugh:

    No honestly, I currently am using 3 sets (QED, Precious Metals & Supra), and have an additional set (IXOS) in the closet.

    Im in Reading - your more than welcome to come across if OK. Send me a PM and we can go from there.


    Tony :smoke:
     
  18. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Hi Tony,
    Friday at yours sounds interesting, I'd love to be there.

    The uvem classic 2, using a LMP case looks similar to the dign case I have, except the dign has a cover in front of the dvd-rom, the slot on the lmp looks really neat.

    In short, I expect it to be really sharp for DVD's, probably running TheaterTek software DVD. You might be careful to also demo analog video input, from say tv, sky box, console of any of these are important to you.

    I'm not sure what input card uvem are using to provide S-video in, perhaps it the video-in on a Radeon, so, lets see if it's adding too much noise to be similar to what you're used to with your direct connection and on-board scaler.

    Looks like the "Hardware MPEG2/DiVX decoding with Interlaced and Progressive Scan Component video output. " will be the Xcard. This is generally considered to be rough on all it's analog outputs, unless using a digital PDI output off the card's internal ribbon cable header.

    I can't see a mention on uvem's site of a PDI input card or a Holo3d card option, so it doesn't look like it'll have a really high-quality analog video deinterlacer and scaler ability.

    I wouldn't be surprised if they do not offer it as Xcard+holo3d works so well.

    The real biggest benefit is getting digitally scaled DVD though, and this should look stunning when scaled to match the 1024x768 panel res.

    Again, if it uses a software player, watch for a lack of fluidity on the pan scenes compared to what you're used to.

    Buying a soak-tested off-the-shelf solution will save you a good few hours of set-up time. Probably a drop in the ocean if you are a be-grudging tweeker, like myself!

    It might be best to try the xcard+holo3d HTPC Tue, Wed or Thu as I'm sure I can always come back again, whereas someone doing this for a living as opposed to a hobby may have bigger travel and time costs.

    I can bring the htpc Friday if you really want, but I don't know how Phil may react to some competing solution (even a hobbyist like myself), especially if he can't source a reasonably priced holo3d faroudja DCDi card.

    I know if it were my line-of-business, I probably wouldn't be enthusiastic about it. I'd love to be there as a spectator though.

    HTPC to plasma looks to need a normal VGA monitor lead, or probably better, a VGA to 5x 75 ohm bnc leads to go on to the bnc inputs on the plasma. Roland of B4 projection provided me one when he supplied and installed my projector.

    I looked for 433mxe specs and noted it lists:
    1024x768@48.4KHz = 60Hz vertical
    1024x768@60KHz = 75Hz vertical

    I'd start with NTSC material on the first and get a good sharp picture with no juddering, then try the 75Hz with PAL material.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  19. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Rob,

    Yeah - good idea, you can also talk me through alot of the information if you wouldn't mind, part foreign to me ! :smashin:

    Can you do Thursday afternoon / evening do you think?

    I can source a VGA to 5BNC cable in time for Thursday with no issue.

    Cheers


    Tony
     
  20. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Rob,

    Forgot to ask, can you send across some sites that provide some info on the equiptment suggested; ie XCard & Holo3D card - or good sources of reference for HCPC in general.

    TBH - this certainly sounds promising

    Tony

    Nb = Faroudja DCDi - technology always welcome
     
  21. buns

    buns
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    try avsforums and immersiveforum (im not sure if you need to be a member to get into immersive.....)

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  22. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Thanks Ad,

    Must say, HCPC enthusiasts certainly are helpfull !
     
  23. Rob.Screene

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    Xcard - http://www.sigmadesigns.com/products/xcard_intro.htm
    A dvd player on a pci card, just add a dvd-rom drive.
    Really sold assuming you will use the dodgy S-Video or Component outputs on the card. Also has a "VGA" output option, but this requires you to loop for graphics VGA through it. All these are reportedly sub-standard for a high-end HTPC.

    It has a rarely marketed itu/bt656 parallel digital "PDI" output header connector on the board, allowing the decoded mpeg video to be piped in bit perfection fashion to another card. This is what is normally serialised for long pro cable runs when we talk about SDI because PDI only works over very short cables. This is probably rarely marketed because it's after decryption and has no copy protection.

    holo3dgraph - http://www.immersiveinc.com
    A Faroudja DCDi deinterlacer and very clean SDI, Component, S-Video and Composite input combined on a PCI card, plus has a itu/bt656 parallel digital "PDI" input header connector on the board. Revision 5 boards and later can have an optional RGB input daughterboard added.

    Was $900 when released, but is now a few are available without the remote control and usb adapter for $385+post+duty for cards returned by early adopters wanting a holo3dgraphII, alternatively I got mine off ebay for $450+post+duty just before as the reconditioned ones were announced!

    Now the replacement $900 holo3dgraphII has been announced and is in public alpha, this includes the option to add a new DVI in and out daughterboard.

    This allows a HD 720p feed or a Radeon DVI digital output to be fed in to the holo3dgraphII. The holo3dhraphII also includes an on-board very high quality scaler which can then output directly to it's own DVI output.

    Two actual benefits of the II over the I:
    a) This adds the ability to scale a high-definition input from say a high-def satellite box, which looks important to the high-end American market, as there seems to be a desire to deinterlace 480p (progressive scan) and 1080i hd broadcasts.

    This sounds pointless for the uk market for a good few years, as we have only a few high-end CRT projectors capable if displaying 1080i let alone 1080p, let alone any source for hd material. If we do get high-def within a few years, I'm sure it'll be 720p or 768p and wont really benefit from scaling.

    b) The output wont have to go over the htpc's pci bus, DirectShow software, AGP bus and Radeon overlay. This will save some video delay, which can be seen on systems running holo3dgraph 1's.

    In my experience, following the manufacturer recommendations of tuning a few bios settings, disabling many winxp services and swapping card slots has made this pretty much undetectable on my CRT projector.

    Apparently plasma's may add their own delay too. I'm not sure how real this issue is and if it doesn't happen when passing a native "pixel mapped" resolution, bypassing the need for the internal scaler to work.

    In my experience the I is great and is discounted now, let's see if plasma users actually need a II.

    dscaler - http://dscaler.org
    JohnAd's freeware opensource deinterlacing app. Combined with a good capture card this does pretty much what a holo3dgraph does, using a 1GHz+ processor. Also works with a holo3dgraph, which is the only capture card to provide Component inputs.
    Here's a comparison to using the holo3dgraph alone http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=280157

    PDI capture card - A £40 capture card modified to have a PDI input header, allows PDI in to Dscaler.
    Sold by Li On on the american/worldwide avsforum.com
    Also an Atman PDI only card $100+shipping+duty at http://www.pmsvideo.com/index_product_view.php?did=1576&didpath=/1576&page=1&imgid=7613

    Also DIY'able if you have strong surface mount soldering tools and skills and can design and make your own ribbon cable connector; not for the faint hearted as getting it wrong can damage one or both cards.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  24. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I just thought,

    Buns it might help you and others if I capture some scenes using Xcard PDI v.s. Xcard component v.s Xcard S-Video.

    I should also capture Component off the clean Sony DVD-925, but I'd have to unhook it from the living room and my wife's playing Luigi's Mansion on the telly next to me right now!

    Oh and I don't have 3 75 ohm video cables to try component with just yet.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  25. MikeTV

    MikeTV
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    Interesting reading. Thanks Rob!
     
  26. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Gents,

    (Rob - Just sent details across.)

    With respect to the above, the more processing of a signal the display has to do, the greater the chance of lip sync issue (in theory). However I have had no probs feeding 576i or 576/480p.

    Ive been looking at the H3D cards (1 & 2) - certainly look interesting. The 2nd version, due to its own on board scaler, is of particular interest. Why?, I like the idea of being able to feed it 720p signals as HD DVD sources more prominent. Basically future proofing. Also less hops in chain from source to screen.

    What I am thinking of is feeding either of the above my Arcam Component output, introducing additional DAC (In Arcam Digital to Analogue, through to, H3DII Analogue to digital) - not sure how much of a detroment this may have.

    What sort of PC Spec would you recommend?. How loud are they these days?

    I appreciate all you help.



    Tony
     
  27. MikeTV

    MikeTV
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    At the risk of repetition, perhaps I can summarise the "story so far", as I understand it. I believe that one of the main issues that should be considered in determining the best the DVD scaling solution, is the DVD input choice. In order of preference, the options seem to be as follows:

    1. PDI input (this is a digital input format, and offers the highest possible quality). PDI requires an xcard, an H3d card, a DVD Rom drive, some connectors, and the Dscaler software (free).

    2. RGB Component Input (this is analogue, but is of high quality). The H3d card is the recommended component capture solution. A standalone player is needed with RGB output.

    3. s-video Input (this is of average quality). This requires a standard TV capture card, an external standalone player capable of s-video output, and Dscaler (and a variation of this approach uses an RGB to s-video transcoder).

    4. Composite Input (this is analogue, and is generally an inferior signal to s-video). This requires a standard TV capture card, an external standalone player, and Dscaler.

    From reading, I don't think there is much dispute over the quality preferences above (but there is some dispute, and results can vary). However what complicates the issue further is that there are alternatives to 1. The most common alternative is:

    a. "Regular" software-based DVD playback via a DVDRom drive (eg. using software such as WINDVD, TheaterTek, Zoom Player, etc.). Rob has explained why this is inferior to 1. in his post above (there is no dispute here). However, this is still an all-digital solution, and so it isn't too bad, it just isn't as good as option 1. For option a., all you need is a DVDRom drive and the player software.

    b. An SDI modified xcard, and an SDI modified standalone DVD player, and Dscaler. This may be a cheaper solution than the H3d approach, and offers some of the same advantages (it is a digital solution, like PDI). Prerequisites: SDI modified standalone player, SDI modified xcard, dscaler.

    c. Option 1 doesn't need a H3d - less expensive cards have been modified to support this (quote - buns). For this you will need PDI modded Connexant CX2338x input board.

    In addition to the decision on DVD playback, one also needs to consider scaling of other sources (eg. TV, satellite, xbox, etc.). The jury seems to feel that the H3d offers the best all round solution, but at a cost. But there are many options here, for different sources.

    Phew! Thanks for all the information - I really feel I have it sorted in my own mind now.
     
  28. tbrar

    tbrar
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    Mike,

    The way I am beginning to think is the H3DII card, fed by by Arcam 88+. The cost is a factor, but less than a decent conventional scaling solution, depending on answer to above (PC Spec).

    I can presumably maintain my HQ audio from DVD player staight to amp.

    Is this a reasonable way to look at a solution? (need to consider lip sync issues - though I dont think will be a problem).

    Regards


    Tony
     
  29. Jeff

    Jeff
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    I actually regard this to be the best option, its just harder to get right. I've now relegated the SDI player to gather dust while TheaterTek takes care of all my DVD playing needs. Its simply a real pleasure to use and the picture and sound quality are great.
     
  30. buns

    buns
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    Rob, that sounds great if you can bully your wife from luigis mansion! :D

    tbrar, Dont forget that the solution you are considering is not just $900, the HD and scaling ability requires an additional card at additional cost.

    Ad
     

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