theoretical tendency to dislike HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 04-30-2001, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a theoretical tendency to dislike a HTPC.
A PC is a big big metallic chunk of general hardware not specialised for mpeg2 or..x data decoding. It simulates a dedicated dvd player in software helped with some gestures from (motion ...? (forgot the name) in hardware) the (Nvidia)adapter chip which is also a general purpose chip. I understand that this generalism is also it strong points, so software developers can design all kinds of software (Powerstrip, YXY) to help improve the dvdcdrom picture, which by design has a bad NTSC or PAL resolution. So you have a software generated proscan
2)I really really dislike windows because if its many crashes and bad bad memory handling. It is better with w2k but still.
3)PC dvd/CDroms are crappy mechanical resonance monsters and incomparable to the better (damped) DVD players
4) Some DVD players out there are really beautiful
5) Plug and play-ism of once setup DVD players IF and I mean IF they have a dedicated line doubler.tripler quadrupler. Not the normal build in one (more expensive models.
Why? Because I believe the better DVD players (third generation and up) have a fast development in their video DACS that PC's do not have.
So I assume that PowerDVD will loose in graphical beauty compared with a good DVD player that has the newest DACS AND a Cinematrix internal scaler or a Faroudja external one.

Or do you have dedicated hardware MPEG2 decoders in a PCI-slot, which also follow every year with better video chips?

Why theoretical for me? Because I have not seen side by side a HTPC (which I have at home) and a DVD player described as above.

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post #2 of 24 Old 04-30-2001, 11:45 AM
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"I just spent 6 hours on Saturday with a G-90 and full blown HTPC with the Radeon card. I was blown away. Let me be clear. In my opinion, this is the finest video platform available to date. It is not just superior, it is significantly superior to a Faroudja 3000. The Radeon with the ATI DVD player installed (vs. windvd) produces a remarkably more detailed picture than the Faroudja"</font>
Please read:
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http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/006575-2.html

Thanks.

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post #3 of 24 Old 04-30-2001, 12:21 PM
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It really is pretty black and white, you can put up with Windows idiosyncrasies and instability, or you can accept second rate video performance. The same $1000 or so that the HTPC costs can't begin to close the gap between standard quality video components and HTPC output. Alternatively you can spend 10X to 30X the cost of the HTPC and get almost as good a result as HTPC, but without Windows. However, if you think operating a complicated high-end A/V system is a lot easier than Windows, you've never owned one. I owned such a system years ago, consisting of a CRT projector, satellite receiver, monoblock tube amps, etc. I now use a HTPC, a digital projector, and a medium priced A/V receiver - overall about equal time devoted to management, but more time tweeking Windows - from the couch. I probably spent as much time tweeking the projector (on a stepladder) and the audio gear (in an equipment closet sweltering from 50 or so vacuum tubes). I count myself better off.

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post #4 of 24 Old 04-30-2001, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Gary McCoy:
It really is pretty black and white, you can put up with Windows idiosyncrasies and instability, or you can accept second rate video performance. The same $1000 or so that the HTPC costs can't begin to close the gap between standard quality video components and HTPC output Gary </font>
You do not explain. Why? why is the general purpose Pc so much better than a dedicated dvdplayer except for the scaling?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"I just spent 6 hours on Saturday with a G-90 and full blown HTPC with the Radeon card. I was blown away. Let me be clear. In my opinion, this is the finest video platform available to date. It is not just superior, it is significantly superior to a Faroudja 3000. The Radeon with the ATI DVD player installed (vs. windvd) produces a remarkably more detailed picture than the Faroudja"
</font>
The G-90 is the secret with good input.I am sure the G-90 would have blown you away too with a (sub)top dvd player and a good scaler. Again I would have liked the explanation WHY would the radeon and a software (!) DVD player be better than a dedicated hardware solution of the better players PLUS dedicated (external) scaler?

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post #5 of 24 Old 04-30-2001, 04:22 PM
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In addition to scaling the DVD image to the exact "sweet spot" for each individual projector, the HTPC gives you beautiful artifact-free progressive playback, because the software DVD player algorithyms for line doubling and the video-card scaling engines are far more advanced than the hardware routines in standalone DVD players. A standalone DVD player will have a fixed line-doubled output which the projector may scale again before display, adding scaling artifacts - don't discount the very real quality difference.

In addition to the better video performance, there is much recent history of new DVD features such as seamless branching and enhanced region encoding which have caused all kinds of havoc for both hardware and software DVD players. In the case of a hardware player, you ship it to the vendor and wait weeks and pay a fee for a firmware upgrade to fix the glitch. In the case of the software player, you go to the web and hunt for other people's experiences on how to work around the glitch on the troublesome DVD. Later that year you download a player update that removes the need for the workaround - meanwhile your theater has remained operational and you've enjoyed the troublesome disk via the workaround.

I sense that you are reluctant to pay the real price in PC overhead to enjoy the best performance in your theater. I share your distaste for Windows, I work in the computer industry and have experience with real operating systems which display real stability - Windows is not in the same class. I wouldn't put up with it if I didn't see a real and not insignificant difference. The only case where I reccomend standalone video equipment is when the user is not capable of tweeking the PC for best performance. I'll give you a clue - last year I reloaded Windows from scratch 3 times. Now whenever I change any version of anything I burn a new driver CD to expedite recovery from the next time Windows balks, and the change can't be backed out.

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post #6 of 24 Old 04-30-2001, 08:23 PM
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Gary-
I don't think it is black and white at all. Even though I have and enjoy a HTPC many have reported they are happier using a DVD player connected to a Quadscan, the Rock, or a CI Scaler and feel the quality is equal to or better than a HTPC . These options are also much more versatile than an HTPC and allow for scaling of other video sources. I for one and suspect there could be others fell in love with the idea of an HTPC and didn't really think through how little it contributes to a HT for the amount of space and tweak/maintenance they require. Another plug and play option that others prefer is the CINEMATRIX PSM1.
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post #7 of 24 Old 05-01-2001, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Gary McCoy:
In addition to scaling the DVD image to the exact "sweet spot" for each individual projector, the HTPC gives you beautiful artifact-free progressive playback, because the software DVD player algorithyms for line doubling and the video-card scaling engines are far more advanced than the hardware routines in standalone DVD players. A standalone DVD player will have a fixed line-doubled output which the projector may scale again before display, adding scaling artifacts - don't discount the very real quality difference.

Gary
</font>
OK This I see, that is why any dvd player need an extra scaler. I have hard time to believe that an extra scaler (Cinematrix) or better is worse than the PC scaler especially if the scaler can produce to the pixel the different resolutions of the projector

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Gary McCoy:
In addition to the better video performance, there is much recent history of new DVD features such as seamless branching and enhanced region encoding which have caused all kinds of havoc for both hardware and software DVD players. In the case of a hardware player, you ship it to the vendor and wait weeks and pay a fee for a firmware upgrade to fix the glitch. In the case of the software player, you go to the web and hunt for other people's experiences on how to work around the glitch on the troublesome DVD. Later that year you download a player update that removes the need for the workaround - meanwhile your theater has remained operational and you've enjoyed the troublesome disk via the workaround.
Gary [/b]</font>
If you suggests between the lines that the video quality "an sich" (without scaling) of a software and hardware player are comparably equal, while I theoretically think that a stand alone dvd player must have better graphics because of the dedicated dacs.
Unless you didn't with the sentence:"In addition to the better video performance" Do you mean that next to scaling of the PC the Radeon or Geforce has better graphics than a stand alone?? If so WHY?
You mention workaround and update problems to compensate for recent havocs introduced by the silver disks themselves. I expect (with no proof yet) that also stand alone dvd players may have firmware upgrades on internet in the nearby future. Or I wait those weeks and in mean time watch my htpc as a fall back system, in the case the picture of the stand alone dvd player is better


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post #8 of 24 Old 05-01-2001, 07:08 AM
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With a standalone player + scaler you have unnecessary D/A conversions. The stand-alone player has a DAC to create analog 480i. The scaler must digitize this signal, run its scaling operations in the digital domain and then do another D/A conversion.

With the HTPC all decoding & scaling is done digitally on the original data from the DVD-ROM. The D/A conversion is only done once, after all other digital processing. With a card like the Radeon the digital pathway & DACs are 10 bit so have plenty of overhead for colour & gamma correction.

This is why HTPC's look better than standalone scalers.

An internal add-on scaler like the Cinematrix should be able to match the quality of an HTPC, but you won't have the same flexibility in custom timings & resolutions, or a simple upgrade path.

Cheers,
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post #9 of 24 Old 05-01-2001, 07:29 AM
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There are only 2 solutions who will give BEST results (believe me I tried almost everything).

1. PSM-1 Cinematrix
2. HTPC with Geforce / Radeon

I give my preference to the PSM-1 because it's has just an edge with detail over the HTPC and light output (both calibrated) is higher with PSM-1. And don't forget the sound, NO PC can match the sound of a standalone player.

For me it's OR the PSM-1 OR the HT-PC otherwise I won't watch a DVD.
The picture thru a Quadscan or Deuce is just to 2D, flat and dull.

HT-PC and PSM-1 are just the two only real flexible progressive scan possibilities (480P is no option for me on a G70).

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post #10 of 24 Old 05-01-2001, 07:39 AM
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Frank Doorhof:
There are only 2 solutions who will give BEST results (believe me I tried almost everything).

1. PSM-1 Cinematrix
2. HTPC with Geforce / Radeon

I give my preference to the PSM-1 because it's has just an edge with detail over the HTPC and light output (both calibrated) is higher with PSM-1. And don't forget the sound, NO PC can match the sound of a standalone player.

For me it's OR the PSM-1 OR the HT-PC otherwise I won't watch a DVD.
The picture thru a Quadscan or Deuce is just to 2D, flat and dull.

HT-PC and PSM-1 are just the two only real flexible progressive scan possibilities (480P is no option for me on a G70).

Frank
</font>
I agree with Frank's opnion. I have both machines, and they give an impeccable picture quality.
I don't experience nightmares with any of the two machines that I owned.

But the PSM-1 cannot handle video sourced materials quite well like a HTPC does.

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post #11 of 24 Old 05-01-2001, 09:29 PM
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Posted above by Frank Doorhof: "And don't forget the sound, NO PC can match the sound of a standalone player."

I am presently considering the purchase of either a standalone video processor or an HTPC. However, if PC audio is inferior and cannot somehow be elevated to the quality I now get with a standalone DVD player, computer DVD processing doesn't seem as good an option as I had thought.

I haven't seen a great deal of discussion regarding HTPC sound quality. Is it generally accepted that audio from a standalone DVD player is superior to that of an HTPC? Can HTPC audio be improved by routing it through an external processor (Lexicon, Proceed, etc.), just as a standalone player's audio/video can be improved with external processing? A bit more elaboration on HTPC audio issues would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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[This message has been edited by Tom Hilton (edited 05-02-2001).]

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post #12 of 24 Old 05-01-2001, 09:56 PM
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I don't understand the issue with audio. One should pass it through the HTPC sound card digitally to a high quality reciever and set of speakers.

Ideally if one has PC-phobia, they should install the video application in a startup file as a full screen application so they don't have to deal with what to do.

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post #13 of 24 Old 05-01-2001, 10:58 PM
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I have to second Ken's analysis with regard to audio. The PC should
pass the digital stream to an A/V processor - which is basically
a computer.

I also have to second Dave's analysis with respect to the video
quality. When you have a chain of consumer components, DVD to scaler
to projector - they are interfaced with analog signals. Each interface
necessitates a digital to analog conversion in the upstream component,
followed by an analog to digital conversion in the downstream component.
The conversions are not true inverses of each other - resulting in
signal degradation.

There is nothing inherently inferior with software decoding. Much of
the hardware that implements algorithms such as MPEG decoding are
really micro-coded anyway. The "hardware" has a program that it follows.

As long as the proper mathematical operations are carried out in the
requisite time - it doesn't matter whether it is a dedicated circuit
or a more general computer following a program.

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post #14 of 24 Old 05-01-2001, 11:57 PM
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Here you can see some photo's from the TAW rock website... The TAW scaler is at heart a GeForce equipped HTPC with mods to make it a dedicated scaler...

I think you should be able to see the difference compared to Quad (a good budget scaler).. Remember that a well configured Radion HTPC should beat the rocks abilities...

Basically as others are saying its the digital to analogue conversion (and vice versa in a component setup)... eg In components theres the D/A in DVD player... Then A/D in scaler.. scaling... then D/A from scaler that causes problems in the signal... A HTPC must only get Mpeg stream... scale the original digital source (much easier ??)... D/A out..

Re Sound... If using a 2496 Audiophile soundcard you can tell the difference between this and a 'regular' DVD player you have a more revealing sound system than I (not hard though !!) Also if that's not enough the Delta 1010 apparently is enough for one of our members (a audio magazine reviewer) to claim...
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
I'm very happy with M-Audio 1010,and feel the two channel sound from this unit beats anything I've heard in digital reproduction under $10,000, and have happily sold my high end DACS and transport. Am waiting for true ambience recovery and then my EAD Theatermaster Signature will be up for sale.
</font>
A Delta 1010 can be had for +_ $500 !!!!

Like it or not a HTPC is the only way many people can afford the performance they want...

If you are speaking without a/b testing a HTPC you really have to see what they are capable of (without bias or assumptions) with your own eyes and ears

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post #15 of 24 Old 05-02-2001, 01:06 AM
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I was biased the other way arround, I was a TOTAL (READ TOTAL) HT-PC freak, and in my opinion NOTHING could be better.

With this perspective I tested the first PSM-1, with the opinion that if it was 10-15% worse than my HT-PC we had a good product for 90% of our customers. In my opinion the PSM-1 is 10-15% better than a HT=PC, believe me I was surprised. (I have to agree on the video material).

Soundwise, think JITTER !!!!
A HT-PC is one source of interferance, I have tested some pretty wild soundcards, from SB to 96/24 cards. And I have to agree there is a BIG BIG difference between a SB and for example a Terratec (Terratec wins big time) but both cannot handle the high-end sound of a GOOD standalone player like the new Toshiba range (500-900) or even the Sony 7700.

Just try to listen to a standard DVD, and try to focus on dynamics and very small details.

It's like the always ongoing discussion DIGITAL=DIGITAL so I don't (wan't) to hear a difference.

For example I connected a dejitter filter (DRAGON 5.1) between my HT-PC and my pre-amp and my sound jumped 20-30% forward (sounding better), real audio lovers will NOT choose a HT-PC.
The normal vieuwers (and maybe even the criticial picture FIRST buyers) will find the HT-PC ok.

Again, understand me correctly the HT-PC is a very GOOD solution, but it also has some dislikes, especially audio.

Just my opinion.

Frank
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post #16 of 24 Old 05-02-2001, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I understand,correct me if am wrong, that the cinematrix bypasses the stand alone dvd's Digital to analogue conversion by picking up the signals BEFORE that happens, then scale the picture in the digital domain and then, I don't know. Does it give the "proscanned" picture back to the DA converter of the player itself or does it has its own (high-end )dac? In both cases however the above discussed sequential conversion loss with stand alone players and scalers does not actually happen, does it?

I did not discuss the sound of internal PC DVD/CDroms. they equal a Mitshubisi all in one stereo set for 200 dollar,...at their best when the input is a CD- or DVDrom. The PC is a resonance device by nature and a horrible one too. Never ever designed to be dampened in any way, because for an office machine it is not necessary at all. Mechanical resonance introduce jitter (see Frank's posting) to the signal stream (also for video)and rob the signal of its true natural fidelity . That is why the old vinyl is still the reference for over 15.000 $ CD machines like MArk Levinson or Jadis. However I also know 95 % of the people do not actually know this and unconsciously has accepted the hifi boom boom sound of the PC as an acceptable reference. And no, a digital connection from your Sound Blaster to a dedicated A/V receiver will not help remove the jitter. You can compare what jitter does do to audio as what the tracking and phase wizard of Dilard so successfully removes from the picture on the screen: a difficult to identify lack of tranquility, a distortion to peace and natural flow. the result is a billion of little conflicts interwoven just under the appearance of the observed.
http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif Ky

[This message has been edited by kyrill (edited 05-02-2001).]

[This message has been edited by kyrill (edited 05-02-2001).]

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post #17 of 24 Old 05-02-2001, 03:22 AM
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The PSM-1 gets the signal STRAIGHT from the MPEG2 stream, and after that the PSM-1 outputs it analog (digital in PSM-2).
So it uses it's own DAC.

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post #18 of 24 Old 05-02-2001, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
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If the Cinematrix uses its own DAC and bypasses the DAC of the player completely, then how much is left to the player itself to contribute to the visual quality of the picture, except the level of jitter introduced by the mechanical parts of the player?
Or in other words how much relevance is there to search for a good player when you put a Cinematrix in it, if a good player for a cinematrix is ANY good mechanical player?

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post #19 of 24 Old 05-02-2001, 11:19 AM
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It's all in the mechanical state AND the Mpeg II decoder.

For example the new toshiba line uses the newest VADIS IV PLUS MPEG decoder, this is a very good one with a nice picture.

The 7700 for example uses a Mpeg2 decoder which has an red upsampling problem and the much talked about black scanlines on some animated feature films.

The Mpeg2 decoder is the most important for our board, the better than one is, the better the results, at this moment I'm totaly stunned with the pictures from the Toshiba. We are still working on some final settings, and than you can judge for yourself.

Greetings from Holland,
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post #20 of 24 Old 05-02-2001, 12:38 PM
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Kyrill
I think your dislike for dvd-rom drives is unfounded. Some of the best and most exspensive stand alone dvd players use the same drives (meridian 8xx player). As long as you don't use the analog output there's nothing that a dvd-rom drive can do to degrade sound or video quality. Jitter is not an issue with the drive because the data is buffered in memory and then clocked by the sound card. So in a HTPC audioquality is almost completly dependent on the sound card (and video quality depends on your graphics card). The problem arises when digital get's converted to analog, if your sound card does this inside your pc (noisy RF environment) it can degrade the sound quality. The m-audio delta 1010 does the da conversion outside the computer in a seperate box with seperat power supply giving much better results.
Also you seem to dislike the idea of a software decoder for mpeg2. I actually prefer a software solution. Let me explain, there are quite a number of (hardware)players wich suffer from the chroma upsampling bug resulting in blocky reds and some other weird artefacts. Now one software player (powerdvd) has this bug as well, but you can easily replace this with windvd at a cost of $50. If you have a hardware player your stuck with this bug, there's nothing you can do about it.

So to sum up, audio in HTPC's might be inferior but it's not because of the dvd-rom drives, and software decoding definately is a good thing.

Frank Terpstra

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post #21 of 24 Old 05-02-2001, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok Frank (Doorhof)
I did not think of the mpeg2 decoder. So the better player will play their roles as input for the Cinematrix

Ok Frank (Terpstra)
It is a pity then that high end audio cdplayers has to cost so much if a relatively simple pc by holding the stream in memory can get rid of the jitter. I suppose it is necessary that the digital output of the soundcard has to be clocked as well to the external dac?
Secondly only the eye can tell the difference between a software mpeg2 decoder and a good hardware one which is directly connected to the Cinematrix and so bypassing an DA--&gt;AD extra conversion. In have learned that bypassing this extra conversion is a must for stand alone DVD players in order to compete to a HTPC
I will have this possibility thanks to Frank Doorhof and post my findings
Ky

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post #22 of 24 Old 05-03-2001, 03:12 AM
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"It is a pity then that high end audio cdplayers has to cost so much if a relatively simple pc by holding the stream in memory can get rid of the jitter. I suppose it is necessary that the digital output of the soundcard has to be clocked as well to the external dac?"

Yes and that's a new opportunity for jitter http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif but it won't be coming from the drive at least.

Let your own eyes (and ears) be your judge, i only talk about the theoreticall arguments here because i've never personally done a comparison between a HTPC and stand alone player.
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post #23 of 24 Old 05-04-2001, 12:21 AM
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Ok, in a nutshell ;-)UPDATE, this players WILL work with PSM-1

Sony 7700
Onkyo DV-S535
Panasonic DV-A360
Sony 9000
Sony 715
Sony 725
Rotel RDV 985
Sampoo DVD 360

&

De Nokia D-Box

In research

Toshiba SD-500
Toshiba SD-900

ITC is a official certified installer for the Cinematrix progressive scan-update. Without any doubt the biggest invention since DVD !!
We can fit the boards in almost every DVD-player available (except some Philips models) and give you an unlimited ammount of flexibility for managing your picture from 720P, 960P, 1024P and even 1200P for both PAL and NTSC. But it can also handle flexibel resolutions like the specific HDTV modes for for example the Sony VPL-VW10HT or any other Digital display.

All in one board Fl 1499,00 EU 685.00

Shipping costs for customers are for their own costs.


Why do YOU want one ?
Untill now the HT-PC was the best solution for DVD, with the best picture.
This modification will give you, more than any PC can give :
Sharper images, more vivid colours, way more contrast (deep blacks and stunning whites).

Who would have to get one ?
This modification can not be missed by people who use some kind of projector/tv/monitor which gives you the option to connect a PC, in other words which have a S-VGA input. For example :

ALL DATA projectors
Most CRT projectors
Some direct view television sets
ALL computer monitors

What can the mod do more than scale to ???x??? ?
It can scale to EVERYNATIVE resolution so even to the Sony VPL-VW10HT HDTV mode !!!
It can upscale non anamorhic DVD's to Anamorpic, BUT ALSO BACK so Anamorphic to NON anamorphic.
It has four sharpness, and anti A enhancments for bad DVD's, adjustable for both horizontal and vertical !

IT'S SIMPLE THE BEST MODIFICATION FOR YOUR HOMETHEATER AT A STEAL PRICE ?
SO WHY WAIT ?

MORE INFO ON CINEMATRIX PSM 1

Progressive Scan Module
Overview

Cinematrix PSM 1 is an upgrade module that offers progressive scan video output for any existing digital source. The output resolution can be individually programmed and customized to match exactly the optimal rate of the video projection display.
In addition, any other video parameter can be adjusted to optimize existing displays.
Preprogrammed settings can be chosen and switched by the customer.

PSM 1 can be integrated into DVD players, Digital Sat Receivers and Digital VCRs.

Because of its versatile design, it can be used with any manufacturer and unit type.
PSM 1´s input will be connected directly to the MPEG decoder output. Therefore it uses solely the MPEG decrompression of the DVD player. There is no filtering, D/A conversion, buffering, video encoding etc. in the signal path to the PMS 1 board. The signal format will always stay digital. There is no loss on bandwidth and picture noise caused by the D/A and A/D Conversation.

Input Formats
The Cinematrix PSM 1 allows the use of the following digital input formats:

8 bit
16 bit
CCIR 601
CCIR 656
YUV 444
RGB

NTSC as well as PAL formats will be detected.

Output Formats
Available output formats are:

RGB Syn on Green
RGB Syn Composite
RGB Syn H/V
YUV

The signal will be transported by 5 gold plated BNC connectors, which will be added to the backpanel of the unit. All other existing features incl. standard outputs won't be touched and will keep their original function.

Output Resolution
The Cinematrix PSM 1 can control 8 different resolution memory settings, which can be preprogrammed individually to match the customer´s needs. Resolution starts with 480p and goes up to 1200p as maximum resolution.
Between these borders, any (!!!) resolution can be programmed. Therefore any digital display can be addressed in its native (!!!) resolution and internal scaling processors can be bypassed.
To offer any resolution, the PSM 1 has a free programmable PLL Processor onboard. This processor can create any clock rate to match the correct timing on the output.

In order to address problems involving specific projectors (such as Sony VWL 10 HT that can not use their entire panel width with RGB input signals), PSM 1 offers custom synchronization setups. For example, Sony VWL 10 HT can only use its full width with 720p or 1080i (HDTV standards) input signals. Those signals are generated by PSM 1.

Picture Parameters
In order to achieve optimal performance between source and display it is also possible to use a picture parameter interface which is integrated in PSM 1. The following parameters can be adjusted:

Contrast
Brigthness
Y Black Level
Hue sinus and cosinus
Sharpness
Sharpness can be controlled individually for vertical and horizontal resolution. This individual adjustment allows the customer to use the sharpness correction very carefully in order to match the needs of the connected display.
Vector calculation
Using a real sophisticated arithmetical process, PSM 1 calculates different vector values between any incoming fields and frames. It compares the calculated values and detects if ithe source material was produced on film, video or as computer graphics. This effects the internal videoprocessing modes in order to get the best results on the different formats.
This calculation will be done 60 times per second. PSM 1 does not use the information bit on DVDs, because it is very frequently not correctly recorded and can change during the run of a movie. These changes will also be detected 60 times per second and always switch the videoprocessing to the correct mode.
Advanced film mode
Because of the PSM 1's vector calculator there is an automatic 3 / 2 pulldown if film mode is detected. This process improves the 60 Hz output of any NTSC source which was recorded as 24 frames per second film mode.
Picture stabilization
PSM 1 features a detection of still frame pictures, detecting by vector calculation if the picture is moving or not. Thus, any incoming digital jitter, noise or other distortions are automatically removed in order to create an absolutely clean image.
MPEG Artifacts reduction
Highly integrated digital videoprocessing reduces artifacts caused by MPEG decompression. These artifacts can only be detected by digital processing right after the MPEG decoder. The reduction is active before any scaling process is started.
Anamorphic modes
As a standard feature, PSM 1 will output in the aspect ratio as recorded.
AGAM ( Arithmetic Generated Anamorphic Mode )
16:9 non anamorphic to 16:9 anamorphic

Cinematrix PSM 1 offers features to handle and improve anmorphic formats. AGAM (Arithmetic Generated Anamorphic Mode ) allows converting non-anamorphic sources (standard format ) to anamorphic format.

PSM will select only the active picture area of a non-anamorphic movie and strech these formats using the entire vertical height of the 4:3 ratio and fill them up with 33% additional lines. The vertical output rate will be exactly the same, however, the movie can now be displayed as anamorphic and benefit from the improved vertical raster to all CRT front- or rearprojectors and Direct TVs without changing the horizontal deflection rate. There is no need for a new convergence setup and the display won't be driven so hard. The projector can benefit from its built-in anamorphic mode with any software, even non-anamorphic recorded movies, without switching to a higher horizontal frequency. This is especially useful with products like Barco 708Vision, Seleco 400, RCF 6200 that can handle only 31.5 kHz.

There are additional benefits available like conversion from:

16:9 anamorphic to 21:9 anamorphic

If the active area of a movie is only 21:9, PSM 1 can also convert an existing anamorphic signal to 21:9 anamorphic. The output signal will strech again from 21:9 to 16:9 to achive 33% more vertical resolution. In that mode, the PSM again selects only the active area of the 21:9 movie, which has an anamorphic 16:9 format, and strechts this information to 4:3 vertical height, resulting in a real 21:9 anamorphic picture. In this mode we don't use black bars on top and bottom. Instead, only the active lines of the source are used for filling the entire picture area.

21:9 non anamorphic to 21:9 anamorphic

As the highest anamorphic conversion, PSM 1 offers 21:9 non-anamorphic to anamorphic aspect ratio. In that mode, the popular movie DVD "Titanic" can be shown with 77% higher vertical resolution.

16:9 anamorphic to 4:3 anamorphic

This mode improves the display quality of DLP, LCD, D-ILA, Plasma, etc. units. Normally, the user has to switch to 4:3 output in the DVD player setup in order to match the correct format of a digital 4:3 display. If there is an anamorphic movie chosen, the player will lose 25% of the line information, because of its 16:9 to 4:3 converting process. PSM 1 will still keep the complete 16:9 format information with all the lines and will add black bars on top an bottom to create the correct geometry. Therefore it is not nessecary to downscale the picture in the player and upscale it later in the projector.

Customer adjustments
Customers can adjust the following parameters:

Picture Stabilization Detection for still frame picture
4 Sharpness settings
4 Anamorphic modes
8 Output resolutions

Adjustments can be controlled by:

DIP Switches on the backpanel
Original Remote Control or additional RC, depending on the unit
RS 232 command

Future Upgrades:
The Cinematrix PSM 1 is prepared with several sockets for these additional upgrades:

Frame Conversion
This add-on board will convert the vertical frequency from 50 Hz (PAL) or 60 Hz (NTSC) up to 120 Hz in order to get less flicker on CRT Projectors.
DVI Output
This upgrade offers digital video output adhering standard DVI specifications. The user can connect the DVD output directly to existing DVI inputs on digital displays.
AVPC (Automatic Video Parameter Correction)
As a standard, all PSM upgrades feature a communications port on the backpanel to communicate with the Cinematrix Picture analyzer CPA 1. This analyzer will be fixed in front of the customer´s display screen. The CPA 1 will measure testpatterns created by the PSM 1 (inside of the DVD player). The complete setup works absolute automatically.
There will be 256 brightness values (gray scale) sent to the screen. The analyzer makes measurments, sends the data to the PSM, the PSM will correct the gray scale and make a new measurement until a temperature of 6500 K is exactly matched. This procedure is repeated with all 256 IRE values, resulting in a perfect matching with any monitor, TV set, projector, etc. All values will be stored and used for playback through the progressive scan output. If the user buys a new TV, the procedure has to be repeated.

Frank Doorhof is offline  
post #24 of 24 Old 05-06-2001, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Frank Doorhof:

For example I connected a dejitter filter (DRAGON 5.1) between my HT-PC and my pre-amp and my sound jumped 20-30% forward (sounding better), real audio lovers will NOT choose a HT-PC.
The normal vieuwers (and maybe even the criticial picture FIRST buyers) will find the HT-PC ok.
.
.
.
Again, understand me correctly the HT-PC is a very GOOD solution, but it also has some dislikes, especially audio.

Just my opinion.

Frank
</font>
Well, lets see...

I can buy a Sony 7700 ($600), ship it somewhere (where?), and void the warranty to get the PSM1 installed for how much? ~$650US + shipping, handling etc?

Or I can buy a HTPC ($1200-$2000) and Dragon 5.1 ($600 MSRP)...and generally get better sound and video...but with more hassle.

Unless of course, you're telling me that a Sony 7700+PSM1 will sound better than a HTPC run through a Dragon...at which point you'll have to explain to me what advantage a $600 dejitter box has if a consumer grade DVD player produces a better digital signal...

The offset of the hassle is that in 3 months, I'm not throwing away my $600 player+PSM1 to improve on the MPEG decoding but getting a new rev of some software player for $10-$50. Or I'm improving my picture quality by dumping my $100 GeForce MX for a $100 Radeon.

So even if a 7700 and a PSM1 looks "10-15%" better today, in 3-6 months it's unlikely to be true. You'll have to forgive me if I take a vendor's improvement claims with a grain of salt...

I think that "real audio lovers" aren't listening to 2ch audio on a consumer grade DVD player anyway or there wouldn't be a market for high end players...and for movies there's a limit to how good DD5.1 will sound regardless of the gear you push it through.

Nigel

PS A review for the S7700+PSM1 found on Home Theater HiFi

The $4000 Camelot came out on top...even in picture quality. Why, that's even $1000 cheaper than the Theatris... http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif. The whole article is worth reading...but here is the excerpt on the PSM1:

----

Sony DVP-S7700 with Cinematrix PSM-1 add-on

The Cinematrix add-on for DVD players is a nifty idea in concept. It is an add-on board that can in theory be installed on any DVD player, and completely replaces the output stage of the player with a de-interlacer plus scaler that can scale the output to almost any resolution you could desire. And since the de-interlacing and scaling are done in the digital domain, there is no loss to extra D/A and A/D steps, as there is with an external de-interlacer. We found the execution to still have some hiccups.

First off, the player they most often attach the mod to is the Sony S7700, which has the chroma upsampling problem. With the Cinematrix installed, the chroma problem is more noticeable, which is not the Cinematrix’s fault, but still, the artifact is there. Strangely, like the other Sony player we looked at (the S9000ES), the chroma problem disappears when you pause or go into slow motion mode on the player. But in play mode you can clearly see the streaks in the red areas on "Toy Story".

We would recommend that people get the mod done to a Sony S7000, which does not have the chroma bug, or a decent quality Panasonic player, as the Panasonics we looked at did not have the problem. Since the Cinematrix replaces everything in the signal chain after the MPEG decoder, all you really are using from the host player is the transport, navigation firmware, and the MPEG decoder. The entire video output stage is handled by the Cinematrix.

When we looked at the resolution patterns in 480p mode, the loss of resolution was severe. It looked as though the Cinematrix was perhaps reducing the 720x480 frame to something like 640x480. For this reason, we can’t recommend this mod for 480p output. However, most people get the mod to attach to a high-resolution projector, so we switched it into 720p mode, and the resolution patterns got better. It wasn't perfect, as there was a significant amount of moiré in the pattern, and there was still a significant amount of ringing, but the image was significantly smoother than in 480p mode.

The settings on the unit are controlled by a combination of dip switches and special codes entered through the remote, which had poor and convoluted documentation. We were eventually able to get the player into 720p mode and turn off all the sharpness “enhancements,†but it took some time. Once you’ve gotten the unit into the mode you want, you will probably just leave it alone, but be prepared for some frustration while you get everything set up.

The outputs on the Cinematrix were well above 100 IRE, which would not be a huge problem with most CRT projectors, which have a fairly high tolerance for voltage overshoot, but for the VW10HT projector we were using for our tests, and for a few video processors and de-interlacers, voltages over 100 IRE cause clipping of the whites. We were unable to fix this problem with the contrast controls on the 10HT; we just couldn’t get back most of the white detail. We tried it on a CRT, and it was able to handle the hot whites just fine. Still, it shows lack of attention to detail that the output was not using the correct voltages.

The de-interlacing on the Cinematrix was not the worst we saw, but wasn’t the best. It appears to be a cadence-reading solution. What isn’t shown in the table is that it combed on many different films in places we weren’t looking for combing. It recovers quickly, as you see in the Mixed Mode and Chapter Stops test, but it combed in places no other player combed. If you are sensitive to de-interlacing artifacts, this may not be a good choice.

We still like the idea of the Cinematrix, and we hope that the next revision gets better. A huge improvement would be to use the Silicon Image (DVDO) chip instead of whatever one they are using. If they switched to a Silicon Image chip, fixed the 480p output, and put it on a player that doesn’t have the chroma problem, it would probably give the Camelot a run for its money.

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Closed Thread Digital Hi-End Projectors - $3,000+ USD MSRP

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