htpc vs progressive scan dvd player --which is superior

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Vaughan, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. Vaughan

    Vaughan Agent

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    Hi, I recently joined the forum, and have been impressed with the overall quality and quantity of the advice that i have been reading. I have a data projector with vga inputs and I am currently using my computer to watch dvd's. However, I need to know whether a htpc can provide the best possible image. Until recently i have been reading articles based on progressive scan and know the benefits, so my question to you and to everyone that responds, is does a htpc provide the better quality image than using a good quality progressive scan player?(Sorry this a bit long, but I need advice as Vince ie administrator stated that a good htpc can provide much smoother filmlike images than progressive scan dvd players. Please someone or anybody share your thoughts with me on this.
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Supporting Actor

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    An HTPC is the highest quality possible. How much you benefit depends on what your projector is and what scaling res it can handle. A progressive scan player only puts out a measely 720x480 whereas an HTPC can scale that up to the ideal res for your pj.

    So what is your pj, what size and aspect ratio is the screen?
     
  3. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

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    HTPC all the way, I can even see a difference between my RP-82 and my HTPC on my HDTV. I have not played a movie thru the RP-82 since I finished my HTPC.
     
  4. Ron Boster

    Ron Boster Screenwriter

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    Ned hit the nail on the head. The HTPC is superior...but it maybe overkill, depending on how many lines of resolution your TV/Projector can display.
    A plug and play alternative to the staight ahead HTPC is what I call a DVDPC named PD-1100 from Projection Systems. I have one and you would never know it was a PC by looking at it, unless I told you. It scales the DVD signal and outputs 1366 x 768 at 60Hz.
    http://www.crtcinema.com/pd1000.html
     
  5. Vaughan

    Vaughan Agent

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    I must say that I find it hard to believe given the quality products from toshiba and panasonic progressive scan players can be inferiour in quality to cheap computer components.My brother has a data projector and is using a Pc to watch dvds.Using the vga input, I was impressed with overall quality, I watched lotr extended edition last night with a 100 inch picture size and it was great, but to say that this is better than what can be achieved with a proper progressive scan player is a bit ludecris, because firstly I have read in numerous progressive scan articles that computer dvd software will blur an image because of vertical filtering, as well as their being no component inputs for best quality.If my understanding is correct , I would think a player shuch as Tobisha 6200e or panasonic rp82 would provide close to hi defenition(I live in South Africa, my country does provide hi def yet)
     
  6. Ron Boster

    Ron Boster Screenwriter

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    Vaughn;

    You are welcome to your opinion. Your tone suggests that you wanted a specific answer from us...other words to agree with you. My suggestion as a long time member here (and I'm speaking for myself only) is to treat others opinions with respect. They have taken the time out of their day to "help" you by answering your question. Does not mean you have to accept the answer, but appreciate the effort they invested in even responding in the first place.

    Good luck

    Ron

    PS: I've owned a number of players both progressive and standard since March of 97. The player that produces the best overall image (closes to HD) is the hybred DVD PC that I mentioned above. It out shines everything else because it can produce the naitive signal for my projector and looks great on the 106" screen. Just as not all cars perform the same, the same holds true for PC's.
     
  7. Reece

    Reece Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron...
    That is one beautiful piece of equipment that you have to display dvd material. The part (on the web site) that talks about having a personal customized intro as firmware sounds really impressive especially if it can be shown in 6.1 DTS ES.
    I know there are HTPCs that with the aid of software such as "powerstrip" can achieve the native resolution of most PJs, is there a reason that you went with this piece instead of a HTPC?
    I hope to make the jump to a PJ soon and since I'm pretty comfortable with computers the HTPC sounded like my first choice, but reading about your device has got my attention.[​IMG]
     
  8. Ron Boster

    Ron Boster Screenwriter

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    Reece:

    I chose the PD-1100 for two reasons:

    1) Ease of use for my family...plug and play. Because it functions as a DVD player-all menus are unseen, plus it has a stable platform.

    2) The support and upgradability for new a different features. I'm not a "PC guy" and would not invest the time and effort into the upgrades.

    I have found Eric Lang and everyone over at Projection Systems to be focused on the customer...not only with their products, but the follow up service as well.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Take Car
    Ron
     
  9. Oswald Pascual

    Oswald Pascual Second Unit

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    Ron, that article sounds like this hybrid DVD player puts out a great image. How well does it handle audio when comapared to an equal higher end player. I see no mention of what type of DAC's it has.

    Thanks
     
  10. Ron Boster

    Ron Boster Screenwriter

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    Oswald:

    Audio is an area that I have very little "expertise" in. I did notice that details that seemed missing with my previous player (a Sony 7700 modified with a Cinematrix board). Also, on the audio side, my rear surrounds seem to come alive....this was very evident from the first soundtrack on...

    I can't say enough about this player on the video side. Accurate color rendition and close to that 3-D quality that HD offers. When you combine the upgradability of this unit and ease of use for a PC....it's hard to beat (IMHO).

    Ron
     
  11. Trey Jones

    Trey Jones Stunt Coordinator

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    Vaughan Please go to www.avscience.com as and go to the HTPC page. There is where you will find more informaiton about this.
    Overall, a HTPC with 1:1 pixel mapping should hang with or out do most progressive scan dvd-players on the market. This would not be a "cheap" or inexpensive PC setup, considering many of the cards for audio and video could cost as much as the players you listed, but yes it would look "more film like".
    So yes, a HTPC can out perform a Progressive scan dvd player.
     
  12. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Vaugn also sent me a PM about this question- which I thought I should post my reply here incase anyone has corrections or additions...
    Vaughn,
    I would also say that if you'd like to get overwhelmed by data (and likely eaten alive in the process)- try posting your assertions about ProgDVD over on the HTPC forum on AVS. I would imagine there are a few members over there who could explain to you (or at you) the differences down to the electrons... [​IMG]
     
  13. Reece

    Reece Stunt Coordinator

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    Okay Vince, let me see if I got this right....

    1)When trying to just achieve 480p, it's a coin toss between a HTPC and a high-end progressive dvd player in a price vs performance ratio(all other factors being equal).

    2)When trying to achieve resolutions of 720p and beyond, the HTPC clearly outperforms a high-end progressive dvd player(combined with an expensive external scaler)in a price vs performance ratio (again, all other factors being equal).

    3)A HTPC keeps all processes in the digital realm to maintain video resolution as well as accurate sound reproduction (digital---->analog-->screen). while a progressive dvd player sacrifices some performance by converting then re-converting the data stream (digital--->analog--->digital--->analog--->screen).

    If all this is correct then the choices for best viewing of dvds (and all other scalable material for that matter) are between a HTPC and a device like Ron's "PD-1100"(all other factors being equal of course).

    The only 2 questions I can think of now to narrow down to a final choice would be... (1)the interface between the display device and the source material. I'm wondering if a DVI connection to either the monitor or the pj would result in better resolution in terms of digital continuity, or am I just splitting hairs at this point? (2)As Oswald stated..what level of DACs are in the "PD-1100" and can a device like the one from Maudio deliver as good or better audio reproduction than the "PD-1100"?

    ....By the way, thanks Ron, Vince for the valuable input on this thread. I have been reading a lot of material for my final move to a PJ and this discussion has given me much food for thought.
     
  14. Vaughan

    Vaughan Agent

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    Ron, I respect YOUR opinion, but simply saying this is better or not simply doensn't prove anything.All that I need is some further understanding from you or anyone else as to why you or they choose HTPC over progressive dvd player.Please can you give me some facts and reasons regarding your assumptions?Do you have a progressive scan dvd player to give a comparison with.
     
  15. Ron Boster

    Ron Boster Screenwriter

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    Vaughan:

    I think everyone here has answered your question. You have to be open to the answer to understand and accept it. Good luck and welcome to the forum.

    Vince, terrific job in explaining the important points to consider.

    Ron
     
  16. Don Munsil

    Don Munsil Stunt Coordinator

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    I think Vince's post is excellent. I'd only add that HTPCs don't do as good a job of deinterlacing as the best stand-alone DVD players. HTPCs use the flags in the MPEG stream to determine how to display the images, and the flags are not always correct.

    For most major Hollywood movies, this isn't an issue most of the time, because they are flagged properly for most of the running time. However, even very recent movies have significant flag issues, sometimes for several seconds at a time. We're preparing a whole report on this for Secrets of Home Theater, and the results are going to surprise a lot of people.

    So, when considering obscure films that are more likely to be flagged incorrectly or oddly, or have been shot on video or edited on video, I think the best standalone DVD players will clearly beat an HTPC or any HTPC-based player like the PD-1100. Only you can decide if that outweighs the excellent image quality and excellent scaling you get from an HTPC when everything is flagged properly.

    There are also of course usability issues with HTPCs, as generally they aren't as easy to use as mass-market DVD players. Specially built HTPC players like the PD-1100 are an exception, and if you are willing to use a Pronto and a wireless keyboard, you can rig up something that feels almost exactly like a regular DVD player once it's all booted up and running.

    Hope this helps.

    Don
     
  17. Ron Boster

    Ron Boster Screenwriter

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    Don:

    Thanks for your insights and input. I've really enjoy Secrets of Home Theater, especially the DVD player shootout.

    Ron
     
  18. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Second Unit

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    Vaughan,

    What else is there to explain? Nobody with any experience with digital projectors will go against the axiom that 1:1 pixel mapping is preferable to using the projector's internal scaler. As with any rule there are exceptions of course, and I'm sure some extremely expensive Faroudja projectors would do better with their internal scalers than with external scaling, but as a rule 1:1 pixel mapping is preferred. What this means is that when you have a projector with a native resolution of greater than 720 x 480 (which is the res of progressive scan), you want to feed it its native resolution instead of relying on the projector's internal scalers to do so. It is clear in this case that an infinitely configurable HTPC is more desirable than a progressive scan DVD player, because a progressive scan DVD player will only output 720 x 480.
     
  19. Oswald Pascual

    Oswald Pascual Second Unit

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    Using an HTPC or this PD-1100, if I change the resolution will that not require my to resize my FPTV for the new resolution? If so will that require a touch up on convergence as well?

    Usually if you do that on your PC it requires a resize of the screen since the image gets smaller as you increase resolution. Is this the same for a FPTV?
     
  20. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Sometimes, yes-- but you have to remember that a PC monitor is designed to work with SEVERAL possible resolutions, refresh rates, etc. The TV stuff simply is not- so more likely than not you will find that instead of reworking your picture convergence- many resolutions you would offer your Tv simply won't work.

    Usually with RPTV setups- the best bet is to get powerstrip and start with standard resolutions the TV is designed to accept; like 1080i, 720p, 520p, 480i. These signals SHOULD be seen by the set as identical to feeds coming off HD video equipment (like HD set-top-box)-- so if your current converge for such rates is correct- it will still be correct.

    If you plan to experiment and tweak slightly with the resolutions (say varying the refresh or resolution slightly from presets)- you might find yourself needing to adjust picture geometry.

    Hope that helps.

    -vince
     

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