HTPC vs Stand-alone DVD Player

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Cesar*P, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. Cesar*P

    Cesar*P Extra

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    Currently I have my computer connected to the TV and receiver to watch DVDs. For the audio I'm using a 1/8" stereo to RCA stereo cable connected from the sound card's digital audio output to the receiver's CD digital audio input. For the video, I connected the S video cable from the video card's S video-out to the TV's S video-input. I was wondering if I get a stand alone DVD player will the sound and video performance be improved? I think it would because shouldn't using audio cable such as optical or coax improve sound quality over 1/8" stereo to RCA stereo cable? I'd also imagine that the video output would be improved as well because isn't the DVD output quality better than using the video card's output? With that said, please let me know if it's worth purchasing a stand alone DVD player. Thanks.
     
  2. Mike Veroukis

    Mike Veroukis Second Unit

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    Hmm.. Well, modern day video cards do have amazing picture quality. If your TV has DVI inputs, and your gfx card has DVI output capabilites (most modern ones do), then that should provide you with a stunning picture.

    Having said that, a stand-alone DVD player, with a Faroudja chip, should out perform your PC - assuming you use component video cables to hook it up to your TV (are there DVD players with DVI outputs yet???).

    As for sound, that too depends on your sound card. You can use high-quality cables to hook up your PC to the receiver, so that shouldn't be an issue.

    What I find to be a problem with PC's in general is that they're loud. If you're gonna use a HTPC I'd suggest getting a liquid cooling system, which keeps your PC's internals nice and cool and makes almost no sound.

    - Mike
     
  3. Jon Hancock

    Jon Hancock Stunt Coordinator

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    HTPC's come into their own when you use the VGA output, or VGA transcoded to component, into a HD ready set or front projector set that accepts multiple inputs. Just using it with S-Video output, which is typically not done very carefully with most PC video cards, is probably not the best use of resources for you. In that case, I agree completely with Mike- a good inexpensive standalone player with a Faroudja chip set is probably your best bet. Is S-Video the highest res input your TV has?

    I've been using HTPC's since about 98, and the impetus then was that progressive scan players and progressive input TVs weren't available. I use either front projection in the living room, or a large format presentation monitor in the bedroom; both have VGA inputs, and essentially operate as multi-scan computer displays.

    Without a Hi-Res display, the HTPC doesn't come close to reaching it's potential, and the expense, noise, and complexity (of some installations) is hard to justify.

    OTOH, with the right display, it's easy to add addtional features (HDTV playback and recording, music server, video server, hardware MPEG playback of TS files and DVD VOB, etc), and then the danger is that you spend more time configuring and playing with the HTPC than watching movies! [​IMG]

    But for some of us that is part of the fun. Not every one wants to have a half terabyte video server in a micro ATX format chasis that looks like a laser disk player in their living room, but it can be kind of fun... [​IMG] and there is a certain satisfaction that comes from researching, assembling, and tweaking such a setup. Try it, you may like it!


    [​IMG]


    ~Jon
     
  4. Cesar*P

    Cesar*P Extra

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    The following is my PC which runs very stable. I can't remember a time when it has locked up or crashed:
    1.47Ghz 1700 AMD Athlon XP
    ATI Radeon 64MB 8500 LE video card
    Turtle Beach Santa Cruz sound card
    512 MB Crucial RAM
    16x Lite-on DVD-ROM drive

    The Santa Cruz sound card doesn't have coaxial or optical cable outputs. Only the 1/8" size which is why I'm using the 1/8" stereo jack to RCA cable. I'm not sure if that qualifies as a high quality cable. As for the TV it has component cable and S-video inputs. Now that you know the components to my PC does anyone think it's worth purchasing a stand-alone DVD player?
     
  5. Don_Berg

    Don_Berg Supporting Actor

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    The standalone DVD players have digital audio outputs (coax and/or optical) which when connected to a Dolby Digital receiver can give you high quality 6 channel (5.1) audio output from DD5.1 and DTS5.1 encoded audio tracks on DVD movies. With that analog stereo audio output you are only getting a degraded 2-channel audio. So yess the standalone DVD player can produce much higher quality and surround audio compared to that.
     
  6. Jon Hancock

    Jon Hancock Stunt Coordinator

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    But HTPC's can be equipped with SPDIF outputs also, in fact mine, using the nforce chipsets, encode ALL PC audio to Dolby digital.

    Best regards,

    Jon
     
  7. Cesar*P

    Cesar*P Extra

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    True, but in my case I don't have a sound card with such outputs. I went ahead and purchased a DVD player and enjoying better audio and video quality! [​IMG]
     

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