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Silly question time...Why HTPC?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by SamC, Feb 7, 2002.

  1. SamC

    SamC Agent

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    I have seen some posts about using a PC within a HT, and am wondering who, what, when, why etc??

    I know alot of people use a HTPC for watching movies and this is not something I want to do, but what about the tweak/processing side? Do people use them for processing signals and so on or am I totally confused?

    My reasoning is that I work in IT, and have a number of computers at home that I don't often use (combo of new & recent, not old). I could put one into the HT if there is a benefit.

    Thanks for any help,

    Sam
     
  2. Duncan Barth

    Duncan Barth Stunt Coordinator

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    You can do quite a bit with a HTPC... it really depends on what your needs are.

    Most people use them as a combined DVD/CD/mp3/whatever. player.

    With the right hardware, they can act as a TiVo-like network recorder.

    If you have a projector, HTPCs really shine. There is some very good (and free) software out there that lets a HTPC act as a very high quality line doubler/scaler/deinterlacer.

    And finally, you can do the obvious PC-type tasks (games/web surfing/etc.) in ones home theater.

    The technology is still pretty bleeding edge, but you can get quite a bit of bang for the buck if you're willing to put in some effort. And the nice thing is you have a box thats potentially customizable to operate the way *you* want it to.
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    They also can act as your HDTV decoder, the card to do this is about half the price ofa set top box(AND you can record the HD feed to your hard drive). HTPC are also easy to make region free, make PAL/NTSC conversion moot, and provide easier access to foreign films through DVDSubber.
     
  5. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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  6. Andre F

    Andre F Screenwriter

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    This is very interesting! I never knew all this was possible. Are these any good sites that have more information on this type of stuff. I'll probably upgrade in the next or so and my current PC is not ready to be retired so this thread has got my interest.

    -Andre F
     
  7. Duncan Barth

    Duncan Barth Stunt Coordinator

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    The avs forums (http://www.avsforum.com) have a pretty high volume HTPC area. I'd go there first... they keep a pretty updated HTPC faq as well. Start off by reading that, and then spend a few hours reading posts. You'll get up to speed pretty quickly.
    Then come back here and tell us what you've done [​IMG]
     
  8. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I used to have a primitive HTPC setup (was totally on the bleeding edge back in 1998), and the only things that drove me nuts was the PC fan noise level, and the remote control capabilities of a HTPC (I tried the X10 solution, but it was wasn't as slick as I would have liked).
     
  9. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  10. Ken Woodrow

    Ken Woodrow Stunt Coordinator

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    SamC:
    Check out my website (in my sig) for my HTPC configuration and a description of what I do with it. For an IT guy, much of what I've done would be child's play.
    In addition to what's been mentioned:
    • HTPC as a preamp /surround processor with a mulitchannel soundcard, surround sound decoding in software (PowerDVD XP), and software (coming) for bass management, etc.
    • Distributed music and video server via a home LAN -- I store all of my music .wavs on a server and play them on a HTPC on my LAN;
    • instant access to web-based database of DVD and movie information, a la DVD Profiler;
    • Cool movie trailers and shorts (Quicktime)
    • Sound processing -- its possible to upsample CD to 24/96 and playback with the right software/hardware combo;
    • Real time analysis of sound performance of your system using ETF5 or Spectraplus software;
    • X-10 control of theater lighting, etc.
    • Play cool visualizations while listening to tunes;
    • Cool screensavers;
    • Upgradeability;
    • Customization.
    I'd could go on, but you get the picture.
    - Ken
     
  11. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    Vince - definitely get TheaterTek. It is a phenomenal player with a gorgeous STB-like interface. Version 1.1 was just released this evening and one of the enhancements are commands that will jump backwards or forwards by ten seconds. The aspect ratio control also has some wonderful new enhancements - especially for those that run at different resolution settings (for example, different scan rates for film or video or NTSC and PAL).

    Why did I go with an HTPC? As Vince said - they make a phenomenal scaler. I can get a native rate scaler for my DILA projector and support for an anamorphic lens for a fraction of what a dedicated Faroudja scaler would cost.

    Initially, the HTPC will only play DVDs. Later I'll probably add dScaler for LaserDisc or television sources.

    -greg
     
  12. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Vince just wondering, because I have a Pioneer slot load DVD and a 275w Silencer PS from PCPC.com but it's still quite noisy. I've watched DVDs on my monitor before and the sounds from the PC are very distracting, with the slot-load Pio DVD being the noisest source (I really recommend a tray for a HTPC).
    How many fans are you running in your PC? There's the obvious ones in the PS and on top of the CPU, but I also have one on the bottom front which is supposed to create airflow to all the parts (this is the loudest). You think it's ok to take that sucker out of there? There was another that had this curving hood circulating air from the back of the PC to over the CPU fan but I took that one out because I figured it was overkill.
    My case is a Fong Kai 603 which is one of the quietest you can buy. Any recommendations on making a PC quieter? A noise-free PC has always been a dream of mine. One guy actually did make his PC noiseless. He took out all the fans, got an ultra-quiet, super-slow, sub-2gig HD and even set the PC to go into sleep mode after 1 min. Hehe sounds a little too much but at least we know it's possible. [​IMG]
     
  13. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  14. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

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    I have a question... will DScaler allow me to convert non-anamorphic DVD to an anamorphic signal? I am just getting into HTPC and I haven't got DScaler yet, so I was just wondering if this is possible. I guess that I was expecting DScaler to scale for progressive output only. Since I have a widescreen NTSC only TV I would be interested in seeing what it could do to scale up something like The Breakfast Club, or something else. So, can you scale the resolution up and squeeze a widescreen input so that I could use the FULL mode on my TV?

    - ADDED -

    I finally looked up the DScaler site and discovered that it will de-interlace the signal, so I can't use it to scaling for NTSC output. Dang.
     
  15. Hugh M

    Hugh M Second Unit

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    um,

    however you hook up your tv to your computer, you will be providing an interlaced signal to it. so if you deinterlace with dscaler than the video card will be interlacing the signal again before it goes out.

    tv output is really not worth the hassle, you won't get any better results than you do with a regular svideo dvd player.
     

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