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slxrti
03-18-2006, 09:38 AM
I would like to build a HTPC, the objective is to achieve much better than average video performance (better then the oppo dv971).

Is this possible? what video card was used? Was any after market decoder
SW used?

slxrti

JuniorJBL
03-18-2006, 10:52 AM
Yes that is a fun subject.
for best performance use a late model ATI of Nvidia card with RGB out or if you use a digital screen then use the DVI. Get a Teac DVD drive (teac still makes one of the best transports around and some of that tech. makes its way into the computer products.) it will run you about $70 for the drive and about $250 for a good GPU.

With that said the next thing you should think about is getting a good RAID 5 disk subsystem (like maybe 3Ware) so it can be a DVR and also a DVD server.

If you want to get TV through the computer then get the ATI all in wonder video card. it has a HD cable tuner on it already!
;)

slxrti
03-18-2006, 11:40 AM
Yes that is a fun subject.
for best performance use a late model ATI of Nvidia card with RGB out or if you use a digital screen then use the DVI. Get a Teac DVD drive (teac still makes one of the best transports around and some of that tech. makes its way into the computer products.) it will run you about $70 for the drive and about $250 for a good GPU.

With that said the next thing you should think about is getting a good RAID 5 disk subsystem (like maybe 3Ware) so it can be a DVR and also a DVD server.

If you want to get TV through the computer then get the ATI all in wonder video card. it has a HD cable tuner on it already!
;)

I looked at a ATI, I did not notice a digital tuner.

Was there a different in video quality between a PC and a video player?

slxrti

Ian Mackenzie
03-18-2006, 12:59 PM
HI,

I thought about the route but on expert advise bought a Strong (regarded as the best in and used by the networks) dedicated Hi Def tuner/set top box.

HP already make an expensive branded media Centre with ...Dual Core 3 Gig processor, 1 gig ram 250 Gig drives and Nvidia videa card ect.

The problem is reliability with the very hi data transfer rates required for Hi Def and the fact the card still needs a lot of horsepower from the CPU delivering Hi def while burning and performing other PC functions.

With the dedicated set top box I get very reliable performance and also up to 1080 with DVI, Component while also outputs simultaniously to S video , Compositive and Optical digital audio and Coaxial AC3. I am not aware of a card that can do that and certainly not with the Video performance of the Strong box.

duaneage
03-18-2006, 04:16 PM
google "myth tv" nice linux solution

jblnut
03-19-2006, 05:26 AM
If you decide to tackle the DIY solution, do a bunch of reading first. If you're going the XP Media Center route, the best resource is thegreenbutton.com. I just built an HTPC so that I can record over the air HD. I used the 3ware RAID controller (it rocks!) and the Avermedia 180 HD tuner card. You don't really need a super high-end video card (radeon 9600 or better will do) or a high-end sound card (just get something compatible with an optical digital out).

I get about 10 HD stations here and it's really cool to be able to record HD "for free". Yeah the PC cost about 1g to build (had some spare parts to kick off the project) but at least I'm not paying over $100/month for HD cable like most of my friends.

PM me if you want any more specific suggestions...

jblnut

JuniorJBL
03-19-2006, 09:03 AM
I have yet to find a set top box that can perform as well as a properly built PC for this duty. One of the cards I would recommend would be the ATI card here: http://www.ati.com/products/radeonx1900/aiwx1900/index.html

or this one:

http://www.ati.com/products/theater550/index.html

A good PC video card can easily do 1920X1080 res which is 1080p. And the next step above that will be something like 1080p:60. All the last number is is frames per second. the 60 in this case is 60 fps. They will be trying to go higher but to do so you will need a hell of a projector/monitor that can handle 1900+ resolution and get into the 80hz refresh range. (frames per second relates directly with your refresh rate).

As far as audio I keep it the digital domain for the PC because standard sound cards do not do a very good job (M-audio does have a promising candidate) then I run the SPDIF to my proc. and it works well.
These PCs will cost you a pretty penny to do it right tho.

I am running a Athlon 64 X2 4200+ on an MSI K8N diamond plus and the reason I use an AMD is they draw about 25% less power than a Pentium D.
I have also went the quite PC route (this costs even more but it is quite) and for this "quite" stuff I use Zalman cooling products. http://www.zalmanusa.com/

If you go the Linux route hardware will still be the same but software will be a little less.

I do not work for any of these companies I just build servers and workstations for a living so as far as testing I have done quite a bit.
Also with this type of machine I have made a audio library that I can play in different locations in my house as well as video.

If cost is an issue you can look for a set top box with the ATI "All-in-Wonder Xilleon" chip in it and it will provide good performance as well. but this will be a step down from a PC that was designed to to this function.
This is my opinion and in no way does this mean I am right or wrong.
Shane;)

slxrti
03-19-2006, 03:24 PM
I have yet to find a set top box that can perform as well as a properly built PC for this duty. One of the cards I would recommend would be the ATI card here: http://www.ati.com/products/radeonx1900/aiwx1900/index.html

or this one:

http://www.ati.com/products/theater550/index.html

A good PC video card can easily do 1920X1080 res which is 1080p.
Shane;)

Is a high end video card nessarary to display
1080i. Will I notice any different in video quality between a high end card and low midrange card?

I thought most of the graphics were handled by the graphics card, so a high end main processor is not needed. What work is the processor doing?

The theater pro 550 is about ~$90, I assume I would need a video card
to work with it, is this the case?

slxrti

JuniorJBL
03-19-2006, 04:09 PM
Is a high end video card nessarary to display
1080i. Will I notice any different in video quality between a high end card and low midrange card?

I thought most of the graphics were handled by the graphics card, so a high end main processor is not needed. What work is the processor doing?

The theater pro 550 is about ~$90, I assume I would need a video card
to work with it, is this the case?

slxrti

The better the card the better the video. A lower end card will use more CPU then a good GPU. I pointed out cards with a tuner but you can forgo the tuner (add one later) and get just a good graphics card instead. The higher end card you get the less the CPU will have to work.

If you really want to build one of these boxes then do not cut corners or you will get what you paid for. That pretty much goes for anything on this site.

If you are looking average performance then the doors are wide opne. you could use a $100 video card and get away with it. One recomendation would be that you only use a newer CPU and mainboard wit PCIe graphics so if you do not like it all you have to do change out the video card. I would also put a minimum of 1Gb RAM. also do some research on the software you want to use most of it is not that good but ATI bundles a nice DVD player with thier better cards.