Originally Posted by wasserkool
I am in the process of building a new HTPC that will be connected to a Pioneer Elite plasma TV. The HTPC will have a blu-ray ROM for blu-ray movie playback.
I have a confusion that need to be cleared up. If I am buying an A/V receiver as well with the setup, lets say a Pioneer or Denon A/V receiver, I really do not need a high end soundcard since all the audio processing will be done by the receiver? I will be connecting the HTPC to the receiver via SPDIF to ensure the best quality. So as long as I get a good motherboard that has an integrated SPDIF port, then I should be fine for the audio part?
The second confusion I have is since I will be using the HTPC to do the blu-ray playback, the video card will be primarily responsible for the video processing. I will be using a ATI 4870X2 in the HTPC so I can game on it as well. Now with ATI’s AVIVO or Nvidia PureVideo, I heard the video quality exceed that of standalone Blu-ray player or A/V Receiver?
In this case, I can get rid of the A/V receiver and just get an dedicated amplifier to power the speakers and ONLY do audio processing.
Please correct me if I am wrong…
Depends which one. The UP5000 from samsung is pretty darn close to as good as you are going to get for some time with the reon chip. Alot has to do with post processing.
I have found the ATIs to have better quality personally compared to purevideo HD. This is just a preference though, and I like their control panel better.
As far as better quality, you need to realize that the card excels at HD playback, but that is not its primary designed function. As you said, it is foremost a gaming card. The right player, like the samsung mentioned, is specifically designed for this task. It should perform better.
I have an HTPC, HD-A3 and an HD805 (reon chip similar to the samsung).
I would rate them in this order for quality
HD805>HD HTPC (purple)>HD-A3.
Like most who get a high end bluray or HDDVD player, I expected amazing SD output, and it delivered. What surprised me was that the HDM also looks better. It is important to remember that even though HDM is a much higher resolution, it still could use a little help to touch things up.
It helps with Edge Enhancement, removing excess noise and such. A good example of a title where it makes a world of difference is Caddyshack. The HDM version is filled with alot of excess grain to suit my tastes. I am a believer in grain and am not one of these remove the grain or keep every grain zealots. I just want it to look good. My HD805 is able to drastically reduce most of the excess grain and still keep the image looking sharp.
It is also a fantastic de-interlacer.
But all this is not to say that my HTPC is a slouch either. It is hard to tell a difference on most titles. But there is a difference on some.
If you watch mostly newer shows, I don't think it will matter as much. If you watch alot of catalog films as I do, it can make a difference.
Of course, this will all change as time progress. The first 4-5 editions of PowerDVD were pretty weak (some still argue they are). You can say the same for Nero Showtime although the 4th version is noticeably improved IMO. They still can't rival the FFDshow filters when set up correctly.
But in the end, it just comes down to how much that extra 5-10% clarity is worth to you. I went BD with my HTPC and have no plans to pick up a player in the near future as I did with HD805 (although I got that cheap.... $899 discounted to 106.10 shipped
). I wouldn't spend the bread myself for that little of a difference, but there are some on here that would.
As far as these boycott bluray rants, I just assume that you are scorned from the HD DVD debacle or are justifying why DVD is still better. I understand. I used to be in the same boat. About 18 month ago, I was swearing off HDM like the plague and remember ranting that I wouldn't get into it until another 3-4 years when everything was set. I had the same kneejerk response when those blu devils trounced my HD DVD. But I am purple now and for the better (Although I still buy HD DVD first for sentimental reasons) Although, once you taste the forbidden fruit of HDM........