HTPC and multiple sources? Please help.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David_Larkins, Jan 2, 2002.

  1. David_Larkins

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    Ok, just when I think I might be getting the hang of this...[​IMG]
    Here's my concern. I plan to go to a HT setup using an NEC 110LC pj. I have read that I will need to use a scaler or HTPC of some sort to optimize the output of this projector. Fine. However, I already have an HT setup using a 31" panasonic TV for video. I intend to use the pj setup much the same way as I use my setup now. 40-50% music, and the other 50-60% is Cable TV, VCR, DVD. Now here's the rub... I don't currently have a computer interfaced with the setup I have, but I am good with computers, and can build/fix/tinker with the best of them.[​IMG] What I don't know how to do is to run the sources I mentioned (TV, VCR, DVD) through an "HTPC", letting it handle scaling issues, etc., and from there to the pj. I kinda get the feeling from reading lots of posts that people generally use DVD drives in the HTPC for DVD playback, and video cards with tv tuners for Cable, but I don't want to do that...
    A) I already have a nice (not great, but nice) DVD player, that I am pleased with.
    B) Still want to have Cable TV capability.
    C) Still want to have capability for VCR movies.
    D) Don't want to spend $$$ on an expensive scaler, when I have spare computer equip. that I had hoped would do the job with only minor (< $300) worth of upgrading.
    I know that HTPC has to be the more versitile option, but how can I accomplish what I want to do?
    suggestions are welcome, but keep in mind that I am relatively new to this genre (I've used a TV so I haven't really had to deal with HTPC applications or scalers, etc. - I just plugged cables into the back of the TV and BAM! moving pictures.)
    Is there a converter box (or router box, switch box, whatever you want to call it) out there that I can plug all these sources into, and run that into an input of a video card, and have it come out of the HTPC scaled properly to take full advantage of my pj?
    I know that this can probably be done with some type of apparatus, but I'm really not interested in solutions that add up to 1000's of dollars...Hate to sound like a tightwad:b, but trying to stay within a limited budget and still get good performance.
     
  2. Hugh M

    Hugh M Second Unit

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    I think your best bet would be to get a cheap capture card which is compatible with "dscaler" software. ( www.dscaler.org ). The IO Magic PC PVR package is one of these, and it is $40 at CompUSA, sometimes with a $20 rebate as well. That card is highly recommended. Its svideo input is very clean.
    What you would need to do then is run whatever svideo sources into your receiver and then have the receiver monitor output into the capture card. For those devices that don't have svideo you would need to use composite, but the results would not be nearly as good there. This way your receiver can do the switching.
    If you don't want to or can't use the receiver in this way then you will have to use a switcher box, which I am not an expert on at all. The IO Magic card can accept coax, composite, and svideo inputs, and then you can switch between them, but if you can go with all svideo you will be much better off.
    Once you put the capture card in your computer then you need to install drivers for dscaler to see the card, but after that dscaler interfaces with the capture card directly. The results with this softeware are comparable to very expensive video processors. It allows you to ouput any resolutiuon you want to your display device, as long as you have it connected to your video card connection. There are hardware requirements that you need to have to use dscaler. These are listed on the site.
    I think that once you get your projector set up you will most likely want to use DVD playback from within the HTPC. But we'll have to wait until you see the difference.
     
  3. David_Larkins

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    Thanks Hugh,
    This was exactly the type of reply that I was looking for. I can indeed use my receiver (Onkyo 676) to do the switching between sources for video! [​IMG] Are you currently or have you ever used the vid. card that you spoke of? I assume since you offer it as a suggestion you know that it gives good performance in this arena?
    You may be right... I might want to go with dvd straight from the HTPC when I see the difference, just hate to give up my nice dvd deck for a computer drive [​IMG]
    Thanks for the advice.
    David
     
  4. Hugh M

    Hugh M Second Unit

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    yes I have the IO Magic, and it offers the cleanest svideo in the opinion of many people.
    also has a tuner and composite, and includes power vcr software...but the svideo is what you want, and the thing you will get the best results from.
    the io magic is just a capture card though... for video card you could go with any high quality card with the Radeon series being the most recommended...the best card for you would depend on gaming priorities. if you aren't into gaming right now, think about how it would be on a huge screen, with a good sound system.[​IMG]
     

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