I've had HTPC's in customer's homes for around 8 years now. For them, its just another source that they control with their Harmony remote or tablet. As a computer only user for audio/video since 1990, I've never really understood some of the "cons" of HTPC's. I have 5 kids and my home HTPC is used daily for gaming, movies, TV, internet, e-mail, accounting, etc. It is a multi-function computer that works flawlessly for audio and video. I recently had a Yamaha CX-A5100 in my system for some testing I was doing. The family hated how "complicated" it was and how easy it was to have the wrong input selected or wrong mixing/upmixing of audio selected. There are way too many user controllable features from the remote or front controls that are hidden and automatic in the HTPC. It was interesting to see a different perspective on processor vs HTPC when the users have only ever had an HTPC.
There was some discussion a while back about e-Shift and sharpness of the desktop on an HTPC. I have a 4K monitor in addition to my RS500. One issue is that Windows (even Windows 10) does not scale the desktop properly to 4K (when maintaining the same visual size of text, icons, etc. as 1080p) and will lead to blurriness. However, if one uses Word 2016 and show the same text output at 1080p and then uses Word to scale 200% and show the text at 2160p, it will always be sharper using e-Shift and 2160p. This makes the text the same apparent size on the screen. It is pretty easy to see the improvement by using 2160p and e-Shift. At the JVC training I attended last month, JVC's Jeff Marks also emphasized the improvement in sharpness with e-Shift when using 4K source material.
With 1080p Blu-ray content, I've always preferred to send 1080p to my RS500 and use e-Shift. With madshi's new NGU (Next Generation Upscaling) algorithm, my preference has finally changed based on my initial observations. I spent several hours yesterday going through a bunch of my 1080p content and prefer madVR upscaling it to 2160p and output 2160p to my RS500. I agree with others and madshi that NGU really is a great improvement.
High Impact AV
- ISF Level II Video Calibrator, THX-HAA Level III Audio Designer/Calibrator
- Colorimetry Research CR-250 Spectroradiometer & CR-100 Colorimeter
- Murideo Fresco SIX-G/SIX-A Generator/Analyzer (HDMI 2.x, HDR, UHD)
- ACO Pacific and Earthworks Class 1 microphones