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Would an HTPC be necessary for me?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Max Knight, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    Hi All,

    I'm relatively new to the HTPC stuff, though I feel like an old hand at other HT items!

    I'm considering a low-end projector (Panasonic AE-100 or one of the newer ones), and got the general feeling that if you went with a projector, you should go with a HTPC.

    How much of an increase in image quality would an HTPC net me? I would ONLY use this for DVD. I'm very happy with my Mac for all my computing/music use, I love my Tivo and have no desire to try to build a PVR on my own. I don't really play video games. The only thing my HTPC would do is play DVD video.

    So, with an AE-100, or other similar LCD projector, how much better would a HTPC be than my Toshiba 6200 progressive scan player?
     
  2. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Max,

    This might be a better question for the Display area here, or even over on AVS. The issue of "will this be better" is more an issue of the native resolution of the projector and the internal scaling activity.

    Basically, in a situation like mine (LT-150 from NEC)- my projector has a native res of 1024x768- and anything fed to the projector that ISN'T 1024x768 progressive will be scaled to that 1024x768 point. But, because the internal scaler looks, well, poopy- the projector really dictated that I feed it 1024x768.

    Since that resolution was not available from a progressive DVD player (which is sending a 480p signal)- my only choice was to live with the internally scaled image or do something about supplying it with a 1024x768 signal. The options of supplying it with 1024x768 were HTPC or Scaler, and with all the various advantages of a HTPC versus a stand alone scaler- I opted for HTPC.

    So- this process comes down to examining the native panel of your LCD, and how it looks when you feed it anything other than the native panel. Some internal scaling does a fine job, but most don't.

    -Vince
     
  3. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    Ok, that helps quite a bit. If I recall correctly, the AE-100 is also 1024x768.

    I'll have to do a bit more research on this. I'm imagining a two stage upgrade, first projector then HTPC.

    How reliable is your HTPC? How easy to use?
     
  4. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Both are relative concepts I guess. I can say I have never had my HTPC crash (ok, once, but that was a cooling issue mistake on my part).

    As far as ease of use, it certainly isn't a "put in and press play" kinda thing- but for what you get, I think the trade off is worth it. There are several things you can do with 3rd party applications like Girder to streamline the process and make the system run like a stand alone player.

    -vince
     
  5. David Hicks

    David Hicks Stunt Coordinator

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    Max - The native resolution of the AE100 is 858x484. Given that strange ratio, the only way to avoid scaling is to go Scaler or HTPC. I am in the process of finishing an HTPC for my AE100. Having only watched a few sample clips, I can already say that the improvement over my old non-progressive DVD is incredible. I'm sure others here have compared progressive scan players also.

    It's a bit more trouble than a standalone, but I feel that it's definately worth it. And, although you don't plan on it now, you might one day want to have a jukebox full of mp3's connected to your theater system...or surf the web on a 100" screen...or record HD content to your hard drive...

    Good luck!
     
  6. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    Hmmm... My jukebox is my iPod!

    David, what's your planned HTPC? I was doing some research this evening and feel that I'm getting a better understanding of what's needed (I'm pretty comfortable mucking around in computer guts, so it's more a matter of meshing my HT knowledge with my PC knowledge!).
     
  7. David Hicks

    David Hicks Stunt Coordinator

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    I pieced together a pretty good solution for less than $800. It's an AMD 1800+, Dragon+ motherboard, 100Gig drive, 256MG memory, Radeon AIW 7500. Now, I just need to make a decision on some DVD player software. Unfortunately, the two I've narrowed it down to won't let you download and try before buying...but, I'm leaning towards the TheaterTek.
     
  8. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    That sounds like a nice system David. What sort of case are you going with?
     

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