Video Blaster questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Fred Grambs, Mar 20, 2003.

  1. Fred Grambs

    Fred Grambs Auditioning

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    Hello,

    I just purchased the Creative Video Blaster Digital VCR and I have a few questions that I can't seem to find answers to. I'm hoping someone here would have gone through these already.

    The requirements only list a hard drive. Is there any difference in performance or quality between a 5400 and 7200 RPM drive? I have access to a couple of 5400 RPM drives, and I'm planning on using them.

    Can I use the IR Blaster to control a set-top box? If so, will the software automatically change channels for scheduled recording? I'm thinking of upgrading to digital cable and that would force me to use a set-top box.

    Would the DVD quality be better coming from a set-top DVD player (currently an RCA, forgot the model) or from a DVD drive in the computer?

    Does anyone have experience with the myhtpc software (myhtpc.net)? I think it would be a nice frontend, but how is the stability?

    My plans are to use a P3-800 MHz computer with a GeForce2 MX400 (SVideo out) and 384 MB PC-133 RAM and put an Audigy or SB Live in for output to my 5.1 receiver. The computer will only be used for HTPC and will be hooked up to a Toshiba 57HDX82. I have most of the hardware already, the only thing I may need is another hard drive, based on the answer to my 1st question.

    Oh, 1 more question...the DVI/HDCP input on my TV looks like a standard DVI connector. The manual says that the TV is not meant to be used with PCs and it has no further instructions in the section on the DVI-D connector. Has anyone used that connector to hookup their computer?

    TIA,
    Fred
     
  2. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    I haven't used that particular card, but to answer your questions in general:

    It looks like the card has a hardware MPEG-2 encoder. The bitrate for DVD-quality MPEG-2 (10 Mbits/sec) is well within the capability of any recent hard drive. Even an old, slow 5400rpm drive should manage at least 5 Mbytes/sec, so that's four times faster.

    The whole idea behind the IR blaster is to control a STB; the only question is whether it is compatible. There should be a list somewhere. You can check with your cable company and Creative to make sure it matches up.

    DVD quality from a HTPC when using higher-than-TV resolution (TV is 480i) through a VGA/DVI connection should be better than a DVD player. (Not sure if a P3-800 has enough horsepower for good scaling, though.) But if you use the S-video out of the video card, then you're actually displaying the desktop at 480i -- actually probably shrunk a little bit -- and that will look worse.

    Dunno about myhtpc

    If your TV is not HD, then it can't go higher than 480i, and most desktops nowadays are bigger than that.

    //Ken
     
  3. Fred Grambs

    Fred Grambs Auditioning

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    Thanks for the response Ken.

    I've been doing some digging and found that Creative does not provide support for the IR Blaster, but does explain how to enable it. I guess they didn't want to get stuck supporting multiple configurations, etc. Something to play with over time.

    I'm still not sure if my TV will accept a computer input on the DVI/HDCP connector. I'm very hesitant to try it because of the warning in the manual.

    Once I'm finished configuring everything on my regular monitor (don't want any burn-in problems), I'll get it hooked up to the big screen and see how well it works via S-Video hookup.

    Fred
     

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