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post #61 of 1982 Old 10-12-2009, 04:21 PM
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no idea. I have HDMI receivers on all my HDTV's so I dont need anything except TrueHD or DTS-MA.
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post #62 of 1982 Old 10-12-2009, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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You have A/V receivers that support Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD in all your rooms?

Scott R
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I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.
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post #63 of 1982 Old 10-12-2009, 04:37 PM
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Yes all 7 of em....

Sean
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post #64 of 1982 Old 10-13-2009, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I started to follow the instructions of installing Ubuntu minimal, but found the partition settings confusing so now I'm thinking about going with a full-on Ubuntu Desktop install (hoping that the partitioning portion of that will be easier). Plus, I figure it might be nice to have a Linux GUI available so that I can, when needed, have easier GUI tools for managing files, text editors, etc.

But it seems like most of the folks in the XBMC Live/Linux forums are pushing these minimal installs. Will running XBMC on top of the Ubuntu desktop steal away precious RAM that will negatively impact playing 1080p content, etc.? Are there other pros/cons I should consider?

Scott R
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I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.
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post #65 of 1982 Old 10-13-2009, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

I like the lower price and promise of "works out of the box" of the WDTV Live, but I do have an affinity for XBMC, and the UI on my Revo would match up with the other, older XBoxes around the house (for potentially easier usability by my wife and daughter).

I am in a similar boat. I like the cost/plug-n-play of the WDTV Live, but don't want to give up the ease-of-use/flexibility of XBMC.
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post #66 of 1982 Old 10-13-2009, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

I started to follow the instructions of installing Ubuntu minimal, but found the partition settings confusing so now I'm thinking about going with a full-on Ubuntu Desktop install (hoping that the partitioning portion of that will be easier). Plus, I figure it might be nice to have a Linux GUI available so that I can, when needed, have easier GUI tools for managing files, text editors, etc.

But it seems like most of the folks in the XBMC Live/Linux forums are pushing these minimal installs. Will running XBMC on top of the Ubuntu desktop steal away precious RAM that will negatively impact playing 1080p content, etc.? Are there other pros/cons I should consider?

When I used Ubuntu a couple of months ago it only used about 200mb of ram. How much does the minimal install use?
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post #67 of 1982 Old 10-13-2009, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

I started to follow the instructions of installing Ubuntu minimal, but found the partition settings confusing so now I'm thinking about going with a full-on Ubuntu Desktop install (hoping that the partitioning portion of that will be easier). Plus, I figure it might be nice to have a Linux GUI available so that I can, when needed, have easier GUI tools for managing files, text editors, etc.

But it seems like most of the folks in the XBMC Live/Linux forums are pushing these minimal installs. Will running XBMC on top of the Ubuntu desktop steal away precious RAM that will negatively impact playing 1080p content, etc.? Are there other pros/cons I should consider?

Did you see this thread?
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1180056

The poster is using XBMC with a Ubuntu 9.04 install. He has a ASRock 330 netbox and looks like he is having good luck with it running 1080p video.
(The youtube video he added seems very impressive.)

Revo Ion...XBMC For Windows...Dharma RC2
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post #68 of 1982 Old 10-13-2009, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kneedragger View Post

When I used Ubuntu a couple of months ago it only used about 200mb of ram. How much does the minimal install use?

I'm going to post over at the xbmc.org forums to see if I can find out more pros/cons of the Ubuntu minimal vs Ubuntu Desktop install. But it did occur to me that these Linux GUI desktops run "on top" of the GUI-less OS, right? And I believe that you can set things up so that XBMC comes up automatically (before/instead of the desktop), so I would think that the Desktop install shouldn't hurt performance. But what do I know?

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post #69 of 1982 Old 10-13-2009, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I installed Ubuntu Desktop. The install went smoothly. During setup, it got to a partitioning step where it detected that I had Windows installed and gave me the option of installing Ubuntu side-by-side with my existing OS. So I went with that option.

After the install was done, I rebooted and Ubuntu Desktop started up. Right away it informed me that there were several patches available, so I told it to install them. That's when the happiness ended. It informed me that I only had about 170MB free and I'd need to free up about 200MB to install the patches. Being that this was a fresh install, I didn't have anything to free up.

So then I searched around for some manner of a file explorer, and confirmed that my C: (ACER) and D: (DATA) drives were still there and still reporting at 67GB. So it looks like Ubuntu's setup must have stole some space (and very little of it) off of the restore partition (which was only about 16GB) and didn't allocate any extra space for itself.

Ugh. Now how do I remedy this? What I wanted it to do was to install itself onto that D: (DATA) partition, which is 67GB.

Scott R
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I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.
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post #70 of 1982 Old 10-14-2009, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, so I decided to run the Ubuntu Desktop install from my DVD-R disc again. When it got to the partitioning step, it reported that my disk was currently configured as follows:

- Windows Vista (loader) (/dev/sda1) - 14.6GB - ntfs
- Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (/dev/sda2) - 67.2GB - ntfs
- /dev/sda3 - 64.7GB - ntfs
- Ubuntu 9.04 (9.04) (/dev/sda5) - 2.3GB - ext3
- Swap (/dev/sda6) - 172.5MB - swap

*Note that what is reported as Windows Vista (loader) appears to be an Acer disk repair/recovery partition. Despite being referred to as "Vista", I would assume that this would only restore my hard drive back to the original Windows XP config.

So it looks like it did repartition my D: (DATA) drive, but it only took the minimum amount of space it needed to install Ubuntu (not even allowing enough space for patches).

At this point I chose the Manual mode, deleted the last three partitions, and created three new partitions as follows:
1: 6GB - ext3 - mount point: / (i.e., root)
2: 4GB - swap - no mount point
3: remainder of storage (about 58GB?) - ext3 - mount point: /storage

This was based loosely on some suggestions I saw posted in this thread:
http://blog.xbmc.org/forum/showthrea...t=54573&page=2

I'm second-guessing whether I made the root big enough. And did I need to create a /home mount point? Where will the xbmc install go, on / (root), or in /storage?

The adventure continues...

Scott R
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post #71 of 1982 Old 10-15-2009, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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In case anyone's interested in my saga, here's an update...

So I reran the Ubuntu Desktop setup and configured the partition sizes as noted in my last post. That seemed to go fine. I then decided to follow this thread for installing XBMC from the desktop:
http://www.xbmc.org/wiki/?title=HOW-...n_step-by-step

That seemed to go fine as well, but when I went to run XBMC I saw that it was running in a window, and the UI was horribly slow. Rather than research how I might go about automatically starting up this XBMC install during Ubuntu startup (prior to starting up the Ubuntu/Gnome GUI), I decided to follow this thread for installing XBMC via the terminal window:
http://xbmc.org/forum/showthread.php...815#post374815

Well, that seemed to result in some errors, though I don't remember which ones. I believe that I ran into some NVIDIA driver issues, which I still never resolved. Other things were missing as well (IR support, etc.) which I was able to fix, and I needed to also redo all of the Revo/ION-specific changes. This script also results in making XBMC start up automatically, which is what I wanted (eventually), though I'm not sure how to stop it from doing that, other than choosing to boot in a safe mode. Oh, and I also made the tweak to install the latest svn of XBMC. I'm not sure if that, the potential NVIDIA driver issue, or something else is to blame, but when I try to play a movie, the display would shrink to about 1/4th of the screen size (top left corner) and the video would stutter, freeze, green-screen, etc.

OK, so then I decided to give up on that for a while and see what the Windows version of XBMC had to offer. I booted up into XP and installed from there. That went smoothly. One problem I can't seem to fix is that it won't recognize my MCE remote control, so that sucks. But I figured before wasting time trying to fix that, let's see if it can even play my high-def content, because I was under the impression that it couldn't. Well, it can't. Lack of NVIDIA/VDPAU support in XBMC is apparently to blame. But I thought I had read somewhere that you could possibly have XBMC launch an outside player (e.g., MPC HC?). Does anyone know if you can do that, if it should work, and if so, how to do it? Without it, XBMC plays the videos with lots of stuttering, so it's unwatchable.

Meanwhile, I hadn't returned my WDTV Live, so I decided I should also try getting up to speed on Clown_BD, tsMuxeR, etc. I eventually seemed to figure out how to use tsMuxeR. Usability-wise, it's no DVDFab. But it seemed to allow me to take the main movie from one of my Blu-rays, convert the Dolby TrueHD to regular AC3 (which I did partially because I don't have a Dolby TrueHD-capable receiver yet, so I figure why waste time (yet) trying playback/decode-on-the-fly Dolby TrueHD via WDTV Live or XBMC - let's make it easy for those devices). OK, so that worked fine. My 46GB Blu-ray .iso image (which played back via WDTV Live when connected locally, but stutters across my network) was now a 17GB .ts file.

So now that I had a file that was compatible with both the WDTV Live and XBMC, I figured let's compare:

- With XBMC for Windows, it was unwatchable (stuttering), but as I said above, perhaps there's a way to get that to work via an outside video player? One thing I think I can say in XBMC for Windows' favor: I *think* that navigating around the GUI is faster than it is with XBMC Live (still slower than XBMC on my classic XBox, though).

- With WDTV Live, the .ts file plays back fine across my wired network. The chapter skip (actually, WDTV Live just does a 10 minute skip) works fine, and fast forwarding is actually watchable. It would also play the huge .iso file (no menu support), but was choppy across the network and the Dolby TrueHD track only bitstreams; no on-the-fly conversion.

- With XBMC Live (my USB stick still gets corrupted, but running a chkdsk on it from Windows seems to get it working again), it seemed to play back the .ts file just fine across my wired 100Mbps network. Woohoo. But wait...Fast forwarding sort of works, but the video looks garbled and blocky while you're doing it. Worse: using the chapter skip buttons on MCE remote seemed to stop the video (returning me to the XBMC UI).

At this point, I figured, well maybe the WDTV Live has it beat. I mean, XBMC has a much better UI, but if it can't play the high-def video/audio formats or handle chapter skipping as well as the WDTV Live, what good is a great UI? Or, maybe I should just stick with XBMC on my classic XBox and forego high-def content.

But, no, there's good news to be had...Perhaps the chapter skip button is not really mapped for use as chapter skip in MCE? If I instead press the D-Pad's right button, I get a 30 second skip. Pressing the D-Pad's up button skips 10 minutes.

The news gets better...In addition to keeping the Blu-ray .iso file around (which I already discovered wouldn't play in XBMC), I also had the directory/multi-.m2ts file folder structure of the disc. So I went in there and played the largest .m2ts file (24GB). To my amazement, the Dolby TrueHD was playing downmixed on-the-fly to stereo (or maybe regular 5.1?) thru HDMI to my LCD TV. Oh, and the subtitles were a much nicer, smoother font than what the WDTV Live had to offer. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out what button on the MCE remote would allow me to change soundtracks or turn off subtitles. Anyone?

So now there's renewed optimism about XBMC (or, at least, XBMC Live). I think my next step might be to take a risk and install XBMC Live to the hard drive. I realize that this will completely wipe out my XP partition, but it seems to me that XBMC Live (with a few tweaks as mentioned earlier in this thread) may be the best/easiest way to get XBMC working well on the Revo.

Scott R
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I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.
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post #72 of 1982 Old 10-15-2009, 03:44 PM
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I know with the Atv running XBMC using the media stream skin you go configure system -> appearance -> screen and set to whatever res you want, but have "full screen" in the description you can access your audio streams and subtitles through the menu button.

give it a try and see it you can do that with your setup.
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post #73 of 1982 Old 10-15-2009, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I figured the menu button out. I press the green button on the MCE remote while a video is playing and it comes up. Not sure how I missed that before (in some cases, it serves as going home or back, so I guess I must have not thought to try pressing it).

As for my excitement before...I may have gotten ahead of myself. I was running things through HDMI to my LCD TV before, but I just tried hooking it up to my A/V Receiver (Dolby Digital and DTS, but no Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD support) and I can't seem to get 5.1 audio working (not even for my older DVD .iso rips).

Even more interesting...I can't get it working with the WDTV Live, either.

Scott R
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I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.
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post #74 of 1982 Old 10-16-2009, 10:01 AM
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post #75 of 1982 Old 10-19-2009, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Another update...playback of my .ts file on XBMC Live and XBMC for Linux (running on Ubuntu Desktop) both have issues playing back video smoothly. It's watchable, and the audio doesn't drop out, but if you look closely there's some slight stuttering of the video every few seconds. At the XBMC forums, other users say video playback is fine, but many have advised me to upgrade the RAM to 2GB, so it's possible that the problem is that XBMC for Linux requires 2GB of RAM on this box in order to deliver perfectly smooth video playback.

I may upgrade my RAM in the near future, but before I do that, I've been experimenting with something else which may be the holy grail: XBMC for Windows.

It's a good thing that I didn't wipe out that Windows XP partition, because I'm quite optimistic about that. XBMC for Windows is not optimized for the Revo's GPU, and the developers aren't placing that as a high priority, so I initially discounted the idea of even installing XBMC for Windows. But here's the thing: you can launch external players in XBMC for Windows, and some of them *are* optimized for the Revo's GPU. The Revo actually comes bundled with PowerDVD 8 which plays my .ts file perfectly smoothly, but I'm having issues with the audio (the 5.1 track doesn't appear to be getting downmixed to stereo - instead PowerDVD seems to just be grabbing the L/R tracks and pumping them over the HDMI cable).

Another player, Media Player Classic - Home Cinema (MPC-HC), a free app, plays the video smoothly and allows me to configure the audio for stereo or 5.1.

Unfortunately, XBMC for Windows doesn't support my MCE remote out-of-the-box, so that's what I've got to get working next. Assuming I can configure it not only to work within XBMC, but also to control MPC-HC, and to shut down MPC-HC and return to XBMC, I think that this may turn out to be the recommended approach for this $200 box, with no RAM upgrade required (just the addition of a $20 MCE remote/USB IR sensor).

Scott R
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I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.
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post #76 of 1982 Old 10-19-2009, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, and I forgot to mention...apparently Best Buy is selling the $200 Revo now.

Scott R
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I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.
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post #77 of 1982 Old 10-19-2009, 01:23 PM
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seems like most people recommend allocating 512mb of ram for video. so, that only leaves 512 for the os out of 1gb. so, most people use 2gb on ion.

they have the acer at amazon too...

http://www.amazon.com/Acer-AspireRev...5983725&sr=8-1
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post #78 of 1982 Old 10-19-2009, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strafejumper View Post

new box just about ready to ship:
http://gizmodo.com/5383094/acer-aspi...+core-atom-cpu

Isn't the casing a bit too small for the dual core N330? It seems great but unrealistic to think it's not gonna burn
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post #79 of 1982 Old 10-19-2009, 05:31 PM
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Maybe try asking for some help in this thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1180056

It seems he is having good luck with his ASRock 330 with XBMC Ubuntu. He says 1080p is working great for him.

Revo Ion...XBMC For Windows...Dharma RC2
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post #80 of 1982 Old 10-20-2009, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Update:

XBMC for Windows coupled with MPC-HC is looking very good indeed. I got my IR sensor working, finally, by searching online for the proper drivers to install. I've got a Logitech remote and they have an entry in their DB for Media Center Keyboard which allows you to mimic the IR Media Center Keyboard, thereby giving you access to tons of possible key values. MPC-HC also lets you assign all of its functionality to whatever key you want. Having XBMC fire up MPC-HC is also very easy.

One thing left for me to test is hooking the Revo back up to my 5.1 Receiver (Dolby Digital and DTS support and HDMI, but no support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD). I anticipate that I should be able to have MPC-HC send the 6-channel audio over HDMI, though I don't know if it will support bitstreaming (for the A/V Receiver to decode). Not sure if that's really important, though. Meanwhile, with my LCD TV, MPC-HC will let me downmix the 6 channels to stereo, and I've confirmed that that works fine.

Using MPC-HC w/XBMC seems very seamless so far. You don't get the on-scren menu bar, position within movie, etc., but you can use the remote to skip however many minutes you want (it's configurable), change audio tracks, etc.

One problem: The default video renderer (Overlay Mixer) works great, but doesn't support subtitles. You can change the video renderer to VMR7 or VMR9 to get subtitle support, but I've found that when skipping ahead in the movie, you can get freezing. There are other sub-options which, if tweaked, might solve this. More research is needed. Personally, I could live without the subtitle support (or, perhaps just live without skipping ahead, if I needed subtitles) if absolutely necessary.

I'm trying to remember all of the steps I've followed, and expect to update my original post soon with the step-by-step instructions.

Scott R
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I'd much rather watch a great movie in B&W at 240 lines of resolution than a lousy movie in 1080p with lossless audio.
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post #81 of 1982 Old 10-20-2009, 03:44 PM
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thats cool... never really thought of hooking an external player into XBMC through windows.... Does that player support DVD Iso with menus?

only real downside to that I see at the moment is you need an HD. on 2nd thought maybe not. a minimal windows install and turning swapping off out to work on a USB Flash.

Sean
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post #82 of 1982 Old 10-20-2009, 04:42 PM
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The A110 will bitstream TrueHD, DTS-MA, DTS-HD with no issues...
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post #83 of 1982 Old 10-20-2009, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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FWIW, the base XP install appears to be less than 10GB, but I've got some junk on it right now, so I can't say right now just *how* much less than 10GB it would be once cleaned up.

MPC-HC does not support DVD .iso files, AFAIK, but XBMC's external player functionality is highly configurable, such that you can set it to use MPC-HC for files of certain types, and the internal player for other types. For example, while I've been testing this out, I've had it set to only launch MPC-HC for files with a .ts extension. The XBMC player appears to play my DVD .iso files smoothly. I was going to check to see what the CPU usage was, but I'm not sure what key on the keyboard causes that to pop up. Do you know?

Scott R
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post #84 of 1982 Old 10-20-2009, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcoptic View Post

The A110 will bitstream TrueHD, DTS-MA, DTS-HD with no issues...

Maybe so, but the A110 doesn't have a UI in the same class as XBMC. Which is kind of the point of this thread.

Scott R
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post #85 of 1982 Old 10-20-2009, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

FWIW, the base XP install appears to be less than 10GB, but I've got some junk on it right now, so I can't say right now just *how* much less than 10GB it would be once cleaned up.

MPC-HC does not support DVD .iso files, AFAIK, but XBMC's external player functionality is highly configurable, such that you can set it to use MPC-HC for files of certain types, and the internal player for other types. For example, while I've been testing this out, I've had it set to only launch MPC-HC for files with a .ts extension. The XBMC player appears to play my DVD .iso files smoothly. I was going to check to see what the CPU usage was, but I'm not sure what key on the keyboard causes that to pop up. Do you know?

Sweet you answered my next question was going to be how to you configure it to launch different players for different types....
cool, well hopefully within another month or two this will all be irrelevant when all the drivers and fixes get rolled into the next XBMC Live.....

Sean
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post #86 of 1982 Old 10-20-2009, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Sarcoptic View Post

The A110 will bitstream TrueHD, DTS-MA, DTS-HD with no issues...

With popcorn you have a 80's UI, no hability to have a browser, check emails, no XBMC experience, slow interface, don't have a fully costumised (at your will) UI and playback capabilities, no games, no rar direct playback, etc!

Popcorn is nice but is an appliance compared to ION!
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post #87 of 1982 Old 10-20-2009, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sean_w_smith View Post

Sweet you answered my next question was going to be how to you configure it to launch different players for different types....
cool, well hopefully within another month or two this will all be irrelevant when all the drivers and fixes get rolled into the next XBMC Live.....

Sean

I sean! I already posted back there that XBMC could have external players configured!

Here you can see how to do it: http://xbmc.org/wiki/?title=HOW-TO_u...media_playback

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post #88 of 1982 Old 10-20-2009, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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FYI, I updated the end of my original post with some very basic instructions/links for getting getting XBMC/MPC-HC running on the Revo. I intend to make it more noob-friendly, but for anyone anxious to get going, there you go.

Scott R
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post #89 of 1982 Old 10-21-2009, 06:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I ran into a snag last night when testing out the Revo connected to my A/V receiver via HDMI. I figured I'd test it out more this morning before posting here that things were broken, and I'm happy to report that I've got it all working. I'm also going to test this out with XBMC Linux to see if it resolves the 5.1 audio issues there as well.

Anyways, the short version is that you need to *uncheck* the "Dolby Digital (AC3) capable receiver" and "DTS capable receiver" options. I believe that these options are self-explanatory as to what they're asking, and the intention is that, if checked, XBMC should pass the bitstreamed DD/DTS soundtrack over HDMI for your receiver to decode. But that appears to be broken (or I've got some other issue somewhere that needs to be fixed) because if I check them, I get no audio at all. Note that this only pertains to content played via the XBMC's internal player which, for me, is DVD .iso files. My Blu-ray rips (.ts file, currently) is played via MPC-HC which has its own audio configuration settings.

The good news is that if I uncheck these two boxes, XBMC will decode the DD/DTS audio internally, and then pass the audio as multi-channel audio over HDMI. This means that I get 5.1 audio, but my receiver reports it as multi-channel audio (i.e., neither the Dolby Digital or DTS logos will light up on my receiver).

Again, can anyone tell me if this is better/worse than having my receiver decode the audio? And in the case of playing a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, I'm also wondering if I'm getting *better* audio by letting the Revo decode the audio and pass it over HDMI to my receiver which lacks Dolby TrueHD capability than if I was to instead choose an alternate Dolby Digital soundtrack. IOW, is it perhaps passing a higher bitrate, more lossless, soundtrack to my older receiver? If so, that's certainly OK by me.

Scott R
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post #90 of 1982 Old 10-21-2009, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

...

Again, can anyone tell me if this is better/worse than having my receiver decode the audio? And in the case of playing a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, I'm also wondering if I'm getting *better* audio by letting the Revo decode the audio and pass it over HDMI to my receiver which lacks Dolby TrueHD capability than if I was to instead choose an alternate Dolby Digital soundtrack. IOW, is it perhaps passing a higher bitrate, more lossless, soundtrack to my older receiver? If so, that's certainly OK by me.

things are a lot more complex but i will try to simplify the major points...

in theory, sending multichannel pcm will give the same audio as bitstreaming anything (old codecs or new). soon as the avr receives the bitstream data it decompresses it to raw data anyway either for use by sound processor or sending it straight to the digital to analog conversion.

in practice, there can be bugs in the decoder wherever it is (avr or player), hdmi data transmission errors, etc. it is possible for them to sound different. also, once data is decoded, it can be processed for affects or to mix in other audio streams. decoding in the player means mixing/affects can be done by the player. for example, a bd player can mix in a secondary audio stream for pip.

all hdmi receivers that handle multichannel audio must handle pcm because a lot of content comes as uncompressed streams (eg. bd disc with uncompressed audio track). therefore, the receiver must handle multichannel pcm correctly regardless of whatever else it does. nobody should own an hdmi receiver that botches multichannel lpcm.

assuming data is getting accross hdmi without errors and assuming the receiver handles multichannel pcm or bitstreaming correctly and the player or avr is decoding correctly then there should be no benefit difference between the result.

however, on windows, the default audio architecture assumes you want to mix in things like menu/system sounds or even audio from multiple apps and you want to control volume. sometimes it is not entirely clear what other things might be getting mixed in with your decoded audio.

on windows if you want to be sure that your decoded audio isn't being mucked with, there are tools that can run audio hardware in "exclusive mode". for example, slysoft has a tool called reclock.

if you bitstream data or send in "exclusive mode" that only sends raw data, you will have to use the volume control on the receiver. you won't have menu sounds.

which system is better/worse is a matter of personal preference. some people are not happy unless the lights light up on their avr. other people might say if it sounds good, it is good and they don't care how the bits got where. some people are more interested in having menu sounds, volume control, pip, etc.

decoding truehd in the player and sending as lpcm can be just as good as bitstreaming truehd to the receiver for decoding. but, it depends on if you are mixng anything with the decoded data or not. either way, using truehd is better than using an old dd or dts lossy encode.
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