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My results: HTPC Picture Quality

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Matt Weyen, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. Matt Weyen

    Matt Weyen Stunt Coordinator

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    I just got my htpc setup with a Key Digital transcoder (vga to component adapter). I did all the reading on how to tweak with powerstrip on pages like http://www.keohi.com/keohihdtv/exper...uperguide.html and http://www.ramelectronics.net/html/powerstrip.html. Then I set mine to 960x540p and got it to work and it resulted in a great picture with a fair amount of overscan. I used the tricks that I had read about powerstrip to get rid of the overscan and then I began testing higher resolutions. I got 1920x540p to work! Using Zoom Player, I can mess with custom aspect ratios until I get all of the picture on my 47" panasonic with no trouble (by the way, this is a very forgiving set that can handle a wider range of scan rates than the powerstrip guides suggested typical hdtv's would!) I then proceeded to check which was better, my progressive scan dvd player or my htpc. I was astounded by the results! The HTPC is AMAZING. Once it was calibrated (avia wasn't nearly as helpful with the htpc as it was the dvd player!) and maxed out for resolution, the difference became obvious and I won't watch another dvd on my stand alone progressive dvd player again. Also, one last note, I did get 1920x1080i to work but it put out such a horrible picture quality for both video and, mainly, desktop/text that I couldn't realistically deal with it. Now I just wish I had an HDTV that could truely do 720p, I can only imagine what that would look like!.
     
  2. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Great to hear Matt! Makes me want to purchase an X1 even more. I've got the htpc but am still using an ntsc wega. [​IMG] Was Powerstrip fairly simple to set up?
     
  3. Matt Weyen

    Matt Weyen Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, powerstrip wasn't too bad, just make sure to read those pages I linked. The most important part to know are the timings, which for me was the 1080i/540p timings (they are the same). The 1080i/540p timings are 33.75hrz horizontal scan rate, 60hrz (roughly) vertical scan rate and then the total resolution (1125 for 1080i and 563 for 540p). Once you have those things set, which are in the predefined settings in powerstrip, you will be set. As for custom resolutions, just make sure you have the timings that I just mentioned, but you can change the front/back porch numbers, which are just blank spacing pixels versus the active pixels.
     
  4. BenSC

    BenSC Stunt Coordinator

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    I use powerstrip in much the same way with my Panny 300 projector. I started off using native res through the VGA port, but found that running an HDTV res through DVI yielded a better picture. It was harder to read text in windows apps, but the picture through Media Player Clasic is amazing.
     
  5. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

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    I'm looking to hook my HTPC up to a RP DLP some day...

    I always wondered if DVD images would be amazing when connecting an HTPC to a RP HDTV. I think you've answered my question.

    So Matt, you figure a native resolution of 720P (such as with DLP set) would be stunning ? Even better than a stand alone DVI DVD player ?
     
  6. Matt Weyen

    Matt Weyen Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm running 1920x540p and it looks soooo much better than my progressive scan dvd player that I would have to say that no stand alone is going to output anything like the res I'm putting out. I have read this over and over again on the AVS page and my findings definately would confirm it. From what have read, 720p is just that much better since the horizontal resolution is what makes the biggest difference in picture quality. I just wish my RP HDTV could handle 720p, but, from what I read, not many RP HDTV's can truely handle 720p from a pc. Even if your RP HDTV can't handle 720p, 1920x540p is incredible. Another note: to get 1920x540p to work correctly for video, you must have a program such as Zoom Player that you can make custom aspect ratios. I have to use a 4 to 1 aspect ratio for 16:9 material and 4 to 1.15 for 2.54:1 material (extra wide dvd's). I gotta change the custom aspect ratio for different movies, but it is truely worth it for the improvement in picture quality. I can't deal with my stand alone picture quality now that I've seen how much better an HTPC can be. By the way, I'm using an ATI Radeon 7000 with 32mb's of DDR on it, works perfectly and can be had for well under $50 just about anywhere.
     
  7. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

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    Even better news...

    That's the same card as I have, just the AIW version.

    Good work!
     

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