Hello All - After having a Window 7 Media Center Computer and 2-Xbox 360's as extenders for 4 years now I have finally decided to upgrade my PC to an HTPC in my main entertainment room.
My computer is an old Dell Inspiron 530 with an Intel dual core 2.2 GHz processor, 4 GB RAM, running Windows 7-32 bit.
Currently that room consists of my 42" Panasonic Viera Plasma, Xbox 360 HDMI out to the TV and optical out to my 5.1 receiver.
I have converted my massive DVD collection to .mpg files using AnyDVD/VideoRedo TV Plus, most with 5.1 audio.
On my Win7 MC computer I record HD television throught my set top box using the Hauppauge HDPVR1212.
Once I set up my HTPC I may buy a blu-ray player and dabble with that.
My questions are these:
1) I need to purchase a suitable video card with HDMI out for this system. Currently the motherboard has integrated video out and the system uses about 50-80% resources when I am watching HDTV from my Hauppauge capture device. I can't have this when running as an HTPC because the Hauppauge HDPVR doesn't "like it" when the system is taxed like that. It's ok currently because only 10-20% resources are used when recording / sending out to Xbox 360 extender only. So I need a card that will handle this instead of the computer's CPU handling it. From what I've read on this forum I'm thinking an HD6450 card would handle this gracefully. When I look online I find different manufacturers for this model number. Which one do I want? Sapphire, Radeon, etc.?!?
Here's one that I found:
2) I also have a question about Dolby Digital 5.1 Currently I have an optical cable going to my receiver for this. In this new setup can I just connect the HDMI out from my computer to the receiver HMDI IN and then the HDMI video out from my receiver to the TV? I think I'll still get Dolby Digital 5.1 this way?
3) One final question. With Windows Media Center I have some .mkv's I've made with burned in subs and Dolby Digital 5.1 passthrough. They play fine on the Xbox 360 extender but I get no audio when watching on my PC. I have read on this forum that I can convert them with DVRMS toolbox, which I have done, but these don't play. I found that I had to use "mencode" which as far as I can tell recoded them into MPEG DVRMS files. I found that by running these through VideoRedo TV Suite that they now play, but with some quality loss. Is there a more direct approach to this? Perhaps a CODEC pack that will play these .mkv's with Dolby Digital 5.1? I currently have Divx drivers installed which allows these to be played properly when extended to the Xbox 360.
Cheers and thanks for your time,