Video card to pass 480i and stretch/squeeze/zoom image and output 480p?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Chris PC, Oct 12, 2002.

  1. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    What video card would be able to take LD, VHS and non-anamorphic DVD and squeeze/zoom it to fit 16:9 and then output a full 16:9 panel in 480p?? Thinking of alternatives to just an iScan, since after squeezing the image, you can't zoom in using AE100 for instance (unless you DO NOT use the VGA port and thats not good). So the idea is to be able to take letterbox LD and VHS and output them as 480p that fills the whole 16:9 (only for 1.77:1 as I know 2.35 will have bars above and below).
     
  2. Bill Slack

    Bill Slack Supporting Actor

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    Lots of different video card along with dScaler (free and excellent) will work.

    The current favorite seems to be the ATI Radeon cards.

    dScaler will do all of the scaling you want, plus does very good de-interlacing as well. You'll also need a TV capture/tuner card. One with S-Video is pretty much necessary, since you don't want to be using the comb filter on the card.

    Search the AVS Forum's HTPC area for more in depth discussion. Also, some folks over there modify their TV cards for better performance, as well.
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    As Bill said- nearly any video card coupled with dscaler would be able to do this. Although, I would also suggest considering the addition of Powerstrip to tweak a custom resolution of 720x480.

    Feed off the card's VGA output- set the display to 720x480, use an input card (make sure to get one that works with Dscaler), and set the input and output modes in Dscaler.

    You'll end up with a zoomed fullscreen 720x480 image intended for 16x9 output.

    -Vince
     
  4. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    OK. So for obvious reasons, I'll explain what I currently have:
    900 mhz T-bird on Asus Slot-A K7M. 512 MB SDRAM.
    G400 max Dual-head and Pioneer DVD scsi drive. Matrox DVD software and G400 don't do pretty 3:2 pulldown/de-interlacing.
    So video from that setup is either interlaced 4:3 NTSC or progressive 4:3 with widescreen window.
    OK. So lets review:
    1) So you guys are saying that step number one, I need powerstrip to output a progressive 16:9 resolution of, say, for obvious reasons, 720 x 480 (or for the AE100/200 projector, 856 x 484. This is my future consideration). This is assuming I use my Pioneer DVD drive inside my PC.
    2) To Horizontally Squeeze 4:3 letterbox LD and VHS (and non-anammorphic DVD's) I need the addition of dScaler? And of course, I need a PCI capture card, Matrox rainbow runner or ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon to pass outboard LD,DVD or VHS.
    I moved to a standalone interlaced Panasonic CV51 for DVD playback a year ago (works great on 32" NTSC TV) and was planning to get an iScan for use with an AEx00 projector, but HTPC options are still nice to figure out, particularly for the LD and VHS 4:3 widescreen. I will look for dScaler and Powerstrip and see if they work with my G400 max. I do need a better DVD software player though, as I think my card and Matrox software are lame, no motion adaptive and no inversion transform or whatever. Just lame 3:2 pulldown that shows crap and combing that I don't want [​IMG]
    Oh, so what DVD software player should I get? I need one with the icdt and motion adaptive de-interlacing. Or do I need an entirely new video card for that? I have no inputs, so I may migrate to an ATI All-In-Wonder since they do DVD smartly, and with good 3:2 de-interlacing.
    thanks guys, this is lots of help
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    The hardware decoding engine on Radeon cards cannot be beat. I don't waste time on the extra nonsense of the all-in-wonder cards (since video input on these doesn't work with dscaler anyway!)-- I have stuck with the core 64 meg 7500/8500/9000 cards. If you want the insanely tech run down on current radeon cards- hang on AVS.

    Theatertek is my software of choice (review sticky at the top of this forum)-- although ZOOM player is a popular alternative if you're cheap and willing to mess with it. Sonic, Power DVD and Win DVD are also used in some configs. Theatertek is 100% written for HTPC...
     
  6. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Ok, lets assume I buy a 7500/8500/9000 core ATI card. You say not to get an All-In-Wonder card? I was hoping to do video editing in the future, so I guess I'll get a separate capture card for that and it'll be just as good?
    Gotcha. So assuming I get a 7500 or 8500 Radeon card, then to make non-anamorphic DVD's work ok, I can simply play the DVD drive in the HTPC and use an appropriately decent DVD software playback and with the addition of "power-strip" giving me my 16:9 resolution. If I want to ZOOM/Squeeze non-anamorphic LD and VHS 4:3 letterbox, then I connect those via the PCI capture card, and I use dScaler to make the letterbox fill the 16:9 as best as I can, again using Powerstrip to output my 856 x 484.
    That makes sense. I'm glad you mentioned the part about the All-In-Wonder cards being lame. So I could go ahead and get a non-AIW ATI Radeon (might as well get one with video out also) and a PCI capture card/video editing card.
    What capture card do you have or recommend?
    Excellent advice [​IMG]
     
  7. Matt DeVillier

    Matt DeVillier Supporting Actor

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    Chris,

    with the setup Vince described, you can use the software dvd player (Theatertek or otherwise) to manipulate the aspect ratio of the dvd you are playing, no matter if it is anamorphic, non-anamorphic lbx, or 4x3. it's not as hard as it sounds =)

    DScaler is build for deinterlacing and scaling non-dvd sources - in your case LD and VHS (can also be used for cable/satellite tv). you'll want to get a capture card that uses a Brooktree or Conexant 848/849/878/879 chip on it, since they are the only ones DScaler supports. there are several cards available for
     
  8. Bill Slack

    Bill Slack Supporting Actor

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    Chris:

    There are a myriad of BTxxx (Brooktree) based cards (not the brandname, but the chipset) and that's what dScaler seems to support the best (remember, you want an S-Video one, and one with the least interference as possible!)

    The G400 was a very popular card in the near past for HTPC applications, so that should work fine, though the Radeon is supposed to be slightly better.

    Also, Chris, you gain a lot of neat features you might not have considered with a HTPC, from gaming, to inet surfing, to super easy mutli-region and PAL conversion playback. And with a good remote, an IR receiver and the right software, HTPCs seem be pretty reasonable to use now too.

    The Theatertek software sounds great, btw.
     
  9. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I use the I/O magic card, which i picked up at Circuit City for like $30. Decent card- nothing special. I only use mine for video games and the setup menus on my old Denon receiver and occassionally for Cable TV tuning (long ago removed my LD and VHS from the HT). Mine has some RF interference from the stuff in the case. The biggest downfall of the card I have is that I get PURPLE lines across the screen on any macrovision encoded sources.

    I don't think this affects every card of this chipset- but I'd read the dscaler FAQ and info to help guide you (maybe try AVS searches for "PURPLE LINES").

    I know that the popular card for AVS users was a modified Zoltrix. I actually considered buying one, but after 10 emails to the guy who built them with no reply, I gave up. It was several hundred dollars anyway- which was too much for my planned use. You however might want to look into it and see if he still offers these cards- as his modifications were said to greatly improve picture and reduce RF picture noise.

    -V
     
  10. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Well this has been helpful. Thanks Vince and thanks also to Matt and Bill. Good sound advice. I need to know what is needed, should I decide to go with an HTPC. So my G400 is actually ok for DVD, provided it will do 16:9 resolution with power strip. So to deal with non-anamorphic DVD, I simply need to try "power strip" with my G400 and a software dvd player that squeezes and zooms non-anamorphic dvd. Of course, I would also like to try another DVD software player. I am not super keen on the Theatre Tek if it combs or has other problems but your other thread/review leads me to believe the trouble may have been fixed. I am confused that it would have any probs, because from what I understood, all ATI cards have very good motion adaptive and other hardware driven dvd playbakc features which avoid typical de-interlacing problems. I have seen mild combing on my setup and thats what I want to get rid of. For dScaling the widescreen LD and VHS I simply need a good capture card. I agree about keeping things simple. I think when I upgrade the guts of my PC, I may go for an ATI card and use Windows XP if possible. Right now 98SE is typically un-reliable. Anyways, I have figured out roughly what the score is. I would like to use a SOFTWARE player that is really good at de-interlacing 3:2 pulldown such that it doesn't screw up and show any artifacts. Thanks [​IMG]
     
  11. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Oddly I started on XP and went to Win98SE. In many ways I find 98SE to be Microsofts last "complete" operating system. I would say you can go with whatever OS you want- but I found a simple install (removing all non-essentiall components at install) of win98 to be very stable. I'm thinking of trying Win2000 pro in a minimal install when I rebuild my machine next month.

    I would also suggest checking out AVS for some tips if you plan to gut the machine and start all over. There is a set of popular components for video and audio which might save you some time in the future. The items have already been tested in HTPC configs- and in addition there is a large user base for these items- so getting help is a little easier.

    -Vince
     
  12. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Wow. More excellent advice. here is some advice I can pass along to you. If you like using Win98SE, then you might want to try 98Lite. It strips away Internet Explorer integration and as a result, improves the overall stability and speed of the system. The only reason I haven't used it is because I can't find a browser that works on all websites like Internet Exploder will. So I reluctantly stayed with 98se even though I paid $40.00 for 98lite. I was now planning to move to XP. So XP wasn't a good operating system for an HTPC rig? Too bad. After time has passed, most people I know tell me that that they find their XP is more stable than their previous 98se.
    Anyways, in all accounts, the TT software DVD player sounds good coupled with an ATI card and likewise, the dScaler and a video capture/input PCI card would accomplish my squeeze/zooming of ws LD and VHS.
    thanks again
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Reviving an old thread. Well for good reason. I bought an AE100 and it is AWESOME. Use my G400 max and all looks good for anamorphic DVD's. No combing or artifact problems yet. I haven't mastered pixel-perfect yet, but power strip is working fairly well.

    So just for an update, with my system almost identical to before (850 mhz Athlon now instead of 900 mhz (long story)).

    Again, I want to mainly squeeze and zoom SVHS 4:3 widescreen to fit 16:9 and also just watch 4:3 cable TV line-doubled. If I haven't sold my LD player buy the time I figure this all out, then I'll try that too, but thats essentially similar to the SVHS source.

    So which capture cards should I look at? Any with good cable TV reception? What are their inputs?


    Just looking for peoples opinions and feedback again.

    thanx for the update

    Chris
     
  14. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Matt DeVillier,
     

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