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post #1 of 26 Old 01-22-2007, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Folks,

I just bought some HTPC hardware. AMD Am2 dual core 4200, gigabyte mobo, 2 gb ram, nvdia 7300, and baracuda hd. I am not really interested waiting for Vista Sp1 - can I go with linux being a novice. I know ubuntu is good for idiots like me, but what about dvd playback? Can linux match windows media center?

Thanks,
Ketan
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-22-2007, 09:07 PM
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if you are talking regular DVDs, then yes and then some without the DRM. After you install a few codecs and css decryption, you'll be good to go with viewing, burning, what have you. With the hardware you have you are in good shape. Is there anything special you are looking to do with DVDs? If you are talking Blu-Ray and HD-DVD then you will be out of luck in Linux, at least for now.
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post #3 of 26 Old 01-23-2007, 05:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I want to play standard dvds for now, then upgrade the player to hd they resolve the dispute. I just want to do what theatertrek does on windows - upconvert and clean up the the picture
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-23-2007, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newlinux View Post

if you are talking regular DVDs, then yes and then some without the DRM. After you install a few codecs and css decryption, you'll be good to go with viewing, burning, what have you. With the hardware you have you are in good shape. .

How do the Linux DVD players and deCSS libraries handle the latest structure protections and other ArCoss-like DVD copy protections?

If the Windows based DVD decrypters like AnyDVD and DVDFAb need constant updates to handle the latest DVD protections, how can the Linux DVD players and deCSS libraries continue to play current DVD releases without updates for these protections?
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-23-2007, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

How do the Linux DVD players and deCSS libraries handle the latest structure protections and other ArCoss-like DVD copy protections?

If the Windows based DVD decrypters like AnyDVD and DVDFAb need constant updates to handle the latest DVD protections, how can the Linux DVD players and deCSS libraries continue to play current DVD releases without updates for these protections?

It's not a clean 100% linux solution but WINE/VMWARE/Crossover office and DVD Decryptor work just fine on ArCoSS.
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post #6 of 26 Old 01-23-2007, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newlinux View Post

It's not a clean 100% linux solution but WINE/VMWARE/Crossover office and DVD Decryptor work just fine on ArCoSS.

Does this mean that a recent vintage original commercial ArCoss protected DVD disc would not play from a DVD-ROM drive using the current Linux DVD software stack (libdeCSS + Linux media player of choice)?
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post #7 of 26 Old 01-23-2007, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok..I am lost now...

Thats ok- I guess. I want to upconvert dvds. Any hep here? I read on the windows htpc forums that pc's rock as dvd players. Better than $1K players...
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post #8 of 26 Old 01-23-2007, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vasanda View Post

Ok..I am lost now...

Thats ok- I guess. I want to upconvert dvds. Any hep here? I read on the windows htpc forums that pc's rock as dvd players. Better than $1K players...

Upconverting happens automatically in the video card if you don't want to do any setup at all (Just install Ubuntu, then download a program called EasyUbuntu that installs the media software with a couple of clicks). You can get even better quality though, like what you're talking about with Theatertek, if you go into a couple of setup menus and enable Xine post processing features like tvtime, unsharp mask, etc. For what it's worth, I usually don't need any extra setup to be satisfied with DVD quality from my Linux HTPC.

If you've ever installed Windows, you should be able to install Ubuntu twice as easily, and with EasyUbuntu installing the media software, you'll be set in as little as an hour total time invested. If you want to go further - free DVR functionality from MythTV, customized user interfaces, extra video processing like sharpening and denoising, then these forums are here to guide you.

Though I've never used Vista, from what I've heard video playback on it is slower than in Windows XP, even with top-of-the-line hardware, due to the DRM. So, if you choose to go with Ubuntu+EasyUbuntu, you'll have better performance with less hassle.

Edit: If you're really, really accustomed to the Windows user interface, you may want to try Kubuntu as it's a bit "shinier" than Ubuntu and more similar to Windows. Ubuntu's user interface is very natural-looking, with earth tones and smooth contours, while Kubuntu favors more glossy contours and cool colors.
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post #9 of 26 Old 01-24-2007, 05:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks nitro!

Is theatertrek available for linux?
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post #10 of 26 Old 01-24-2007, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

How do the Linux DVD players and deCSS libraries handle the latest structure protections and other ArCoss-like DVD copy protections?

If the Windows based DVD decrypters like AnyDVD and DVDFAb need constant updates to handle the latest DVD protections, how can the Linux DVD players and deCSS libraries continue to play current DVD releases without updates for these protections?
.....
Does this mean that a recent vintage original commercial ArCoss protected DVD disc would not play from a DVD-ROM drive using the current Linux DVD software stack (libdeCSS + Linux media player of choice)?

You're addressing/mixing two different aspects:
- playback
- and copy protection

Regardless of the copy protection scheme employed on a disc, playback is handled just fine by media player of chioce, mpeg2 decoder, and libdvdcss.

As for copy protection, AFAIK, ArCoss is currently not supported by any of the native Linux ripping apps (I do know that mactheripper under OS X supports it, so I would expect Linux support wouldn't be too far off). In any regards, whether your talking Windows, Linux, Mac, or whatever, the story remains the same -- new fangled copy protection schemes require that the ripping software be updated with support to handle such disc 'features'. In the case of something like ArCoss, then currently what newlinux suggested would be relevant on a linux platform. Doom9's linux forum might be a good starter point for more info ... personally, I find that too much of the discussion in that doom9 forum revolves around trying to use Windows apps under Linux rather then using existing Linux apps ... although, of course, as stated for this case (ArCoss), such discussion is currently relevant...but on a general basis, it strikes me as if there are a number of new Linux users still trying to use Windows apps (shakes head...why not just use Windows?)
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post #11 of 26 Old 01-24-2007, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vasanda View Post

Thanks nitro!

Is theatertrek available for linux?

I don't believe it is. Your easiest bet is probably Kaffeine (which uses Xine as its engine), and when you want to get into more video tweaking probably Xine itself. Some day, if you're feeling really adventurous, you can step into the command-line world and start playing with mplayer. mplayer, while not easy to use at all, can give the best quality. I'm pretty sure you'll be satisfied with Xine, though. It's what I use.
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post #12 of 26 Old 01-27-2007, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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one last question - what about SATA hard drives. From what I read its pretty tough to use them with linux?

Is this true with ubuntu?
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post #13 of 26 Old 01-27-2007, 03:18 PM
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I've got a brother whose SATA drive works fine with Ubuntu, but different controllers may be a different story. If you want to use SATA, just check to make sure that the controller in question is well supported. So, if the SATA controller is built into the motherboard, try to find out what manufacturer made the SATA chip and what model it is, then search the web for Linux compatibility info and that model name.

You probably can't go wrong with a PATA drive though, and you probably won't notice a performance difference unless you are using multiple drives (PATA master/slave pairs slow each other down).
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post #14 of 26 Old 02-05-2007, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I am having some trouble installing - I trying the noapic nolapic but it freezes on the gui. Any ideas?

Does DTS connect work on Linux?
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post #15 of 26 Old 02-07-2007, 06:25 AM
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As far as I know SATA works out of the box on any modern distribution.

DTS connect, what's that?

if you are talking about sending the raw DTS or AC3 sound over s/p-dif then yes, that works just fine, but you need to tell the player that you want to do that, the default is to downsample to stereo and output that via s/p-dif or analog depending on your general sound setup.

To output compressed audio (DTS or AC3) via s/p-dif with mplayer you just need to pass it the -ao hwac3 option.

What are you trying to do that freezes what gui?

Are you sure the entire machine freezes?

Try hitting ctrl-alt-F1, ctrl-alt-F2, ctrl-alt-F3 and so on that should allow you to switch to different virtual terminals, even during the installation, one of the screens should contain the log from the kernel and installer it might say what it's unhappy with.

Just renovated an Ampro 4200G, the Spellman just needs a 10nF on G2 and it's good to go.
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post #16 of 26 Old 02-07-2007, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Dude
DTS connectlets encode audio into DTS on the fly...
Marketing quote...
"DTS Connect is the latest thing from DTS that turns your PC into an action-packed entertainment experience that surrounds you in sound. Make your movies, music and games come alive in exciting, dynamic, multi-channel DTS Digital Surround®, the same sound format found in movie theaters. DTS Connect is a whole new way to enjoy your PC. And you thought text messaging was cool!"

My Mobo has ALC888DD and I want use it to its fullest...will linux be as effective as Windows? Its a GIGABYTE GA-M59SLI-S5

I got the freezing thing fixed..it was searching for a mouse..lol
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post #17 of 26 Old 02-07-2007, 01:53 PM
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DTS connect is sound processing which in home theater setups is generally done through your receiver. I don't see how you can get DTS connect to work on linux as it looks like it is a setting in the windows driver or control panel app.
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post #18 of 26 Old 02-07-2007, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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ok...that makes sense.
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post #19 of 26 Old 02-08-2007, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vasanda View Post

Dude
DTS connectlets encode audio into DTS on the fly...

I don't think you would ever want that, unless you have an amplifier with no separate analog inputs, but s/p-dif an input, there aren't many of those around, although I happen to have one.

DTS (like AC3 and mp3) is a lossy compressed datasteam, the only reason for using it is to store or transmit audio using less bandwidth.

If your movie has DTS or AC3 sound then you should pass that out to the amp untouched, Linux does this just fine.

If you are playing stereo sound then that will fit into s/p-dif uncompressed and you can easily configure your soundboard to do that.

If you are playing a game with multichannel audio then you will get better sound quality by using 6-8 analog cables as that doesn't alter the audio, Linux is happy to do this as well.


DTS connect is simply a way to get slightly worse sound quality with fewer cables between your computer and your amp in the third case.

Just renovated an Ampro 4200G, the Spellman just needs a 10nF on G2 and it's good to go.
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post #20 of 26 Old 02-08-2007, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I hate dolby digital...that is why I wanted it.
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post #21 of 26 Old 02-08-2007, 09:51 AM
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I can see why people might prefer DTS over AC3, but DTS connect is nothing but marketing BS.

If your movie only has AC3 then you will get the best sound quality by sending that to your amp.

If your movie has DTS then by all means use that.

To get the absolutely worst quality possible and waste a few cpu cycles you can decode AC3 then reencode it to DTS.

Just renovated an Ampro 4200G, the Spellman just needs a 10nF on G2 and it's good to go.
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post #22 of 26 Old 02-09-2007, 06:48 PM
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I don't know what you mean by BS. I think that's simply a misunderstanding of the tech. Basically, anything in stereo on your computer is processed and mixed into DTS or Dolby Digital just as a football game or live concert would be on an HDTV broadcast. Auzentech sells a couple of these. I believe there is a Turtle Beach card, and a couple of others. The cards have normal spdif outs that will feed this signal to your reciever. So, if you're playing a game that is in stereo, it will be output in whatever format you choose and that the card allows. Most do 7.1 dolby and dts formats. The cards also output 7.1 channels to PC speakers or to the manual inputs on a reciever. You can also choose to not process the signal in the card's setup for certain programs. So it can be turned off if you're playing DVDs. The tech is great and really works well. I like it more than some formats like EAX. The seperation from Dolby Digital Live is easily more discreet and just places the sound better. For watching SD tv shows it is FAR superior to Pro-Logic I or II. To say its BS is to not have used it.

And as much as I've enjoyed MythTV and MEdia Portal, Vista MCE is simply greatness. I've not found playback to be any slower, and the OS is rock solid. I had never heard of thegreenbutton before, but through them I've found that MCE is just as customizable as any front end out there. The only things I think they are missing is native QAM(easy workaround) and streaming HD to other computers. They do however stream to the Xbox and Xbox 360. Vista MCE also does Sideshow, which will broadcast data to Sideshow remotes that will have lcd screens. Important because it can move the program guide, song or show info, etc to the remote itself. These are supposed to be out next month. I started my HTPC journey with MythTV, so I'm a little biased by it and use it on this computer, but Vista wasn't a hard choice for the living room HTPC. Very "Consumer friendly out of the box"
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post #23 of 26 Old 02-10-2007, 07:26 AM
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DTS connect does what it says it does, but what I'm saying is that it's typically not something you'd want.

If your source is stereo then no amount of voodoo can make it 7.1

s/p-dif can transport stereo just fine without any DTS connect degration.

Just renovated an Ampro 4200G, the Spellman just needs a 10nF on G2 and it's good to go.
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post #24 of 26 Old 02-12-2007, 11:03 PM
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These new(ish) realtime DTS/DD encoders seem to ride on and perpetuate the myth that analog is bad and digital is good. Though it's true that cheap consumer soundcards have had poor S/N ratios and other DAC problems for a long time, when presented with the choice of spending $150+ for Vista or $150 for a sound card, I would choose the sound card. With such a sound card, my S/N ratio would be as good as digital. Other than that, the only reason analog is "bad" is because Hollywood can't protect it without degrading audio quality with watermarking.

rantanamo: you mentioned that anything stereo is "processed and mixed" - evil words if you want to keep high fidelity. Chances are this processing and mixing is done with 16 bits of precision. Mixing two signals together effectively halves the dynamic range available to each signal. Any "processing" done without describing how it works is also evil if you want to know that your audio is pure. I've heard (but never verified) that the Mac has an exciter in its audio signal chain (an exciter takes existing high frequency content and distorts it to "make up" for missing higher frequency content), which might make MP3s sound better, but anything that changes the signal is bad for high fidelity audio. This "processing and mixing" of a stereo signal to 7.1 is probably best done by the receiver, unless you can see the full details of how the mixing is done to verify that it won't degrade quality. BTW: EAX is not a format - it's a method of talking to a sound card for video games.

Another benefit of analog outputs: you can use studio EQs to do room/speaker compensation (I've got several DBX 3031s (I think that's the model) that I sometimes experiment with, but since I upgraded speakers I've pulled them out).

Wow, this post is really incoherent. How does any of this help the original poster?
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post #25 of 26 Old 02-16-2007, 10:15 AM
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With analog there is no alteration of the audio, so that means that you can do all equalization in software (see brutefir) and you can even do digital room correction http://www.duffroomcorrection.com/wiki/Main_Page

With DRC you can get better room correction for free than you can with a TACT, not sure about the new Lyngdorf kit though, room knowledge sounds as if it has DRC beat, at least for now...

Just renovated an Ampro 4200G, the Spellman just needs a 10nF on G2 and it's good to go.
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post #26 of 26 Old 02-16-2007, 01:48 PM
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playing DVDs on linux: I'm using Ubuntu 6.10/edgy and Xine. It works just fine though you want to do some set up to make is act like a dvd player. I also got LIRC working with an MCE remote. Took very little head scratching though LIRC needs to be rethought to make it easy to install.

On the issue of DTS vs AC3. I think some have missed a key point - authored bit rate. A DTS track at say 128K bits will suck compared to an AC3 track at 384K. However, most of the discs I've looked at have the DTS track at a much higher bit rate than the AC3 one so it will seem significantly better.

And I agree with those that said - pass the digital on. In fact, re-encoding or transcoding to DTS could introduce artifacts. My philosophy is that the less you screw with the signal, the better it is. sure there are exceptions but in this case it ain't broke, don't fix it.
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