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Home Theater Forum Review: THEATERTEK HTPC DVD SOFTWARE (UPDATED: Info on vers 1.5) (1 Viewer)

Joe Hays

Agent
Joined
May 25, 2002
Messages
43
Brian,
You asked:
"Vince: Is DTS Decoding (and possible DD-EX and DTS-ES decoding) in the cards?"

I am not sure if I am answering your question correctly, but I can play DTS movies using my TT player and the DTS audio works great.
 

Vince Maskeeper

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 18, 1999
Messages
6,500


Uh... I would say a 64meg DDR would be more than ready for primetime- I'm running a 32 meg 7500LE series card- which are actually still really popular in HTPC circles (the new Radeon cards have been endlessly plagued with bugs and serious grayscale problems).

I'm not sure what you mean by "16x9 mode"- since the concepts of video of the stand alone realm don't port well to HTPC: I run my LE at 1024x576 (16x9 desktop) and am planning to go to 720p (1280x720) using powerstrip. This gives me a 16x9 native desktop and handles all aspect switching automatically (4:3 will format with bars, 16x9 will full screen, and properly flagged non-anamorphic will auto zoom).

Even if you run 4:3 mode, any software should automatically see anamorphic enhancement and format it with full resolution in a 4:3 window. Keep in mind if you're running a 800x600 desktop that you have plenty of room to present a 16x9 anamorphic image inside the 800x600 with bars and still get full image resolution (unlike NTSC which the bars represent lost resolution).

Again- don't think that just because a card is "newer" that it is better- the 8500 was universally panned in HTPC circles because of the new Catalyst driver type (as far as I know TT still can run in hardware mode on Catalyst drivers), and this is a continued problem with the 9500 stuff from what I've read. The 7500 series are still very popular for HTPC.

-Vince
 

TedD

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
698
MikeG

Just get Zoomplayer, use the PowerDVD filters and it will do everything that TheaterTek does, plus do your file and preview functions, and it's FREE.

Ted
 

Mike_G

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 1, 2000
Messages
1,477
Real Name
Mike
Vince,
I was completely ignorant of the whole 16x9 issue because the 64DDR only OFFICIALLY supported 640x480 or 800x600 NTSC output in XP (in ME is supported 852x480 but I didn't boot into ME until long after I got my 16x9 projector).
I downloaded one of those Radeon tweaker tools and put the video in 852x480 and it worked perfectly. I just got the 9700 yesterday but I haven't played with it yet in terms of video outpt; I've been spending too much time playing UT2K3 :).
Mike
 

Mike_G

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Mike
Well, I spent some time with the 9700 today. It's an excellent card for gaming. However, I was NOT able to get it to support any kind of 16x9 TV output. The Radeon drivers force the aspect ratio of the TV output to 4x3, unlike the 64DDR VIVO drivers which put the TV Output to the same resolution as the monitor.

I already posted a question on the Rage3D forum about this. I don't want to go back to using a 4x3 aspect ratio. I still have the other card. I COULD put it in my server and use that to run my HTPC. Oh, I don't know *throws hands in the air*.

Mike
 

Vince Maskeeper

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 18, 1999
Messages
6,500
Some interesting news from theatertek:


We're excited to have posted the following announcement on the TheaterTek website this morning. Additional information is available on our website.

Roswell, GA - October 9, 2002 - TheaterTek, Inc. today announced a licensing agreement with Sonic Solutions whereby TheaterTek will incorporate DVD video and audio decoding technology from Sonic into their software Home Theater solutions.

TheaterTek DVD is a software DVD solution that combines the simplicity of a hardware Set Top Box player, with the features and functionality that large screen and home theater owners need to maximize their movie viewing and listening experience. Incorporating full aspect ratio control, a high quality on-screen display and a seamless remote control interface, TheaterTek DVD brings Hollywood into the home, without the look and feel of a PC.

TheaterTek DVD is the player of choice on many dedicated Home Theater PC's (HTPC's). Discriminating home theater enthusiasts around the world who demand the highest quality DVD playback on screen sizes as large as 12 feet, have chosen TheaterTek.

"We're very pleased to license the Sonic DVD technology as the underlying core components for our products," stated Andrew Chilvers, President of TheaterTek. "Sonic is the recognized industry leader in DVD video quality, and the combination of the TheaterTek player with Sonic technology provides a movie experience paralleling the very best dedicated cinemas".

An updated version of TheaterTek DVD incorporating the Sonic technology will be available early 4th qtr 2002.


I'm not overly familiar with Sonic's filter engine- but I assume this move was made to solve the compatibility issues between TheaterTek and newer ATI cards and Catalyst drivers (due to theatertek's previous lack of support of DXVA, the defacto standard for windows based media at this point.) As far as I know, the filters Theatertek used previously (Ravisent) hvae been rolled into the Sonic system- so I assume the technology is similar.

There are some interesting additions to features listed here:
Link Removed


TheaterTek DVD 1.5 is fully DXVA compliant and adds several new features to the current version:

Screen Capture
Single frames off a DVD can now be captured to disk in both DXVA and software mode.

Dynamic deinterlacing switching
TheaterTek DVD can now dynamically switch between Video and Film mode deinterlacing during playback. These settings are automatically saved with the currently viewing DVD and are even saved for the current Title just like the Aspect Ratio information. This is perfect for badly flagged DVD's that need a Film Mode setting forced on, but you don't want to see any trailers or menus in forced Film Mode.

Preferred Audio Device
PC's with more than one audio card can now select which card they wish to use for SP/DIF output.

Improved Navigation
TheaterTek DVD now includes FF with no frame drops at up to 2X speed. Additionally single Frame Stepping and Slow Motion have been added.
The arrow keys now double up during playback to provide chapter/FF/RW capability.

Improved Auto-Resume
Auto-resume can now be left off, and a command has been added to jump immediately to the last known position on the disk. Great for those fall-asleep late night movies.

On Screen Stats
On screen real-time statistics showing current audio format and MPEG deocding rate have been added.

New Configuration Options
The Configuration dialog has been enhanced to provide an Information tab detailing video card, audio card, DXVA acceleration and other useful options. Additionally, a list of the currently available HotKeys is provided.

More on-screen feedback
TheaterTek now provides more feedback directly on screen for certain commands. In addition, video adjustments and Aspect Ratio adjustments can now be performed without pausing playback. Perfect for using AVIA or Video Essentials to fine tune the display.


[I'm proud because the "double function of navigation arrow keys" was a suggestion I made on the TT forum a few months back!]

I'd love to hear if anyone has any info on Sonic's filters specifically- or any reviews from useds who get their hands on 1.5. My HTPC is currently offline (doing some room construction and remodeling)-- but if anyone else tries out 1.5- please post your thoughts!

-Vince
 

Chris PC

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 12, 2001
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Sounds cool. I hope the film/video solution fixes any problems with the de-interlacing :)
 

Seth Paxton

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Nov 5, 1998
Messages
7,585
Is anyone here that uses this also using it with a Sony W400?
My big hold up previously in going to HTPC is the conversion of RGB to YCrCbSync via an external box. If I could have HDTV timed videa in component signal output, I would be extrememly pleased. :)
Maybe the latest HTPC vid cards are doing this and I'm out of the loop.
I also have a couple of RCA HDTV sets that do use RGB in so I might also build machines for them if this software works that well.
 

John Parris

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Aug 10, 2002
Messages
235
That is some great news if it pans out... I'm mainly interested in how TT 1.5 will work (if at all) with the new Radeon cards (9000, 9700). If ANYONE has any info, please let me know... I was all set to buy a 7500 for HTPC use and a 9000 for gaming... but if the new version of Theatertek can work on a 9700... I might just get one of those and kill two birds with one stone :D
Anyone tried it?
 

Phill O

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Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
128
Hey Brian Kleinke, I sorry to hear that you have Windows Melicious Edition. :frowning: It really is a bad OS. Win2K is much better, not to rub any salt or anything;) . Right now I am torn between 2K and XP-Pro. I don't like the licensing of XP, but some of the built in features are nice. But I could just use 3rd party software in 2K. Decisions, decisions....
 

Rabi

Auditioning
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
4
Go with XP. I have been running XP Pro since it came out both at home and work. My work computer I have only had to reboot once for a problem with the OS. And given my profession, a programmer working on home automation control systems, that is just amazing. Otherwise it stays on all the time except for the occasional reboot for software changes or hardware change. My computer at home until recently had never been rebooted and ran for a couple of months straight with no crashes and no reboots just log ons and offs.
My wife also uses XP on her laptop and also rarely reboots except for the fact that it is a laptop . Although now that she has found the joys of hibernate I don't think the laptop will rarely get rebooted.;)
 

Chris White

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 12, 1999
Messages
391
FYI - there's a new patch release out today that fixes navigation problems with some discs.
If you are referring to the latest patch for TT 1.5, I recommend not installing this patch unless you are having problems. I installed this patch last Friday and now TheaterTek will no longer run on my computer. I've posted about this problem at the TheaterTek technical support forum, but they have not yet replied.
 

Ryan Cruz

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 2, 2002
Messages
139
How do you guys connect your HTPC to the receiver? Are there optical outs in your sound cards? Do they support DD and DTS?
 

Vince Maskeeper

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 18, 1999
Messages
6,500


Coax output from the popular Maudio Audiophile card. There are many cards that offer digital output-- although "optical" is less common. Echo audio have several cards with optical output (because they're designed for adat optical lightpipe)-- but I've never tried to see if they'll pass DD/DTS cleanly.

Even Creative makes some cards with coax digital output-- but most are junk. They don't pass the stream unaltered- some sort of resample process is used. The appeal of Audiophile cards from Maudio is the pure "bit for bit" DD/DTS passthrough.

Again- this is a coax digital send- and many people use them. The other popular option is to get a multichannel card and have it decode internally and pass 6 channel analog out to a receiver...

-Vince
 

nousername

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 26, 2001
Messages
614
I apologize if this is a dumb question, but HTPCs (w/Theatertek) only work with projectors with special input connections, right? It wouldn't work with a direct-view set such as a Sony 36XBR450, which only has composite, S-video and component inputs, right? Just wondering...
 

nousername

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 26, 2001
Messages
614
You can use an htpc with any set that has a component inputs by using a vga-component converter.
Thanks for the info!

But will a HTPC be vastly superior to a standalone consumer progressive DVD player (such as a Panasonic DVD-RP82 with Faroudja/DCDi chipset), especially on a HD-ready TV set the same size as mine (36")? Or would you need a bigger screen size in order to see any differences?

I'm pretty happy right now with my setup, but if a HTPC can produce a significantly better picture, I'd be interested in pursuing this...
 

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