HTPC Golden Age? Reducing Component Count - Page 3 - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #61 of 186 Old 07-23-2010, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
HiFiFun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 2,209
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlmaclennan View Post

Yea, except many of us have multiple TVs / projectors through out our homes. It is much less practical to get a HDMI switch or splitter as it limits multiple simultaneous viewings to one source.

A better solution is to network the entire house with Cat5 / Cat6 cable and setup a home network with a media server in one location and a HTPC and/or extender at each TV / projector. That way each viewing location can watch a different movie or show than the others.

Since most home users only want to watch a single source at a time (in the same room), the splitter is the ideal solution.
However there is a typical exception: In my other smaller media room I have a 30" 2560*1600 LG display along with a Pioneer 141 1080p plasma. Here a splitter is not optimal because of the different resolutions, so my Intel i7 computer is getting a new ATI 5750 which can drive three different displays (at different resolutions) simultaneously, along with HDMI audio.
BTW I've got cat 5e going to every room with Ethernet based HDTV tuners and network shares set up.
HiFiFun is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #62 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
HiFiFun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 2,209
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlmaclennan View Post

Welcome to 2009!

Nvidia is coming out with the Geforce GTX 460 that can bitstream. As of now there is only a gaming card available but some low power HTPC cards are in the works. But I wouldn't expect you to know that if you're still stuck in 2009...

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1262246

I know it hurts Nvidia enthusiasts when I stated I’m dropping Nvidia for ATI. Contrast this to others accused me of being five years behind. Yet you recommend waiting several more months for rumored products.
Sony taught me several times that consumer loyalty will always be punished. History also shows those who jump first become beta testers, and then go on to whine at AVS. What a miserable rut to be in?

Just because Nvidia doesn’t talk about HDMI audio does not mean there is not a large demand for HDMI audio. There is. How else is the HDMI audio to get outside of the computer? It must go through one HDMI port along with the video.

Hopefully next year you will be able to buy an HDMI audio based Nvidia card, and then post how wonderful it is. Like 2009 for the rest of us? Ironically what you criticize me for is exactly what you yourself are doing.

As Tom’s hardware pointed out, adding HDMI audio to a video card usually eliminates the need for a separate $200 audio card. That is exactly the point of this thread: reducing component count (and implied noise and power consumption). The superior 40nm ATI process does just that too.

The most important feature of my HTPC system is to allow all family members to be able to timeshift HDTV broadcasts, without paying a subscription (to be saturated with advertising).

The critical products reaching stability and maturity are:

HTPC based Intel i3 processors in source component size micro cases
ATI HDMI audio and video
Power DVD 10 Mark II 3D disc playback
Windows Media Center 7 DVR and remotes
Free HDTV broadcasts and TV guides
Ethernet based HDTV tuners
Wireless N (300mbs) and/or inexpensive Gigabit Ethernet networks
2TB drives

All are green. WMC is actually more efficient than cable and satellite as the low power computer goes to sleep while not in use. Try that (and Blu-ray or Dvd streaming playback, Internet streaming and surfing, music streaming playback) with cable or satellite!
HiFiFun is offline  
post #63 of 186 Old 07-24-2010, 11:07 AM
Senior Member
 
tlmaclennan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Garden Grove, CA
Posts: 423
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I have the Intel Core i3, but nice try!

And I pointed out that Nvidia has bitstreaming already and are releasing some lower powered HTPC centric cards soon as you seemed to think that ATI is the only one taht has bitstreaming under their belt.
tlmaclennan is offline  
post #64 of 186 Old 07-28-2010, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
HiFiFun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 2,209
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
HDMI Audio Based Computer Choices
-----------------------------------
I've built three HDMI video and multichannel systems:

The $330 Acer 3610 dual atom with Nvidia ION graphics nettop computer is small and uses low power (though the ION chip itself appears to run hot).
Really needs an external workhorse eSata drive to record 2-3 programs concurrently. Blu-ray playback requires and expensive external drive, and PowerDvd may not run optimally with the Atom (better to buy a stand-alone player - I use a nice but too-expensive Oppo). Very quiet too.

The small formed factor sized $549 Gateway SX2840 internal DVD drive can easily be swapped out for a Bly-ray drive. I turn it on its side and it looks like a regular stereo component. Must use a low profile, low power ATI video card (like the Sapphire ATI 5570) with half-height type bracket.


Only one video port is active so the 1080p output must be split ($30) for home theaters with two displays. Quiet, fast and power efficient.

For a full-sized (regular noisy and power hog) computer I've just finished installing a $150 HIS ATI 5750 connected to a 2580*1600 desktop display and a Pioneer 141 60" 1080p Plasma. The drivers are stable and everything integrates seamlessly. This card has a "Enable ITC Processing"
(Select—Enables ITC processing for HDMI displays that are capable of the feature. When movies are played in full-screen mode, the display’s processors can be used to ensure video quality)
check-box which may help make the picture quality drop-dead gorgeous.


PowerDvd 10 Ultra MK II and ATI combination looks better than the Oppo as the computation power isn't even in the same ballpark.

Compare these extremely useful and practical systems to the typical 1.5Kwatt hairdryer 115Hz gamer computer that the industry seems to be stuck on. Can't stay a teenager forever guys!
HiFiFun is offline  
post #65 of 186 Old 07-28-2010, 05:32 PM
AVS Special Member
 
pcweber111's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: In a van, down by the river.
Posts: 3,560
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)
Liked: 262
You sound like a commercial, which is ironic given the nature of your original post.
pcweber111 is offline  
post #66 of 186 Old 07-29-2010, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
HiFiFun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 2,209
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
I agree as competing manufactures must be a bit unsettled at the situation.
Maybe I didn’t make clear but I‘ve got three different media rooms in my house. One with a Panasonic 65” 3D plasma, another with a computer monitor and a Pioneer 141 plasma operating at two different resolutions and then a 120” JVC projector and LCD monitor operating at the same 1080p resolution.
My goal was to be able to stream between the three varying systems, then clearly and concisely explain the logic and reasoning behind the choices (but only if there were NO issues)!
We are at the point where most people don’t need to spend a lifetime becoming a computer geek. While computer have become a commodity item, HTPC have NOT. At least until now. This very exciting news indeed!
The integration efforts over the years between Cyberlink, Microsoft and ATI have really paid off for the consumer, as a HDMI equipped Home Theater PC makes for a superb Jack-of-All-Trades.
I’ve touched on many of the advantages, there are actually more. Make no mistake about it, High-Definition HTPC is ready for the masses. Manufactures and retailers know all about this, but are slow to accept it, as virtually every company wants to keep consumers buying into their proprietary system. (MicroSoft Windows popularity has been waning a bit, so they strike back with WMC 7).
Best Buy finally stocks a few small form-factor PCs (but still no Intel i3 and ATI HDMI based audio and video), not even the second generation stripped-down SX2850.
Hopefully these mature and largely bug free technologies will quickly become a commodity item and put an end to the endless frustration (so well documented at this forum). Rather than reading what gear to avoid I post what is (almost) guaranteed to work.
Are there bugs: yes the Nvidia ION system keeps switching to 1024 resolution whenever its HDMI connection to the display is switched out.
Then for audio I still have to manually switch between the 44,100 and 48,000 frequencies, when the software should automatically keep the sound in the native format, rather than degrading it.
HiFiFun is offline  
post #67 of 186 Old 07-29-2010, 06:58 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,099
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

We are at the point where most people don’t need to spend a lifetime becoming a computer geek.

I feel like I’ve spent a lifetime reading this thread... ...and yet, strangely enough, I can’t stop myself from coming back...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

the Nvidia ION system keeps switching to 1024 resolution whenever its HDMI connection to the display is switched out.

Yup, sounds like it’s ready for prime time.

-Suntan
Suntan is offline  
post #68 of 186 Old 07-29-2010, 06:59 AM
Senior Member
 
k2lounge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 250
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

I feel like I've spent a lifetime reading this thread... ...and yet, strangely enough, I can't stop myself from coming back...

-Suntan

ditto....

i'm still trying to figure out the point of the thread.
i feel like i should be learning something, i just haven't quite figured out what.
k2lounge is offline  
post #69 of 186 Old 07-29-2010, 07:02 AM
AVS Special Member
 
spivonious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Posts: 1,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

Then for audio I still have to manually switch between the 44,100 and 48,000 frequencies, when the software should automatically keep the sound in the native format, rather than degrading it.

Windows 7 resamples all audio to the settings defined for the playback device. Just set it at 24/192 and forget about it. You're not missing anything. 16-bit audio gets padded to 24-bit, and 44.1/48KHz audio gets some extra samples.
spivonious is offline  
post #70 of 186 Old 07-30-2010, 05:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
HiFiFun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 2,209
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Putting your head in the sand is one way to deal with the issue, I guess.

Maybe its a matter of perspective, as my experiences are probably different than yours. I approach audio and video from a purists (not Stereophile or Monster Cable) and engineer approach. The most basic principle is once a signal has been digitally sampled it must stay in that format. Otherwise the quality is degraded.

The question is can a HTPC now replace all other components? Hmmmm...
Does a stand-alone CD player resample from 44.1 to 48Khz? no

Does an PS3 or Xbox or most HTPC quietly resample the audio? Yes!

Why does Blu-ray and HDTV broadcasts look so good today? Because the 1920*1080 signal format is untouched! Here its called 1:1 pixel mapping, where each pixels remains untouched from the camera to the HDTV. This is why computer text is so clear with playback at the native rate. It is also why Best Buy does NOT payback their computer displays at the native rate - do you know why?

I realize that young people ripped to mp3, a format which was developed when storage space was expensive. That dear friends, is no longer the case. Today we have an entire generation that doesn't realize what they have been missing. That is quality. Comparable to just eating fast-food?

Even worse its difficult to unlearn bad ways. Incidentally, this ingrained attitude is the root cause why HTPC progress with HDMI audio has been so slow too. ATI is enlightened, Nvidia is not (incidentally which is American designed?)

Previous versions of Windows butchered the sound quality. Windows 7 manually allows setting the playback rate (44,48,88,96KHz) and the bit depth (16 or 24 bits) without corruption. Everyone clap!

So like why can't the software transfer any incoming format and pass it on to the HDMI output untouched? After all HDMI is designed to handle all these formats. Dah!

From my empathy, I realize a bit more patience is required to unlearn those bad ways.

Well excuse me but I gotta go grab some Taco Bell. Yummy!
HiFiFun is offline  
post #71 of 186 Old 07-30-2010, 06:15 AM
AVS Special Member
 
spivonious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Posts: 1,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Going from 16-bit to 24-bit is a matter of padding the values with zeroes.

So if 16-bit was
1111111111111111

24-bit would be
000000001111111111111111

No data is lost, therefore the audio signal is indentical to the 16-bit one.

Resampling is a little more complex, since you need to do some interpolation to get the extra samples. For 48KHz sources, choosing 96KHz or 192KHz won't make a difference, it will just double or quadruple the sources. For 44.1KHz sources, some guessing will have to be done, similar to 3:2 pulldown to get 24fps movies to 60fps.

Will there be quality differences? Technically, yes. Audibly? No. The Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem states that you need to sample at twice the rate of the highest frequency to get a perfect reconstruction. Human hearing tops out at about 20KHz. Some people have better hearing, let's say up to 24KHz. That means audio sampled at 48KHz will have all audible frequencies reconstructed on playback.

Do a blind test. I guarantee that you won't hear a difference.

pre-Vista Windows passed through the audio untouched (when played digitally). Vista and 7 had their sound engines rewritten to add some nice features but force all audio to be resampled to the chosen rate.

On the topic of MP3s, yes a poorly encoded MP3 will sound horrible on any system better than earbuds. A well-encoded MP3 is indistinguishable from the CD on my computer speakers and very very slightly compressed sounding on my home theater system. I was expecting a huge difference and ended up coming away with the belief that MP3s are more than adequate for computer playback. I'm sure the results would be different if I played back on a $20k stereo, but for my gear and my ears, there wasn't enough of a difference to warrant using up 10x the space.
spivonious is offline  
post #72 of 186 Old 08-02-2010, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
HiFiFun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 2,209
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Sound Issue #1
--------------
Windows Media Center doesn't work if the sound is not set to 48Khz and 16 bits depth
WMC gives a bogus fatal blue screen error that the drivers are not installed correctly. Such a stupid misleading error message, when it's just a simple forced compromise (brought on by an inadequate design) user setting in the sound applet.
Worse the Internet searches do not hit upon this key shortcoming (setting the user preferences "wrong"). They state to reinstall the application.

Sound Issue #2
----------------
Your receiver's surround sound processing modes require the native format, or they don't work. For example, Dolby likes 48Khz. Circle Surround II only likes 44.1Khz stereo sources.

Using Stupidity to Make a Bad Problem Worse
-------------------------------------------
Set the speakers to 5.1 then all six HDMI channels are activated even when mono or stereo sources a played. Then the receiver rightly disables many surround sound and processing features like mixing stereo bass to the subwoofer.


Solution
--------
A sound applet check-box to "keep sound in native format"
It that simple yet it takes the computer industry (10 years and counting) to solve.


The ATI HDMI audio device will show up here in the Windows 7 sound applet:


The Configure button sets the speakers and the Properties set the sample rate and number of bits. So I must manually set this crap every time I switch between music and movies! While its hard to blame anyone experience dictates starting with Realtek, a leading manufacture of lagging computer sound chips.
HiFiFun is offline  
post #73 of 186 Old 08-03-2010, 02:17 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Mr.D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 3,307
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 15
Been using HTPCs for years now (onto my fourth).

There are a few things still missing that prevent HTPCs becoming the pinnacle of AV sources.

Most if not all of the commercially available playback apps drop the ball in terms of maximizing the capabilities of an HTPC to deliver pristine video. Unfortunately ( and even more exasperating) this is usually down to the developers lack of understanding rather than the hardware itself being inherently limited.

For example , preservation of correct video levels, top quality sophisticated image processing (scaling , deinterlacing, chroma upsampling) , AV sync , audio delay , 3dlut color management , room equalization , correct handling of different video standards , custom aspect ratios. And all of this applied correctly for every AV task from BD playback , broadcast viewing , even looking at digital photos.

All these things are quite possible with an HTPC but are rarely implimented with any real desire or recognition by the major software providers.

If you look on here you'll find lots of activity from people coming from an enthusiast background trying to impliment these desirable aspects. ( which are in themselves nothing more than correct idealised ways of dealing with video)

To be honest this situation hasn't really changed in all the years that HTPCs have been possible. Its always been down to the enthusiasts to push the envelope whilst the industry devs pump woeful badly conceived apps out with no real desire to produce anything other than a basically functional experience for the end user usually bound with lots of useless bloatware features rarely of any use to anyone.

Sure they will throw buzzwords around like "Avivo" and "Purevideo" but these sort of hardware features are normally badly implimented at either the driver level or app level and are often somewhat "nebulous" as to their actual capabilities in the first place.

So the situation as I see it is that whilst the potential exists for HTPCs to be extremely high end sources , the reality is they still have a fair bit to go.

digital film janitor
Mr.D is offline  
post #74 of 186 Old 08-03-2010, 05:34 AM
AVS Special Member
 
spivonious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Posts: 1,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

Sound Issue #1
--------------
Windows Media Center doesn't work if the sound is not set to 48Khz and 16 bits depth
WMC gives a bogus fatal blue screen error that the drivers are not installed correctly. Such a stupid misleading error message, when it's just a simple forced compromise (brought on by an inadequate design) user setting in the sound applet.
Worse the Internet searches do not hit upon this key shortcoming (setting the user preferences "wrong"). They state to reinstall the application.

Can't reproduce that one here. WMC works on all of the settings I've tried.

Quote:



Sound Issue #2
----------------
Your receiver's surround sound processing modes require the native format, or they don't work. For example, Dolby likes 48Khz. Circle Surround II only likes 44.1Khz stereo sources.

My receiver can apply the processing to any source except 192KHz.

Quote:



Using Stupidity to Make a Bad Problem Worse
-------------------------------------------
Set the speakers to 5.1 then all six HDMI channels are activated even when mono or stereo sources a played. Then the receiver rightly disables many surround sound and processing features like mixing stereo bass to the subwoofer.

Not on my receiver. It does go to multi-channel in, but I don't lose any processing modes or bass management.

Quote:



Solution
--------
A sound applet check-box to "keep sound in native format"
It that simple yet it takes the computer industry (10 years and counting) to solve.

Windows 95,98,ME,2000, and XP all do this by default. As I explained above, the sound engine was rewritten in Vista so all sound gets sent through the resampler no matter what. I agree it would be nice if you could set it to passthrough, however this would disable many of the audio features in Vista/Win7 such as per-application volume controls, low latency support, and the "Play To" feature.

Quote:


The Configure button sets the speakers and the Properties set the sample rate and number of bits. So I must manually set this crap every time I switch between music and movies! While its hard to blame anyone experience dictates starting with Realtek, a leading manufacture of lagging computer sound chips.

Read my post above about resampling. It will make no audible difference if you leave it set at 24/96.
spivonious is offline  
post #75 of 186 Old 08-03-2010, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
HiFiFun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 2,209
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
The best products take a incredibly complex set of functionality and make it a easy to use: witness the success of Apple iPhone
While all the issues you state are true, the situation has improved rather dramatically!

Motherboards continue the trend of incorporating more functionality. Intel’s adding HDMI based video/audio on the same CPU die is excellent value (even if they can’t output 23.976Hz correctly). To compete, ATI’s added HDMI to its video cards. Their drivers/GPU handle interfacing to the display through this messy interface superbly, no small feat.
So ATI’s 5xxx series HDMI solution is a large step forward and is quite elegant and integrates nicely with WMC and Power Dvd 10. Power Dvd provides truly excellent picture quality and has user selectable features such as motion interpolation (and puts the free VLC player to shame. I purchased a full OEM version for $40 and installed it on my three computers).

Consumers should typically choose 16-235 video range and disable the stupidly default enabled ATI over-scan (why is my text blurry?)

I’m enthusiastically sold on HTPC from this point-on even though I may whine and be a bit cynical. I look forward to every consumer having just one open-source component to drive a receiver, speakers and HDTV. The technology is here today and ready for assembly and integration to stream video in a home network.
HiFiFun is offline  
post #76 of 186 Old 08-03-2010, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
HiFiFun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 2,209
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

Can't reproduce that one here. WMC works on all of the settings I've tried.

My receiver can apply the processing to any source except 192KHz.

Not on my receiver. It does go to multi-channel in, but I don't lose any processing modes or bass management.

Windows 95,98,ME,2000, and XP all do this by default. As I explained above, the sound engine was rewritten in Vista so all sound gets sent through the resampler no matter what. I agree it would be nice if you could set it to passthrough, however this would disable many of the audio features in Vista/Win7 such as per-application volume controls, low latency support, and the "Play To" feature.

Read my post above about resampling. It will make no audible difference if you leave it set at 24/96.

WMC does not work if the sound is set to 44.1Kz! You need to read the huge complicated tables which better receivers include stating what processing they can do for which input streams.
You do lose sound processing features on the receiver as its falsely lead to believe the incoming stereo steam is already 5.1 channels, so it can't expand into 5.1 channels, even though it should and wants to but can't. Brute force changing to a new fake format for no-good-reason, is pure stupidity. Accept it

At least we agree: "it would be nice if you could set it to passthrough". Dah!

Passthrough is the lowest latency as it involves the least processing (just copying).

Finding the best sound quality is a quest like peeling off the layers of an onion. The difference is there, it just you haven't go far enough to realize it.

Did you mean to say "Play for Sure" a technology which MS turned its back on consumers and abandoned? Just like Sony?

The is why you want a open-source HTPC and setup simple shares/disk mounts over a network to steam regardless of where you are and independent of where the movie/music is stored.
HiFiFun is offline  
post #77 of 186 Old 08-03-2010, 07:09 AM
AVS Special Member
 
spivonious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Posts: 1,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

WMC does not work if the sound is set to 44.1Kz! You need to read the huge complicated tables which better receivers include stating what processing they can do for which input streams.
You do lose sound processing features on the receiver as its falsely lead to believe the incoming stereo steam is already 5.1 channels, so it can't expand into 5.1 channels, even though it should and wants to but can't. Brute force changing to a new fake format for no-good-reason, is pure stupidity. Accept it

I did check the chart for mine, and you're right, I do lose Pro Logic when it's set to multi-in. I don't lose Audyssey or bass management though. I just leave mine at stereo since any surround sources are going to be bitstreamed anyway (which still goes through even when windows is set at stereo).

Quote:


At least we agree: "it would be nice if you could set it to passthrough". Dah!

Passthrough is the lowest latency as it involves the least processing (just copying).

You'd think so, but audio latency in XP and lower is horrendous. Ever try to do any recording with the standard Windows audio system? ASIO is popular for a reason

Quote:


Finding the best sound quality is a quest like peeling off the layers of an onion. The difference is there, it just you haven't go far enough to realize it.

There is a technical difference, and definitely an audible one between 16 and 24-bit. Going from 44.1/48 to 96 or higher is technically better, yet audibly the same. You simply cannot hear frequencies that high. Do a blind test if you don't believe me.

Quote:


Did you mean to say "Play for Sure" a technology which MS turned its back on consumers and abandoned? Just like Sony?

No, Play To. DRM in purchased audio is ridiculous, as it does nothing to prevent piracy and just frustrates consumers.

Quote:


The is why you want a open-source HTPC and setup simple shares/disk mounts over a network to steam regardless of where you are and independent of where the movie/music is stored.

I'm not sure why you'd need access to the source code for those features, but Win7 Libraries can do this for you. Just add the various places where media files are stored to the library and Windows will treat it as one folder. If your player isn't a computer, then a DLNA playback device should work for that.
spivonious is offline  
post #78 of 186 Old 08-04-2010, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
HiFiFun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 2,209
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

You'd think so, but audio latency in XP and lower is horrendous. Ever try to do any recording with the standard Windows audio system? ASIO is popular for a reason

There is a technical difference, and definitely an audible one between 16 and 24-bit. Going from 44.1/48 to 96 or higher is technically better, yet audibly the same. You simply cannot hear frequencies that high. Do a blind test if you don't believe me.

No, Play To. DRM in purchased audio is ridiculous, as it does nothing to prevent piracy and just frustrates consumers.

I'm not sure why you'd need access to the source code for those features, but Win7 Libraries can do this for you. Just add the various places where media files are stored to the library and Windows will treat it as one folder. If your player isn't a computer, then a DLNA playback device should work for that.

I say by using Xp, you should not even be in this discussion!

Linux was born because of closed proprietary software. So today it is MicroSoft's main competitor and keeps them in check.

DVRs have also been closed and proprietary component, with the difference being its now hardware (rather than software).

HTPC typically contain largely open-source software and hardware with MS software being the exception. But WMC is just an application, not a source of advertising revenue like Tivo DVRs (they are the worst example of invasion of privacy into the home I've ever witnessed, yet many intelligent people were duped).

In any event open-source components free consumers from subscriptions, leases and not paying for channels you never watch. Enter the Golden Age of HTPC.
HiFiFun is offline  
post #79 of 186 Old 08-04-2010, 07:33 AM
AVS Special Member
 
spivonious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Posts: 1,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I haven't used XP on my home machines for 4 years.

Linux is MS's main competitor? They have even less market share than Apple.

Microsoft came out with a statement last year that their number one competitor is themselves. Pirated copies of Windows have the second highest marketshare by far.

Developing software on Microsoft's platforms could not be easier. Anyone can download Visual Studio express and develop and release commercial software that takes advantage of every feature in Windows. No licensing fees, no nothing. And above average API documentation on MSDN.

Windows 7 frees me from subscriptions, leases, and not paying for channels I never watch. Nothing to do with open source (which from your usage I take it you mean "free software", which not all open source is).
spivonious is offline  
post #80 of 186 Old 08-04-2010, 10:52 AM
Senior Member
 
CSMR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 240
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

...
In return I've just succeeded in reduced my source component count to one!

Good for you! Yes, HTPCs continue to improve and become easier.
Just some points re: audio.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

I approach audio and video from a purists (not Stereophile or Monster Cable) and engineer approach. The most basic principle is once a signal has been digitally sampled it must stay in that format. Otherwise the quality is degraded.

There has to be DAC somewhere. Often these will be flexible in sample rates but there may be an optimal rate nevertheless. I take 96khz. So it may even be ideal to resample in software rather than let hardware do it. But it's moot anyway because re-sampling to a high resolution imposes no audible loss even theoretically, and good DACs are indistinguishable from perfect at any high resolution.
It's certainly better for software to use a fixed sample rate, as we've had since Vista.
Quote:
Why does Blu-ray and HDTV broadcasts look so good today?

Because the resolution is high, the compression is good, and the filming and processing are good.
Quote:
It is also why Best Buy does NOT payback their computer displays at the native rate - do you know why?

That's different because displays are low res and making them even lower res is very harmful. Displays have a dot pitch that is many times below the limit of visibility, whereas 96khz and 192khz are well above the limit of audibility.
Quote:
I realize that young people ripped to mp3, a format which was developed when storage space was expensive. That dear friends, is no longer the case. Today we have an entire generation that doesn't realize what they have been missing. That is quality. Comparable to just eating fast-food?

This is exaggerated. Good lossy compression doesn't make much of a difference if any. Upsampling and DACs don't either. Everything else does make a difference.
Quote:
Windows Media Center doesn't work if the sound is not set to 48Khz and 16 bits depth

Since Windows Vista, you set a master rate and everything is resampled into this rate. No user intervention or thought required subsequently.
CSMR is offline  
post #81 of 186 Old 08-04-2010, 11:19 AM
AVS Special Member
 
GreenEyez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,258
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 20
A good DAC desn`t make much of a difference? Rolfcopter.
GreenEyez is offline  
post #82 of 186 Old 08-04-2010, 11:42 AM
AVS Special Member
 
spivonious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Posts: 1,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenEyez View Post

A good DAC desn`t make much of a difference? Rolfcopter.

He didn't say that. He said

Quote:


...good DACs are indistinguishable from perfect at any high resolution.

and

Quote:


Good lossy compression doesn't make much of a difference if any. Upsampling and DACs don't either. Everything else does make a difference.

He's right that upgrading your speakers will make a much larger difference than upgrading the DAC. Case in point: on my computer speakers, I miserably failed a blind test between 128Kbps MP3, 128Kbps WMA, and WMA Lossless. Would adding an external DAC make any difference? Of course not.
spivonious is offline  
post #83 of 186 Old 08-04-2010, 11:52 AM
AVS Special Member
 
GreenEyez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,258
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 20
My bad, i understood that he said a good DAC won`t make any difference in any situation. Yeah, sure, your speakers + amp will be the first things that would need replacement to make a big difference if you relagated it to HTPC duties . I agree that even the best DAC won`t help a pair of plastic Logitech speakers.
GreenEyez is offline  
post #84 of 186 Old 08-05-2010, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
HiFiFun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 2,209
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSMR View Post

Good for you! Yes, HTPCs continue to improve and become easier.
Just some points re: audio.

There has to be DAC somewhere. Often these will be flexible in sample rates but there may be an optimal rate nevertheless. I take 96khz. So it may even be ideal to resample in software rather than let hardware do it. But it's moot anyway because re-sampling to a high resolution imposes no audible loss even theoretically, and good DACs are indistinguishable from perfect at any high resolution.
It's certainly better for software to use a fixed sample rate, as we've had since Vista.

Because the resolution is high, the compression is good, and the filming and processing are good.

That's different because displays are low res and making them even lower res is very harmful. Displays have a dot pitch that is many times below the limit of visibility, whereas 96khz and 192khz are well above the limit of audibility.

This is exaggerated. Good lossy compression doesn't make much of a difference if any. Upsampling and DACs don't either. Everything else does make a difference.

Since Windows Vista, you set a master rate and everything is resampled into this rate. No user intervention or thought required subsequently.

Wow! I find the skewing here as if the post were from the industry. I don't have the time to refute everything. Mathematically changing from 44.1 to 48KHz is quite difficult.

LCD monitors only look clear and sharp when set to their native or recommend resolution. Best Buy TVs and computer monitors on display are frequently fed a mediocre signal at a different resolution so consumers cannot make a valid picture quality comparison. Forgive me for assuming the obvious.

To help sell an expensive display they frequently fed it a high quality Blu-ray at the displays native resolution. Forgive me for assuming the obvious.

The same analogy holds true for audio, change its native sample rate and quality suffers. Forgive me for assuming the obvious, but now I can see where we are: lowest common denominator vs. highest common denominator

Thank you for posting. Now go home and set your 1080p TV to 720p and see if you can tell a difference.
HiFiFun is offline  
post #85 of 186 Old 08-05-2010, 04:57 AM
AVS Special Member
 
spivonious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Posts: 1,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Best Buy wants to sell the more expensive displays. Caveat emptor. And honestly, I doubt most people could see the difference between 720p and 1080p at the distances they normally watch at. Not everyone wants to sit 6 feet from a 55" screen.

Please provide an audible example of quality suffering when resampling to a higher rate than source. I don't believe you can. Mathematically there will be errors, but the human ear cannot hear the frequencies that will be disturbed. Trust me, I'm a computer scientist
spivonious is offline  
post #86 of 186 Old 08-05-2010, 08:36 AM
Senior Member
 
CSMR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 240
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiFun View Post

Now go home and set your 1080p TV to 720p and see if you can tell a difference.

You misread. Modern displays are low res, much lower than the eye can resolve. Monitors need to be about 5 times the dpi (= 25 times the pixels) or more to be indistinguishable from infinite resolution at monitor viewing distances*. Therefore downsampling to 720p has a signficant negative effect. This is not true for audio, where even old 44khz has been shown to be indistinguishable from live feed in good tests, and good modern cards typically use 96/192khz.
*Very approximate, taken from comparing screen and print dpis.
CSMR is offline  
post #87 of 186 Old 08-05-2010, 08:47 AM
Senior Member
 
CSMR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 240
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenEyez View Post

My bad, i understood that he said a good DAC won`t make any difference in any situation.

I'd be confident that the DACs you get in pro and semi-pro equipment are indistinguishable from perfect. And even some way below that, since the accuracy of modern DACs is well above 16/44, yet a 16/44 ADC-DAC loop has been found to be inaudible at least in this published test: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14195

I don't make that claim for integrated sound, which often has extremely noticeable problems. I got my hopes up when Microsoft gave some minimum specifications for the Vista logo, but evidently they failed.

(My list of the most important things to take care of is room acoustics followed by speakers and dsp.)
CSMR is offline  
post #88 of 186 Old 08-05-2010, 08:57 AM
AVS Special Member
 
spivonious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Posts: 1,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSMR View Post

I'd be confident that the DACs you get in pro and semi-pro equipment are indistinguishable from perfect. And even some way below that, since the accuracy of modern DACs is well above 16/44, yet a 16/44 ADC-DAC loop has been found to be inaudible at least in this published test: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14195

I don't make that claim for integrated sound, which often has extremely noticeable problems. I got my hopes up when Microsoft gave some minimum specifications for the Vista logo, but evidently they failed.

(My list of the most important things to take care of is room acoustics followed by speakers and dsp.)

Room acoustics before speakers? Interesting.
spivonious is offline  
post #89 of 186 Old 08-05-2010, 10:09 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Suntan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Twin Cities
Posts: 7,099
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

Room acoustics before speakers? Interesting.

I would agree, at least as long as you are comparing apples to apples. Obviously if you are looking to pit a pair of Spark-o-matic portable computer speakers against a proper set of quality speakers, the room isn't the first place you should be pointing fingers at.

However, once you get up to a point where the speakers are capable of delivering a decent response across the frequency range, I too have experienced that proper room acoustics matter more than the actual speakers themselves.


-Suntan
Suntan is offline  
post #90 of 186 Old 08-05-2010, 10:15 AM
AVS Special Member
 
spivonious's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Posts: 1,941
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Doubly interesting. I respect your opinion, Suntan, as we often post in the same threads.

I have been noticing some "flutter" (if I understand that term correctly) in my surround sound setup since upgrading to non-HTIB speakers. Could this be solved by putting some absorbent materials up on the wall behind the speakers? I don't mean to hijack this thread, so if one exists for such basic sound treatments, just point me in the right direction.
spivonious is offline  
Reply Home Theater Computers

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off