Can I get good video using HTPC and TV?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Martice, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    I would like to know if I can get comparable performance watching DVD's from my PC as I do when watching movies via my component DVD player?

    Thanks
     
  2. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Cinematographer

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    It depends. If you have a decent HDTV with VGA and/or DVI inputs, you're pretty much all set. If it has component inputs, you'll probably need a transcoder to change the signal from RGB to YPbPr/YCbCr. If you don't have an HDTV set, it's not really worth it.

    There's a lot of factors, too. Video card, RAM, processor, DVD software, ease of use, etc. Check out the Home Theater Computers section of the AVS Forum for tons of information.

    I'm running an HTPC into my projector, and it looks much better than any STB player I've used. It's not easy to use (read: not for WAF or little kids), but then again I'm single [​IMG].
     
  3. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Well I have a AMD XP2500 (BARTON) CPU, ATI AIW 9000 video card, nvidia nforce 2 ultra chipset but I didn't pick out a particular DVD software just yet.

    I'm not looking for world class performance video wise just yet because I don't have an HDTV monitor. However, until I do, I was hoping that the picture quality would be at least up to the standard of a regular consumer dvd player.

    By the way, what do you mean by "not worth it". Can you be a little more specific?

    Thanks
     
  4. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Cinematographer

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    Well, your PC is definitely up to snuff. That being said, I'll address the PQ issue.

    The TV-out on different cards has varying quality, all at 480i. The best I've heard is S-Video from Matrox cards. Radeons are probably worse, but not terribly so. DVD players such as PowerDVD and WinDVD have very good PQ, but are usually just as expensive as buying a decent consumer player. WinDVD Platinum, for instance, is $70, but you have to buy separate packs for simple things like DTS.

    Most HTPC benefits are really for those with high-resolution displays, such as HDTVs and projectors. Personally, I'd say it's only worth it if you are planning to upgrade to HD soon, or if you have a lot of material on your hard drive (DivX, backups of DVDs) that you can't watch otherwise. If you have a decent consumer player, I'd stick with that.
     
  5. BenSC

    BenSC Stunt Coordinator

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    Errrrk.. hitting the brakes real quick? Matrox? I've always read those were some of the worst S-Video's out on the market. From what I understand and experienced, ATI's Radeon series have excelent S-Video and DVI out (I've used them both on my projector). The Matrox card I had was OK, but not nearly as crisp.

    Also, you have a distict advantage with a HTPC of upscaling DVD's, but that doesn't seem like an issue for your TV. I've used HTPC's for a number of years now, and it always works good for me.
     
  6. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Cinematographer

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    BenSC: I'll bow to your knowledge of video cards, it's been a while since I used TV-Out on any card. And upscaling is one of, if not the prime reasons to use an HTPC, IMO. Well-authored DVDs can look almost HD-quality when run using a good software scaler (FFDShow in my case). They're also useful for scaling analog material (TV, laserdiscs, VCRs) or archiving same on a HDD or CD/DVD.

    But for just simple DVD playback through S-Video, I'd still stick with a STB.
     
  7. GrahamJW

    GrahamJW Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi:

    For 3 years (before I purchased a DVD player) I used my PC as my DVD player connecting it to my direct view TV. Now, my TV didn't have an S-Video in, so I had to use RCA composite inputs (I know, I know). This gave an interlaced feed (480i), and I had to change my resolution to 800x600 on my PC. The sound was great as I connected the digital out from my SoundBlaster Live card to the Coax digital in to the receiver. The video card I used (PC was also for gaming) was an ATI Radeon 64 TiVo card. This setup worked great and did the trick for me. I used Power DVD 4 as it decoded both Dolby digital and DTS. PowerDVD 5 is out that supports DD EX and DTS EX. I think if I were building a HTPC, would go with an ATI all in wonder card (probably in the 9600 or 9800 Pro series) and use Power DVD 5.

    Cheers..John
     
  8. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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  9. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    So if I have the proper card and DVD software, can I get standard consumer dvd performance using A HTPC and a direct view TV via S-video?
     

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