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Can a standalone DVD player be compared with a dedicated HTPC?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Javier_Huerta, Oct 31, 2002.

  1. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    Hi,

    I've been trying to design a nice HT, and I think I'm close to getting it.

    Recently, I decided to switch from my run of the mill Pioneer DV-414 for a better source. I'm using a DLP projector, and since I had an old PII 450 MHz around, I decided to try something new. I installed a Santa Cruz sound card, an ATI Radeon 7500 video card, Windows XP, the ATI DVD player, WinDVD and Zoom Player. I connected the DLP projector using DVI.

    I can safely say I never thought the difference would be so... STUNNING. It's so amazing, even my mother noticed I had done *something* to the HT, since the images now looked razor-sharp and amazingly (if not to say "incredibly") detailed.

    BUT (there is always a "but" somewhere)...

    It's so damn unstable! WinDVD and the ATI DVD player are very stable, but every once in a while something happens - the menus stop working, or the application locks. The OS itself is rock steady, and I can recover from any situation, but I have to leave the couch and restart the app. Not good by any means. Zoom DVD player is more unstable than either one of the two, and when playing DTS sources, it sometimes locks up.

    If I wanted to equal my HTPC performance with a dedicated player, how much would I spend? And, would I really manage to reach the quality levels I already enjoy??'
     
  2. Todd Calhoun

    Todd Calhoun Agent

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    Unless you're willing to spend thousands of dollars for a scaler, I think you're SOL. Samsung has a DVD player that will scale to 1080i, but your DLP needs a different native resolution. I've been using HTPC for about 6 months (Win98SE, AMD 1ghz, Radeon 7200, SB Live), and after tweaking, it has been 100% rock solid for the whole time. Just last night I watched "Sum of All Fears", and it played perfect the whole time.

    You're best value might be to upgrade the computer. You can get a new MB, CPU and RAM for ~$200. Also get an IR adapter ($20) and make the whole thing remote control.

    Good luck,
     
  3. peter m. wilson

    peter m. wilson Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Javier and Todd,
    Speaking of scalers, (this won't solve your dilema), there is a new product out manufactured by IMMERSIVE called the HOLOGRAPH 3D. It is a pci card that scales any outboard 480i source ie: dvd,vcr,cable/sat box, to any rez your display can handle. I was one of the beta testers and also one of the rare hdtv users,(most had projectors).

    i would suggest that it will bring the htpc into the mainstream because an mpeg card is almost ready.

    my review of this product can be summed up in this statement.
    IT MAKES NTSC VERY WATCHABLE ON A LARGE SCREEN.

    I don't know whether you'll consider this good or bad new (depending on your knowledge of scaler prices) but it's $895.00 US.

    AVS set up the beta test so you might want todo a search there for comments.

    have fun,
    peter m.
     
  4. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

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    I agree w/ Todd. Just upgrade the computer to something pretty fast, maybe like an Athlon XP 2000+ or so, and you should be good to go, expecially since you're running WinXP.
     
  5. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    Oh, but speed is not an issue. 450 MHz is plenty enough to run a DVD player, especially with a card like the Radeon. The problems I usually experience are with random lock-ups and general misbehaviour. I agree, though, that these problems might be lessened somewhat by a newer motherboard with better drivers.
    The ATI DVD player is almost rock solid, though. Such a shame it can't do DTS, otherwise it would be my only DVD software solution. [​IMG]
     

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