HTPC Noob, I could really use some help - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 06-01-2013, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been using a WDTV for years, but found it's limitations when trying to move files or stream with them over the network. So I wanted to try a HTPC on my main TV that could play video and stream to the WDTV's in other locations.

Trying to build a HTPC on a budget, I bought a refurbished Optiplex with 3ghz dual core and 4g of ram from Dell. It came with an ATI Radion 3450. Should be enough since it's dedicated to video?

I'm going to replace the video card to get hdmi with audio out. But first I hooked up the computer to the TV with a DVI to HDMI converter for testing and I can't get it to look good at all.

First, I have an old Panasonic Plasma with a native resolution of 1366x768. That resolution is not offered in the settings on the PC and all other settings give me a 1" black bar around the perimeter of the screen. Even 720 and 1080 settings do not scale correctly. They're not distorted, but don't fill the screen.

Second, the picture is bad. Compared to the same file output on a WDTV, the PC looks dark and very fuzzy.

Can any of the experts here give me some advice? Thanks.
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post #2 of 22 Old 06-01-2013, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I'm going to just pickup a better video card and see if that fixes the problem.
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post #3 of 22 Old 06-01-2013, 01:03 PM
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Get a cheap HD6450, this will support HD video and audio on the HDMI connection.

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post #4 of 22 Old 06-01-2013, 01:18 PM
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$25

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102933

Or the "better" one, $30

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121439


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Did you really need to quote that entire post in your reply?
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post #5 of 22 Old 06-01-2013, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
First, I have an old Panasonic Plasma with a native resolution of 1366x768. That resolution is not offered in the settings on the PC

 

Your TV may not support this resolution through HDMI. If your TV has a VGA port, check the manual to see what resolutions it supports through it. 1360x768 will be the right resolution for your TV.

 

What is the model # of your TV? I never seen a 720p plasma with 1366x768 resolution, they are usually 1024x768 with rectangular pixels.

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post #6 of 22 Old 06-01-2013, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mrkazador View Post

Your TV may not support this resolution through HDMI. If your TV has a VGA port, check the manual to see what resolutions it supports through it. 1360x768 will be the right resolution for your TV.

What is the model # of your TV? I never seen a 720p plasma with 1366x768 resolution, they are usually 1024x768 with rectangular pixels.

Yes I know that, but I've tried every resolution possible from the computer and every single one gets scaled by the television to look the same way, one inch bars around the perimeter.
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post #7 of 22 Old 06-01-2013, 04:13 PM
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Have you checked the ati control panel for any over scan options?
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post #8 of 22 Old 06-01-2013, 04:36 PM
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Intel's looks like this:

 

And the model number of your TV would be REALLY helpful.

wink.gif


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post #9 of 22 Old 06-01-2013, 04:44 PM
 
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Try turning off all of the "picture enhancement" options that ATi has enabled by default.
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post #10 of 22 Old 06-01-2013, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrkazador View Post

Your TV may not support this resolution through HDMI. If your TV has a VGA port, check the manual to see what resolutions it supports through it. 1360x768 will be the right resolution for your TV.

What is the model # of your TV? I never seen a 720p plasma with 1366x768 resolution, they are usually 1024x768 with rectangular pixels.

There were quite a few actually. Panasonic and Vizio both made them.

Looky here!
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post #11 of 22 Old 06-26-2013, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, bump please. I'm stumped. I bought the Asus Radeon 6450 and I just can't get this to work and can't figure out the clues. I got the aspect/overscan to work properly but video is very choppy.

I first had an Optiplex 760 with a 3ghz dual core. It will play compressed files with the audio set to analog, but struggles terribly with high bitrate files. As soon as I switch the audio output to HDMI, everything stutters badly, even highly compressed files, with about a tick of audio and a video jump maybe once every 2/3 second. I notice that the main processor shows very high usage while playing. Tried to download newest drivers but trying to install would blue screen Windows.

After further experimentation, I realized that I could not get into the BIOS if any digital video output was used (HDMI or DVI) and that included the Asus card and the original Radeon 3450 video card. Trying to enter BIOS gives the error "Vesa function 0x4f02 returne AX = 34f". I hooked up a VGA monitor, got into the bios and disabled the onboard video with no change when I re-plugged the HDMI.

I began to suspect the computer and requested an RMA and purchased an Optiplex 380, similar machine a couple small generations newer, faster bus speed, different chipset, DDR3 instead of DDR2.. Drivers installed properly but all the same above problems persist.

I've tried this two ways, I've loaded a fresh load of Windows 7 on the hard drive with nothing but necessary drivers and XBMC. I've also loaded XBMCbuntu on a bootable USB drive. I've also tried multiple HDMI cables and I've tried going into my receiver and direct into the TV. Problems are same regardless. With the new 380 I can get into the bios if I hook up my Dell computer monitor via HDMI, but the choppy video persists.

I've read many threads here of people using these successfully for HTPC's. These act as if they're not performing any GPU acceleration but I don't know how to tell. Device manager says the vid card is working properly with the correct drivers.

I'm stumped and frustrated. Any ideas as to what is going on here?
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post #12 of 22 Old 06-26-2013, 09:18 PM
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Did you install the latest GPU drivers from AMD website? Are you using video decoders that support dxva? Have you tried out mpc-hc?
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post #13 of 22 Old 06-27-2013, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrypt View Post

Okay, bump please. I'm stumped. I bought the Asus Radeon 6450 and I just can't get this to work and can't figure out the clues. I got the aspect/overscan to work properly but video is very choppy.

I first had an Optiplex 760 with a 3ghz dual core. It will play compressed files with the audio set to analog, but struggles terribly with high bitrate files. As soon as I switch the audio output to HDMI, everything stutters badly, even highly compressed files, with about a tick of audio and a video jump maybe once every 2/3 second. I notice that the main processor shows very high usage while playing. Tried to download newest drivers but trying to install would blue screen Windows.

After further experimentation, I realized that I could not get into the BIOS if any digital video output was used (HDMI or DVI) and that included the Asus card and the original Radeon 3450 video card. Trying to enter BIOS gives the error "Vesa function 0x4f02 returne AX = 34f". I hooked up a VGA monitor, got into the bios and disabled the onboard video with no change when I re-plugged the HDMI.

I began to suspect the computer and requested an RMA and purchased an Optiplex 380, similar machine a couple small generations newer, faster bus speed, different chipset, DDR3 instead of DDR2.. Drivers installed properly but all the same above problems persist.

I've tried this two ways, I've loaded a fresh load of Windows 7 on the hard drive with nothing but necessary drivers and XBMC. I've also loaded XBMCbuntu on a bootable USB drive. I've also tried multiple HDMI cables and I've tried going into my receiver and direct into the TV. Problems are same regardless. With the new 380 I can get into the bios if I hook up my Dell computer monitor via HDMI, but the choppy video persists.

I've read many threads here of people using these successfully for HTPC's. These act as if they're not performing any GPU acceleration but I don't know how to tell. Device manager says the vid card is working properly with the correct drivers.

I'm stumped and frustrated. Any ideas as to what is going on here?

Try changing the audio output in your media player to the WASAPI output instead of the system default.

Looky here!
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post #14 of 22 Old 06-27-2013, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions, I'll try them all tonight.

I got the latest drivers. I know that XBMC has a tick in the settings for dxva so I think I'm using that, but I don't know how to confirm. I could easily try a lighter player like mpc-hc, that might give some more clues.

I'm a bit stuck on the fact that I can't get into the BIOS using the digital vid output and get that strange error message. A bunch of internet searching revealed little about that error. It's apparently not common.

[EDIT] Also, if not obvious, that error message shows when i hit F2 to try to enter the BIOS. It does not show when connected to my Dell monitor, in which case it enters the BIOS properly with no error.
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post #15 of 22 Old 06-27-2013, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, still no success.

I checked everything, no change.

Then I installed mpc-hc. Strangely it plays some large BD files that choked XBMC, but it struggled with sync on some smaller compressed files. Most importantly though, it seemed to pass only PCM to the receiver. It would not pass Dolby or DTS from files that I know work fine with my WDTV.

I think I'm going to cry uncle with this video card and try another unless someone has a suggestion of what else to try. I suspect there may be something wrong either with the card, or with the compatibility.
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post #16 of 22 Old 06-27-2013, 07:41 PM
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I think its a problem with the video decoders you are using, not the card. You have to setup mpc-hc to bitstream Dolby Digital and DTS.

Follow this guide, this will setup mpc hc properly.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1357375/advanced-mpc-hc-setup-guide
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post #17 of 22 Old 06-29-2013, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, well here's the update just in case the solution might help someone else. There is definitely something strange going on with the Radeon 6450 card and the Dell computer because I still can't get into the BIOS when using a digital connection and I still get the error that says video card has a compatibility problem. I bought a Geforce card and it gets no errors and goes into the bios just fine, but it had the same playback problems.

Turns out the solution was not the computer, but the receiver. There is a setting in the HDMI menu that passes through the TV data to the computer. I finally figured it out when I noticed stereo as the only option in the sound settings in control panel. Once I set the receiver not to pass through the HDMI settings everything immediately worked.

I suppose I was telling the computer to bitstream digital, but because the receiver was passing through to the TV, they weren't talking to each other. That was enough to judder the computer playback badly.

Thanks for the help, this one took me a LONG time to figure out.
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post #18 of 22 Old 06-29-2013, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrypt View Post
 
 But first I hooked up the computer to the TV with a DVI to HDMI converter for testing and I can't get it to look good at all.
 

I hope your final configuration is computer -(HDMI)> receiver -(HDMI)> TV.

You should not be "passing TV data to the computer."


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post #19 of 22 Old 04-30-2014, 02:47 PM
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Hi, I have the same setup and issue. Dell optiplex 760 and Asus HD5450 and cannot enter the bios when using a digital connection. I see above you found a solution but I do not understand what you mean. Can you explain further please?
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post #20 of 22 Old 04-30-2014, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I did not solve that particular problem. This computer will not go enter the bios when connected computer>receiver>TV or compter>TV via HDMI. If I need to get into the bios, I have to temporarily connect via a different video connection or plug in a Dell monitor.

I am willing to live with this small limitation because I was able to get everything else to work properly. Seems the BIOS problem was unrelated to the video/audio problems once all the clues and solutions were sorted out.
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post #21 of 22 Old 04-30-2014, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by simpoldotnet View Post

Hi, I have the same setup and issue. Dell optiplex 760 and Asus HD5450 and cannot enter the bios when using a digital connection. I see above you found a solution but I do not understand what you mean. Can you explain further please?

Is there an option in the BIOS to set primary video to PCI-E instead of the onboard video?

Looky here!
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post #22 of 22 Old 05-04-2014, 02:44 AM
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There is an option in the BIOS to disable inboard graphics but that doesn't solve the problem. I'll just live with it. Typo earlier it's a 6450

Thanks guys.
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