Affordable SCALER outperforms my HTPC - Page 4 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #91 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 02:27 PM
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Did I escalate this?:)

I agree with Dave and GE on this that at this point it is probably moot on either side. More cost and Plug and Play on the scaler side with less cost and more hassle on the HTPC side. Incidently, I run a HTPC for DVD playback (on the few occasions I watch DVDs). To run my STB into the PC would cost money on top of the HTPC cost. To me, the new scalers coming on the market will make for some interesting comparisons between HTPC and I would be hard pressed to believe they could keep up. So Phil may be correct for right now about his image right now, but maybe not in the near future. As for price, DVDO scalers are less than $2k retail. I would think that the upcoming VP40 will street for under this price. So, I repeat that I would like to see the results of a well set up comparison between the new scalers and a top of the line HTPC. I still think Chuchuf is the best to do this (if he has the desire) since I doubt anyone here can get a better pic than an Andrew/Terry HTPC/CRT. I am pretty sure Mark will be doing plenty of comparisons, but I am not sure if he will compare to a HTPC. For me, the big wildcard for HTPC is what Clarence and MP have noted about better performance with higher resolution.

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post #92 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Person99
...In fact, your PQ after Vern tweaked it was the thing that was really pushing me toward the HTPC...
The stuff Vern changed was in effort to fix the blue screen problem. He checked my DVD playback related settings, but I don't think he changed any of those. Because of previous help form Charles (Prometheusbound) and others with TT2, I already had PQ pretty much dialed in. My current improvements are due to getting Reclock to work and using better noise and sharpen filters. Limited Sharpen (just switched to it last night) is an improvement over dScaler sharpen, which was an improvement over ffdshow sharpen.

You're welcome to check out my HTPC any time. Just let me know when.

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post #93 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 03:07 PM
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So let me ask a semi-tangential question. Will any of the newer, better scalers eliminate the need for Moome's card (or equivilant box)?

I have an older HTPC, and am upping it to TT 2.2 and a 6600GT. Thats about as far as I'll probably go with the PC, cause I'm still stuck with buying a Moome card or transcoder of some sort to get HD DirecTV, Dish or Cox cable to my PJ.

Will a scaler input whatever's out there and output it to RGBHV for my PJ, or am I still screwed if the MPAA down-rezzes HD over analog?

I don't want to copy it, just Tivo and rewatch it.

I love my PQ with my PC. Mike Parker did his mods to the PJ and Radeon, and I can do the above upgrades for less than $140. To go more to use ffdshow, we're talking enough extra money that I could pay for 1/2 the cost of the newest DVDO by saving the money on upgrades and selling my HTPC. The ease of use with better PQ (than what I have now...not than Terry's) may be worth $1000 to me...especially if I can recour $200 more by selling the Moome card.

I'm an ER doc, trying to keep up with you guys (failing miserably), and if I just worked the hours I spent figuring this out and setting up a better HTPC, I would be better off $$-wise buying even a $3000 scaler. BTW - I don't make that much, I just spend huge blocks of time the forum and fixing the PC).

For now the plan is set up TT 2.2 with a 6600GT and live with it for maybe a year and get Moome's card for thr HD Tivo...By then maybe even a HQV scaler would be out

Thanks,

Jeff

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post #94 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 03:29 PM
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Jeff, a Lumagen scaler HDP/HDPpro will do what you need. $1500/$2500

Edit: Jeff, I might have misread your post, are you asking if a Scaler will accept an HDCP signal and send it out analog in HD??? If so, the Lumagen will not do that. No scaler will.

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post #95 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Smith
So let me ask a semi-tangential question. Will any of the newer, better scalers eliminate the need for Moome's card (or equivilant box)?

. . . .
Nope!!!

Moome's card allows us to receive a DVI signal on our Analog devices. It is not a scaler.

Moonjong's card / box scales (I believe).

The Scalers and Video Processors are REALLY strict about HDCP encoding and following the rules there. HDCP keys are very expensive and these small companies cannot afford to lose their license for the keys. Also, I am not aware of any scaler / video processor that will allow you to take an HDCP encoded High Definition (720p, 1080i) signal and output it on component - at ANY resolution.

EDIT: In looking at Lumagen's website, they say their products "provide multiple SD/HD analog, SDI, and DVI+HDCP inputs combined with DVI/analog outputs."

Blu-Ray and HD-DVD get even stricter and worse. Boo, Hiss!!!

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post #96 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 03:46 PM
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Dragan, your hoping on a pipedream~! Your betting on spending $1700 so you don't have to fiddle with that black box with all sorts of screens and settings called Windows. All youre doing is guessing with no concrete facts. Just theory's hatched up over coffee at the donut cart in the main hall *grin*
Tom Rosback obviously has experienced the HTPC a year or more ago. I bet a million dollars he wasn't comparing HTPC's lately with Theater Tek 2.11 and nVidia Forceware :) Neener neener

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post #97 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Smith
I'm an ER doc, trying to keep up with you guys (failing miserably)...
Jeff,

Your sig states, "9500LC with Mike Parker mods". I wouldn't mind a little failure like that. :D

With a Moome's card you should be set for HDTV. Your HDTV receiver will do the scaling. HDCP is another matter. I haven't run into that problem yet, so I don't worry about it. Maybe I should?

With a Moome's card, will your 9500 still have an RGBVH input? If so, use DVI for HDTV input and RGBVH for your HTPC input. Switch your PJ to the proper input with your remote.

You guys are missing or ignoring the gist of Jeff's post. Money is an issue. He can upgrade his HTPC and buy a DVI input card for much less than the cost of a scaler that will accomplish the same thing.

Phil Smith
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post #98 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GEBrown
Also, I am not aware of any scaler / video processor that will allow you to take an HDCP encoded High Definition (720p, 1080i) signal and output it on component - at ANY resolution.
True, just as an interesting aside, there was a bug in one version of the Lumagen software that forgot to shut off the analog output when the input digital signal was HDCP. That was fixed very quickly!

Dave
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post #99 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 04:01 PM
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Ericglo,

actually the info you have is incorrect. the Rock plus scaler was $5000 plus $800 more for SDI option when new.

the Rock Pro scaler with SDI $8300 msrp

The least expensive units were the DVDO HD Plus and Lumagen. I still have all of them and can say that a well built HTPC will give a picture as good if not better when tweaked properly.

I have never had a problem with my HTPC's picture and performance after the initial set-up that did take some time.

As far as for the MP moded ATI 9800XT-RGBHV VIDEO enhancement mod ITS AWESOME for CRT user's .

I like my HTPC but I really enjoy the plug and play of a scaler.

"He who dies with the most toys wins". unless its home theater we die broke!!! Let The Games Begin
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post #100 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Smith
You guys are missing or ignoring the gist of Jeff's post. Money is an issue. He can upgrade his HTPC and buy a DVI input card for much less than the cost of a scaler that will accomplish the same thing.
No, I agree with you. There are a couple threads going on in this one. One of them is a general discussion of HTPC vs. Scaler. BTW, you still need the DVI card for some sources, scaler or no scaler, so it is significantly cheaper to just upgrade his HTPC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stylinlp
But for people that are computer challenged then a scaler in a box is for them.
Hmmm a scaler in a box is for me and I didn't think I was "computer challenged". I've been in software for about 20 years and I've developed commercial applications ranging from end user desktop to high performance networking on Mac OS, Windows, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, and AIX.

I don't think HTPCs are junk at all. In fact, they are a great deal if you can put up with the hassles. My time is valuable and if I have to choose between fooling with my source or watching a movie, I'm going to pick watching a movie every time. :)

Dave
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post #101 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 04:08 PM
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Close,
I don't believe I mentioned the Rock. The DVDO prices are correct as I linked to them. Also, I don't have any problems with my HTPC. There should be some interesting get togethers in the future with MP, Mark Haflich, Clarence and et al. I don't know about you, but I would like to attend some of these.

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post #102 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 04:13 PM
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Dave,
You forgot that a lot of people don't like to continue working when they come home (except maybe pornstars. "Aw, you mean I have to have sex again!:))

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post #103 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 04:17 PM
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I had a lot of problems with my HTPC at first. I turned the Hyper Threading off and have watched about 50 Dvd's scince then with zero troubles. The HTPC is always on so it takes about the same amount of time to use as my Dvd player.

PAUL

Line doubled video and DVD look great.....until you see......Real High Deffinition.....then everything else SUCKS!!!
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post #104 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 04:37 PM
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Person99, I see what your saying. My comments were directed to alot of members on this forum in general. Not you specifically :)

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post #105 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 04:42 PM
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Ericglo,

let me introduce myself. I live very close to Mike Parker and have become a personal friend of his. I have also met Clarence our moderator and a few others here at Mike's gathering. Also consider myself some-what knowledgeable in the CRT world since playing around with my first pj NEC 1135LC to my new 9501LC machine.

I have not posted a lot here in the last year because I did not agree with the way the forum was heading. Now that Clarence is moding this thing ,, things might be headed in the right direction.

as far as the DVDO you are correct.

Carlos

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post #106 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 04:54 PM
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Carlos,
I thought you had been to some of those get togethers, but I wasn't sure. I guess after CES you can hang out with Mark and get the real scoop on the new scalers.

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post #107 of 385 Old 01-03-2006, 05:02 PM
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I don't think you will regret going to TT2 and the 6600GT, TT2 is easy to use, and the new NVidia drivers allow you to set refresh rates etc. very easily to get the most out of your system.

Is it possible to have a card in your PC to get your HD feeds instead of an external box?
I know you can do that to get OTA HDTV, and some satellite HD, but dunno about the cable services.

Either way, a little external transcoder with HDCP input will be a good investment no matter what way you go in the future.
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post #108 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 12:34 AM
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Dave, are you reading my posts at all? ;) Anyway, nothing that advanced will run for a year. You don't leave a scaler on all year long, do you? And running for weeks on end without a reboot, and with no problems at all, should be enough for everybody, just like 640 k RAM should be enough for everybody at any time...

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post #109 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Budget Pete
I don't think you will regret going to TT2 and the 6600GT, TT2 is easy to use, and the new NVidia drivers allow you to set refresh rates etc. very easily to get the most out of your system..
I second that, 6600GT is awesome. I love it. I've used the VGA and DVI output port running at 1920x1080 to my ws48313 hdtv set.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Budget Pete
Is it possible to have a card in your PC to get your HD feeds instead of an external box? I know you can do that to get OTA HDTV, and some satellite HD, but dunno about the cable services.
Yep. I have a pci card that does both OTA HDTV and unencrypted QAM. QAM is for cable. The card is called Air2PC. Lately, I've been seeing threads about better QAM quality on a Dvico Fusion HDTV card(gold or lite). This is the next card that I will be adding to my mythtv htpc.
[/quote]
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post #110 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 01:11 AM
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if the scaler is purely for DVD, then why not get a Moome transcoder and a high quality upconverting player over DVI??? Could be cheaper AND better....

Ben
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post #111 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 02:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benareeno
if the scaler is purely for DVD, then why not get a Moome transcoder and a high quality upconverting player over DVI??? Could be cheaper AND better....
Custom resolutions and refresh rate conversion are two reasons that are important to me.
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post #112 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 02:16 AM
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:( i wish i could afford to buy a scaler to see what they look like, the closest ive come is an inbuilt line doubler in a Sony CRT and it looked naff!.

I run a lowly xp2200, radeon 9500pro, TT2 and a tiny bit of ffdshow processing, dvds look pretty good to me and any visitors who come round and dscaler 4.18 to scale SD TV, my HTPC components cant be worth more than $200, the coolermaster aluminium desktop case is probably worth more than the bits inside. it hasnt been shut down for months now, isnt connected to the internet either, remote wonder by ATI, programmable button A for turning dscaler on and off and the rest for TT2. anyone can use it like a normal dvd player i guess.

I would really like to see what a 'realistic' priced scaler looks like as ive never seen one. maybe someone near me up north inengland can help.
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post #113 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Smith
... I just worked the hours I spent figuring this out and setting up a better HTPC, I would be better off $$-wise buying even a $3000 scaler.
Don't forget that if you drop the HTPC and get a scaler, you'll also need to buy a new DVD player to feed that scaler. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't DVD player of the calibre that we'd want to use to feed a $2500-$3000 scaler going to cost a pretty penny as well?

Kal

P.S. I'm in the same boat as you BTW - older Radeon/TT v1 HTPC that still makes me happy but I wonder if I should get a 6600GT and TT v2. It's also too slow for ffdshow or similar filters...
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post #114 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 09:34 AM
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Wow, this thread moves fast! Thanks to those pros here for allowing a thread-in-a-thread...its still pretty coherent and focused.

Kal - I just got my TT 2.2+ all tweaked in for my system without either my 6600GT (coming in a few days) and with drivers for the Radeon that are 2-3 years old. Already the improvement is extremely notable...and this is using "overlay" not "VRM9" because the older drivers don't support it. Anyway, the point is I can't wait till I have the nVidia card with up to date drivers...it made such an improvement already and it can only get better. All this is on an old, slower PC. I don't plan on using ffdshow. I think I'll be fine with this for a long time. Highly recommended and cheap upgrade.

Phil - I meant I was failing to be as computer literate as you guys...Mike keeps my display top notch. And yes, with the Moome card I will still have an RGBHV input seperate from his. This will be for my HTPC. I'll use his for whatever sat or cable HD PVR I get.

Now, back to scalers. I understand I would have to buy a DVD player but, having searched, think a much less expensive model will do with a scaler.

I also understand that a scaler will follow the rules of HDCP. But does this mean I can't even watch protected HD unless I go through the Moome card...or does it mean I just can't copy it (which I don't care about)?

So the scaler question may be moot with Moome's card, but if I switch to a scaler I just want to know that I can use its capabilities to the fullest. I assumed that would be to run it directly into the RGBHV of the 9500 rather than Moome's card (who knows, that may not introduce any degradation at all).

You're right about the HTPC being cheaper to upgrade to, but if a scaler would cover more bases, and save me 12 hours or so of set-up hassles, phone calls, typing here, etc...and I just worked those hours at my job (which I like) then a scaler really isn't more money.

Many of you are so comfortable with PC tweaking that you consider it fun. I'm not that good (although I always feel proud when I accomplish a HTPC upgrade). The law of diminishing returns holds here, though. To go from upgrading to TT 2.2 with 6600GT...to using ffdshow would be an exponential amount of time for someone at my level. I just don't feel confident spending the money to try when twice the expenditure would save me the time and get me a scaler.

So for now, I'm waiting for mail from Moome, and waiting for "the world's best cheapest scaler" to declare itself in the next year or so.

I still love my PQ with the HTPC I have...I'm not unhappy at all. I can't even imagine how much better it must look with some of your setups!

A this dialogue really does help...even at my level.

Thanks,

Jeff

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post #115 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 09:40 AM
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Well, setting up FFDShow on a computer without any problems in the first case would take around five minutes... ;) Anyway, you should really do a full installation of a slipstreamed XP SP2, I would never trust my movie nights to a computer that has been upgraded over a couple of years, especially if the graphics card has been changed. That means full installation in my book.

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post #116 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Smith
Kal - I just got my TT 2.2+ all tweaked in for my system without either my 6600GT (coming in a few days) and with drivers for the Radeon that are 2-3 years old. Already the improvement is extremely notable...and this is using "overlay" not "VRM9" because the older drivers don't support it. Anyway, the point is I can't wait till I have the nVidia card with up to date drivers...it made such an improvement already and it can only get better. All this is on an old, slower PC. I don't plan on using ffdshow. I think I'll be fine with this for a long time. Highly recommended and cheap upgrade.
Interesting! I was under the impression that going to TT2 without an Nvidia video card wouldn't yield any improvements in picture quality. I should create a new partition on my machine and buy/install TT2 and try it out... Thanks!

Kal
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post #117 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Smith
. . . . .
I also understand that a scaler will follow the rules of HDCP. But does this mean I can't even watch protected HD unless I go through the Moome card...or does it mean I just can't copy it (which I don't care about)?

. . . .
You will not even be able to watch HD material (720p, 1080i). By definition, if it is HDCP protected, then it is coming in on a digital (DVI/HDMI) input and may not be displayed in high resolution on an analog (RGBHV or component) output. To the best of my knowledge, the rules allow for that content to be displayed at low resolutions on analog outputs, but I don't think anyone is implementing that at this time. I get the impression there are some hardware constraints.

HDCP - Boo!!! Hiss!!!

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post #118 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Smith
Wow, this thread moves fast! Thanks to those pros here for allowing a thread-in-a-thread...its still pretty coherent and focused.

I still love my PQ with the HTPC I have...I'm not unhappy at all. I can't even imagine how much better it must look with some of your setups!
I played with my PC over the holidays and got it looking schweeeeet. Now I'm trying to determine if I'm even close to what a HTPC can do.

These are mainly notes to myself, but I thought I'd list them here...

I'm really not worried about upscaling DVDs... I want my HTPC mainly for deinterlacing 1080i .ts files to 1080p. After installing the latest nvidia drivers, reclock (link), and MediaPlayerClassic (link), they look INCREDIBLE at 1920x1080@60.

But how can I tell if I'm really deinterlacing instead of just doubling? VLC has explicit deinterlacing options for Discard, Bob, Mean, Linear, etc. But MPC looks better than VLC and TT2 and ZPP to me.

I've currently using a Nvidia Quadro FX 1400 and a Nvidia Quadro FX Go1400 in my laptop (Dell Precision M70) .
NVIDIA Quadro FX Product Comparison: http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_11761.html

This chart (link) for the Quadro FX 1400 does not shows a check in the box for "Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing", which seems to be the difference between the 6600 and the 6600GT.

http://www.nvidia.com/page/purevideo.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nvidia
To fully experience NVIDIA PureVideo technology in GeForce 6 Series GPUs, the following software support is required:
- 3:2 and 2:2 pull down, MPEG-2 acceleration, and advanced de-interlacing require the NVIDIA PureVideo Decoder with Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center Edition
- VMR Scaling requires VMR9 support found in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
1) would a $124 6600GT be better for deinterlacing to 1080p than the $500-$800 Quadro FX 1400?
2) can MPC take advantage of the nvidia deinterlacing?
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post #119 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 01:07 PM
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Clarence, i think you are missing the boat by not using TT2.2 i just spent a week using the sample version and it is Night and day compared to other media players.

Id give it a spin. and see if it improves your setup.

I cried because i had no G90.... til i met a man who had only Digital.
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post #120 of 385 Old 01-04-2006, 01:51 PM
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Phil - I'll let you know when I'm going to be in Dallas next. Probably February.

Stylinlp - yes, I'm running TT2.0 and a 9500/MP-1 cards, so I have yet to experience a truly contemporary HTPC with an nVidia 6600GT card, or better. My mobo is only AGP 4x, w/1.6G Northwood CPU, so I'm going to replace it, get a faster processor, PCI-e, SATA, the works. BTW, after startup, I've never had any trouble with usability or stability. TT and the IR/Pronto interface work flawlessly for me.

I hope to have the same awesome video experience as Carlos (THECLOSER) has had!

I'm willing to take the risk because, worst case, the HTPC becomes an upgrade for our main general use PC, and I go buy a scaler.

I remain skeptical that plug in vidcard PC hardware can beat a dedicated scaler for pure analog performance. To optimize this facet, I will choose a card from a brick and mortar store, so I can compare and inspect the card for layout issues.

Is the SMPS right next to the video outputs? (It is on the 9500 I have, not good!)
Are the digital and analog grounds routed and starred for lowest possible video noise?
Are the anlog traces run in such a way as to minimize inductive and capacitive coupling from nearby digital traces? The list goes on.

If anybody has done this already, please chime in!.

The upgrade and conveinience advantages of an HTPC are so compelling, I really want this to work out.

I just haven't personally seen it, yet.
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