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WINXP HTPC: DVD (film) performance, I am done with tweaking!  

post #1 of 123
Thread Starter 
[edited 27th of June 2004]

I started this guide a looooong time ago.
XP was still looked at with suspicion when I first tried to use this OS for HTPC.
After months of hard work, first to get my XP to be stable, then to choose between several software players (PowerDVD 4XP, WinDVD 4, ATI DVD Player 7.6, Sonic Cineplayer 1.5) and then tweaking registry and choosing drivers, I lost all my configuration due to one fiddle too many (XP needed to be reinstalled, and I didn't ghost my System Files).

I thought that I could share my experience with you guys, who in turn helped me to get here. And also keep a scoretab of all the things I have installed on my HTPC (for my own benefit).

My new setup (this is now my second HTPC, the one I am working at to make it stealth silent):

[HARDWARE]
DIGN 3E HTPC Case (gold)
Fortron Source PSU: FSP-300-60ATV (modified with Verax fan)
Pentium III 1Ghz processor, I replaced the standard heatsink with a Smartcooler FSM1497M512 MB Ram
ATI Radeon 7500 videocard (replaces an ATI AIW Radeon) modified with a silent heatsink
Falcon capture card
Asus PF 3B motheboard
Delta 410 soundcard (replaces an SB Live! Player soundcard)
80 Gig Seagate IV Barracuda (quiet baby)
Pioneer 106-f DVD Drive , (region free) with the slow down software
2 Papst-fan 612FL (60x60" Air-flow 11.2 CFM/ 19 m³/h 16Dba)

Now my HTPC is really silent... it has four fans, all pretty silent..
- one on the CPU heatsink, pretty inaudible
- two Pabst at the back of the case pumping hot air out
I connected the two Pabst to a fan speed changer (has three speeds, slow medium and max). The good thing is that the switch sits in the unusable PCI slot (the one take up by the ATI heatsink). I can change the speed just flicking the switch behind the PC...
Case temp has not changed it appears, as Hard disk, Mboard and CPU show the same values.
- one on the Power source

[SOFTWARE]
Windows XP (since XP has become stable I NEVER use W2K)
SP1 installed on WinXP
DirectX 9.0b installed on WinXP
ATI Video drivers Catalysts 4.5
PowerDVD 5
WinDVD 5.0
Sonic Cineplayer 1.5
ZoomPlayer v. 3.00
DvdRegionKiller v 2.5
and lots of other software see below...

I will go through all the issues I encountered in setting up the HTPC, and the tweaks I applied

1) WinXP.
I decided to use XP after comparing PowerDVDXP with hardware acceleration on (DXVA) and off. Hardware acceleration, to me, adds some serious perfomance enhancements in the video crispness department, so I decided to stick with XP.
I am happy with my XP now, very stable (on for weeks), but be aware that if you are Heavvy into installing apps, you might have a headache coming...
Do what I do now, I use Norton Ghost 2003, a breeze to backup my system files. I partitioned the 80 Gb Hard disk as follows:
- C: only system files
- D: Program Files
- E: Storage (DVD rips, Divx and Ape files)
If I screw up, I can backup the image of C: (around 1.5Gb), much quicker than backing up the whole hard disk.

TIPS: Stick with ONE set of ATI video drivers... If you really have to change drivers (i.e. you swap the video card) or you are just a mad tweaker with a taste for danger, use Driver Cleaner, it worked for me...
I set the color controls in the overlay tab for display properties. The only setting different from the default settings is that I have gamma set to 1.4
TIPS II: if you have a PJ and a monitor connected to the dual display capable Radeon 7500, you could enable Theater Mode on the Overlay-tab. With this setup you could watch the overlay on the projector and do all the adjustments on the monitor without the menu's showing up on the projected image. I prefer having the overlay either on the monitor or on the projector. It feels like the image is more defined to me this way. I created a set of hotkeys so I can switch the overlay from pj to monitor, et voila'.
TIPS III: backup your HD from time to time....;)
TIPS IV: make always sure you have the latest version of DIRECT X installed on your system, whatever OS you use
TIPS V: tkeak it. I followed this guide on how to increase WinXP speed and decrease the likelyhood of processes hanging... I used to have to reboot the machine once every two days, often Windows Explorer would hang on me: never happened again. Also follow the TweakTown guide, that gets anything that the previous missed, very comprehensive... Be aware that if you follow the guide and set
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Control\\File System] to
"NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation"=dword:00000001
you won't be able to upgrade Norton Antivirus Pro 2003 (thank you Mastiff for the heads up)
TIPS VI: Registry tip to boost caching on DVD rom and help fight stutter...
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\System\\CurrentControlSet\\Control\\File System\\CDFS]
"CacheSize"=dword:00010000
"Prefetch"=dword:00010000
"PrefetchTail"=dword:00010000
Thanks to tylerdurden for the tip

TIPS VII: read this thread to optimize Winxp shutdown time...

2) Zoom Player
well, I have yet not purchased the TT player because seriously I don't feel the need to do it....

I have done an extensive comparison on XP on the various combinations, you can find it here.

To cut a story short, no SPDIF out filter using Zplayer was perfectly operational using the Delta 410, and other audio cards because of a bug, a Micro$ bug.... This forced me to go down the analogue route, and the only filter that can be used with ZP, and pass DD and DTS as 5.1 channels in analogue mode is the WinDVD4 audio filter.
Now, with the latest Maudio Drivers (beta) the SPDIF issue seems to have been resolved. You can find the beta drivers here

I have been using for quite some time as video codec WinDvd 5.
As audio codec I have now switched to PowerDVD 5. This combination set to output to the 5 analogue output of my Delta 410 seems to be the one that makes me happier.

TIP: If you want to use, like me the audio filter of Windvd4 for multichannel analogue out purposes, make sure that you have the following registry entries in[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\InterVideo\\Common\\AudioDec]
"version"="4.0"
"AUDIO"=dword:00000006
"VOLBOOST"=dword:00000000
"LFEON"=dword:00000001
"AUDIODYNRHI"=dword:00000000
"AUDIODYNRLOW"=dword:00000000

If you don't have a subwoofer and you want to have more bass output from your speaker, set LFEON to 0.

This way the sound in WinDVD will not be "compressed".
You find the report of those registry hacks in this thread
(a big thanks to Emanuel Piat & Shahabl for their dedication)


To download Zoom Player do a search for text "Zoom Player" in AVS, Blight posts the latest version links there for download [thanks again Blight for your little gem]

reference thread on setting up your Zoom player
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...threadid=99267

It is very easy to get lost in the tons of features available in ZP
TIPS: make sure you
- right click on the player's background
- select Options
- click on the DVD icon and select the DVD setup tab
- unclick Use System Default and choose an option related to your audio card, if there is one (I had an SBlive, before I bought the MAudio Delta 410).
There are other cards already listed, otherwise try the Default Waveout Device, if that doesn't work, you will have to create your own DVD Manual Graph (for help on creating the Manual Graph, look here, have a look in the Information Tab, you will find a useful link there).
TIPS II: to get a grip on all the keyboard shortcuts, press F1...
Tips III: For help in finding out the millions of options available on ZP, check out the online resources at http://www.inmatrix.com/zplayer/. It has offers insight in:
- The control bar
- The options dialog
- Video Positioning
- Presets
- Play List
- Chaptering / Bookmarks
- Command Line Parameters
- Navigator Interfaces
- LCD Interface
- Scene Cut Editor
and has links to other Resources and to the Frequently Asked Questions
Tips IV: Some users have reported having great fun combining ffdshow with Cineplayer 1.5. FFdshow is a software that plays with the visual side of ZP with sharpening and other functions... if you want to know more about it and how to set it up, look here Be aware that it will only work in software mod (non hardware accelerated) therefore you will see your CPU usage increase, and that could create stuttering if your CPU isn't over 1Ghz.
Tips V: VMR9 (Video Mixing Renderer) is a new DirectShow component that debuts in Windows XP and will be included in future operating systems from Microsoft. The VMR now replaces the old "Overlay Mixer" as the new default video-rendering filter for DirectShow. Due to operating system specific dependencies, the VMR is not currently available for any previous operating systems. It is only available with Windows XP operating system. (all this info comes from the Cineplayer 1.5 site)The "Overlay Mixer" filter has traditionally been limited in the way it can display video, namely it is dependant on a physical hardware overlay in you display adapter. In fact, The Overlay Mixer filter can only render to a hardware overlay. The problem is that most display adapters only have one overlay device, and if that overlay is currently in use or unavailable, the Overlay Mixer will fail to operate.
The VMR eliminates this singular hardware dependency by allowing video to be rendered through your display adapter's 3D engine via Direct3D. The video is basically decoded into a streaming texture that your display adapter then presents in the form of a series of triangles that can be rendered anywhere in video memory. The VMR provides much needed flexibility for video rending in the PC. This ability of using the display adapter's 3D engine allows for new effects for alpha blending video streams together, or allowing the video to be alpha blended with still images and/or text. For DVD, the VMR under Windows XP provides a new alpha blending for Closed Caption text on the video window.
To use VMR9, you can get a fiter from here.
To create your filter, useful tips can be found here.
A word of warning: VMR7 in my opinion is worse than overlay. VMR9 looks better apparently than overlay, but unless you have a 9500 or 9700 Radeon card you will have performance issues (stuttering and flashing triangled corners of the image when heavy panning was happening). This is a limitation of the older Radeon hardware not being able to keep up with the demands of VMR9. (reports from this thread). If you have one of those cards and want to use VMR9, make sure you use the 4.1 Catalysts driver.


Today: my filter setup is
Windvd 5 with PowerDVD audio for Default waveout device
This gives me analogue sound 5.1 output from Zoomplayer, and the best PQ you can get out there right now.


Please note that I also have been able to use CSII in the media filters finally to play my divx files. CS is Circle Surround, better than Dolby Prologic II offered by Windvd.
See thread here


3) Sonic Cineplayer 1.5
It used to offers the best picture quality available, I used to use it but now moved to WinDVD 5 as it is the leader in my opinion for ATI cards.
Pros
- great PQ, very fluid playback, nice sound good saturation
- no stuttering even through ZoomPlayer so far for SPDIF out
Cons
- no 5.1 analogue output option, unless you purchase the more expensive version
- not as feature rich as ZoomPlayer or Theatertek
Nevertheless, worth the money just for the PQ and playback performance.
For more info on Cineplayer, this is a good starting point
TIPS: enable hardware acceleration

4) ATI 7.6 DVD Player
Now surpassed by Windvd 5 IMHO.
You can find still find the 7.5 player on the HTPC file store I have a 7.7 that came with my card, and I have recently upgraded to the latest version, with no problems to report

TIP: to tweak the registry in order to maximise the picture quality and sound quality for the Cinemaster video engine, I used the Registry settings for Cineplayer 4.0 Video filter courtesy of mkanet. These enhance DXVA Hardware Acceleration. His Zip file contains registry file that works in XP and should work in 2000 as well. Also contains Text file for users of other OS who can use it to make their own changes without problems.
It worked fine with my ATI 7.6.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/attac...&postid=736432

The other tips are modifications of the registry, different to the one Mkanet suggests, that I have implemented on my HTPC:

TIPS II: For one that loves Film source dvds, make sure this registry entry to is set to 1 (it forces weave de-interlacing)

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\RAVISENT\\Cinemaster DS DVD\\1.0\\VideoDecoder]
"DXVA Forceweave"=dword:00000001

If you instead watch a lot of video source dvds, leave it off (dword:00000000), to avoid combing.

Some others insted prefer to leave ForceWeave on, and change "DXVAEnableFrameDrop" to 0 (from the standard 1), as a compromise that allows them to play video and film material with one registry setting.


5) PowerDVD XP4
To be able to use its audio filter via ZP for SPDIF passthrough, you need to edit you registry...
What you need to do is enter the following registry entry

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\Software\\CyberLink\\PowerDVD]
"DSAUIF"=dword:00000004

The default DWORD setting is 2 and refers to stereo audio output!
Also get ALL the software patches you need here (thanks Cliff for all the help you provide, what would we do without you or Jones_Rush ;););)).

PS: I have finally been able to use PDVD analogue outs via ZP.

6) WinDVD 5
Great for video and audio playback.
I am using WinDVD 5.3.5.20
Remember for ZP analogue output to have this settings in your registry
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\InterVideo\\Common\\AudioDec]
if you want analogue out to work properly
"version"="4.0"
"AUDIO"=dword:00000006
"VOLBOOST"=dword:00000000
"LFEON"=dword:00000001
"AUDIODYNRHI"=dword:00000000
"AUDIODYNRLOW"=dword:00000000

for more registry entries click here to go to the master registry thread.
If you don't have a subwoofer and you want to have more bass output from your speaker, set LFEON to 0.
This will provide you with uncompressed sound settings.
Windvd is NOW the choice for video and audio playback. For both film and video dvd by far the best playback around.

7) DVDRegionKiller v. 2.5
You can get it here
Install it, right click on the icon that appear in your system tray, and select
- Enable DVD Region Killer
- Automatic Region
As long as your drive is region free, you will not have to worry about restarting WindowsXP to change the region, it will work seamlessly. To make sure your drive is regionfree, download Drive Info, it will help you identify the version of the firmware, and will tell you if your drive is regionfree. If it isn't, you can check on http://perso.club-internet.fr/farzeno/firmware/ to see if there is a firmware update that will make your drive regionfree.

8) WinAmp v. 5.02
I use it to play mp3's and wav's that I made using my cd collection and backing it up on my hd for "jukebox" like function.
TIP: install the CD Reader 2.00 beta plugin downloadable here. The problem with the default CD Reader in Winamp is that it uses Win32 to read the tracks and the CD Reader V1.71 uses ASPI calls (DAE). For WinXP HTPC you shouldn't have to install ASPI, (in theory) you should go to Options/Preferences/Plugins/Input and select "CD Reader 2.00 beta". Double click on your drive, that should be set to SPTI already, and play with the command box. It does make a difference which SCSI you choose...
In reality for me it was much more complicated. I tried the standard SPTI and it just wouldn't work, no matter which SCSI I choose . The ASPI device box was always empty.. So I installed:
- installed the latest ASPI drivers from Adaptec... no go
- installed the latest Force Aspi drivers, at one point at least it displayed in the plugin configure tab, the Pioneer DVD-ROM and the HP CD W-RW... still no go
- installed VOB Asapi... error message throughout the install... still no go as you can suspect
Followed the same procedure in Windows 2000 (I have dual boot), but the VOB Asapi install actually went through smoothly... That is when I could actually see the ASPI devices box filled with the names of my drives (Pioneer and HP)
Swapped around drive names in the ASPI device box for each drive, and tested each SCSi number et voila' I have sound.
Went back to XP, and guess what... is now working... not just the ASPI but also the SPTI... go figure...
TIP II: make sure that if you install the CD reader plugin you rename the original in_cdda.dll (i.e. in_cdda.dll.off) that you will find in the plugin folder.
TIP III: if you own a Delta Card, install the Asio_out plugin. You can find it here. It's an output plugin for Winamp which makes Winamp send audio directly to the soundcard instead of through Windows' mixer. It also makes it possible to output DTS via SPDIF under Windows XP. If you have installed CD Reader, you will be able also to play DTS CDs directly from the DVD-ROM. That combo will work with any card that supports ASIO which should be all the pro recording cards. I don't know exactly which of the mass market cards would have ASIO drivers.
Settings:
- Thread priority: high
- Buffer lenght: 32
- Shift Output Cha1nnel: 0
- Gapless mode: ticked
- Convert 1 channel to 2 channels: unticked
- Use direct input monitor: unticked

I usedto suggest "thread priority" at "time-critical". Irons82 reported that the time-critical setting might create problems for users. Such setting gets into contentions with other threads which also need priority. These other threads are part of delivering the audio. e.g mp3 decoding or your other input plugins decoding the files. Then there's system wide threads related to disk or network I/O which could come into contention when winamp usage gets high. He reports seen time critical work well with SMP system + affinity setting set to 1 cpu but Winamp doesn't have too many threads so it doesn't really scale well.
With time critical, when he select resampling, his 1.33ghz thunderbird couldn't even play mp3 smoothly at 48000hz. When he set thread priority to any setting other than "time-critical" (normal, above normal, high), he could play mp3 smoothly with resampling up to 176400hz. YMMV.


[from helzerr] The 'shift output channel" option is used to determine which channels of a multi-channel sound card are used for playback. Take a Delta 410 for example, it has 8 analog outputs and a stereo SPDIF output. Lets number them 1 - 10 and split them up like so:

(1,2) are stereo pair 1
(3,4) are stereo pair 2
(5,6) are stereo pair 3
(7,8) are stereo pair 4
and finally (9,10) are the SPDIF output.

Winamp is normally going to output to channels (1,2). The ASIO plug-in adds the value of "shift output channel" to the channels Winamp would normally use. If we add the default "shift output channel" value of zero to the channels Winamp uses, we get sound from ([1+0],[2+0]) or stereo pair 1 of the 410. If we change the "shift output channel" value to 2, Winamp will now be playing on outputs ([1+2],[2+2]), or stereo pair 2 of the 410. If we wanted to use the SPDIF output of the 410, we'd use a value of 8 for "shift output channel", which would lead to Winamp using channels ([1+8],[2+8]) which is the 410's SPDIF. [thanks Helzerr]



9) EAC
You can download it here. I use it to back up my CD on my hard disk when I want a perfect copy of it, without loosing audio quality. When I want instead to convert them to MP3, I use EAC in conjunction with:

10) Monkey's Audio
You can find out more about it here. I use this program to convert normal tracks to ape format. It is loseless (no loss of quality) and fast and shrinks the tracks to 55% of their original size.

11) 4am Media Console 2.1
Great software that is now my main interface for PC. Looks good, and the kids cannot really mess around too much with my PC now. For the main AVS thread click here
Setting it up is still work in progress, but it is eye candy to me, on my 6"x8" screen. I automatically run it in my startup.

12) 4am Audio Console 2.1
My frontend of choice to play music right now. Use it as a jukebox, with Winamp running in the background. I love it.
Main thread here

13) Desktop Hider
Thanks to Milori for the great program, that you can download here. Just assign a HotKey for toggling the Desktop icons on and off, will also hide the taskbar.
I run it also in my startup.

14) BootXP
Now when XP boots, Yoda greets my guests in place of the WinXP bootup screens, then all my icons desappear from the desktop and 4amMedia console takes over...
To know mor about how to change your bootup screen, check my thread here

15) Windows Washer
Well, you know, we all have something to hide ... for those websites that we shouldn't really browse ;) Gets rid of all the cache and of other temp stuff. Including the autocomplete stuff...
Website here

16) AnalogX Maxmem
Have you ever noticed how your computer always seems to run better after rebooting? AnalogX MaxMem is a realtime physical memory management program that automatically ensures that you always have as much physical memory available as possible.
Get it here

17) Girder
I use it with IRA infrared receiver and Pronto, to operate my HTPC. It works even if I am not pointing the remote to the receiver. Wicked. Find the info here at www.girder.nl.
Work in progress has started in my new thread dedicated to my Pronto and Girder files, you can download them here.

18) LcdSmartie or DVD SPY/Girder?
I have been fighting with DVDspy for weeks and have considered using LCDSmartie thanks to a Zplayer plugin. Problem is, that you have no control over when the Zplayer screen is displaying on your vdf display. This was enough to put me off it.
I use Girder + DvdSpy, and I am just looking for that last ounce of performance... find out more here

19) Windows Media Player 9
I am really diggin Microsoft player now. Two reasons, both have something to do with playing divx encoded files:
- picture quality is head to head with Cineplayer 1.5 for avi playback
- sound quality using the SRS CSII plugin (read more about it here is AWESOME. To cut a story short, your stereo channels will have DD surround effects like, if you are lucky enought to have 5.1 analogue out, either via your soundcard or via your motherboard. The biggest bank for your 10 bucks, quite litterally... ;)
I think you know where you can get WMP9, so no link to the Microsoft site...

20) MyHTPC
Now that I have reached divx Nirvana with MP9 and CSII, here comes along MyHTPC, with the best interface for divx playback from hard disk. It shows covers and info for each file, easy navigation, and imbedded player, so you can preview the movie playback and simply maximize the screen to full when you want to enjoy it.
Tips
- read the master thread here
- download the latest version here
- to add your divx files go to Configure myHtpc and in configuration, click on MyHtpc
- in settings, on the right, click on the "add sheet" icon and select media
- add your root folders
- in cover art file insert 'jpg,bmp,jpeg' (without the quotes)
- in media file instert 'avi' (in my case)
- select in folder level description 'Title'
- in the Display Tab select Cover art as Initial display mode and tick Show Now Playing automatically
- in the Player tab under plugin select myHTPC_Wmp9Mp.dll, UI mode none and Stretch to fit 'yes'
- then click on my Htpc in the left window, and it will create all the metadata files
- click on OK and enjoy!
You can use DVDProfiler to build the list of your movies
- export it as an xml file
- extract that xml file to a set of folders without pictures, which will contain a description of the movie
- use the tool you will find in this thread for the conversion
- once you have created the folders with the .my files, use Gotcha Covered : it will find automatically the best covers for all the DVDs you have and save them for you in the various folders
- setup your MyHTPC and you will have a separate picture for all of your movies like
this
- Once you click on your cover, you get to the movie screen
I found that a good compromise to show all of the text of the description in terms of charachter size is to change in the config window:
- Display
- Default Theme
- Font
- Subtitle
to Arial 10
- If you click on play on my HTPC, it will ask you to insert the disk, if it is not already in the dvd drive; like this
To setup your offline plugin read this thread.
I have setup mine so it will fire up ZoomPlayer already in full mode, and that is just what I like.
The offline plugin also works for your avis and mpegs, so you can use it for your favourite tv captures or conversion of your family VCR to disc.


21) DVDProfiler
to save my list of films and import them in MyHTPC. You can download it here.

22) Dscaler
To scale the picture coming from my Falcon capture card, I use Dscaler. Great software, quite CPU hungry, allows me to play my VHS tapes through my HTPC, and watch my satellite TV programs on the Projector.

23) DVDDecrypter
The best program to rip MY Favourite DVDS to the hard disk. You can find out how to use it here.
You can download it here

24) DVDShrink
To back up your existing DVDs, to save them for those little prying fingers of the little devils... Can write to a single DVD -R, compressing the original file. If it is larger than 5.4Gb, you are better off splitting the movie over two discs.
Guide here


===================================================

I have tweaked and tweaked and tweaked, will I ever be done? I don't think so... I have updated this list so many times I have stopped lying to myself about this obsessive compulsion of mine: THE TWEAK IS KING LONG LIVE THE TWEAK

- I have the best picture quality (ATI 7500 Radeon with WinDVD video abd audio filters in my Zoom Player)
- I have the best sound quality (MAudio is a definite improvement, I am using the analogues out for now)
- no stuttering that I can detect in the picture or asynk in the audio

I have been for months now a proud owner of Nec LT150z + Hoya Filter + DaLite HiPower Manual Pulldown 6x8 ft.

One of the benefits of the ATI 7500 is the two video outputs, one connected to my monitor, the other to the PJ... no need for VGA switchbox.

Hardware TIP: I used to use the dongle from the DVI for your projector, the picture quality according to some was better than from the VGA out. Some time later I found this thread (thanks JackLT) where a minor light output and a downscaling to 16bit color were reported when using the ATI dongle... I also swapped outputs, you might want to check it out...

Hope this helps anyone who is just approaching the subject of picture and sound quality on an HTPC...

And a big thanks goes to all of the AVS members that have helped me in developing this unhealty obsession.... HTPC + DLP.

And for all those stutter (audio video stutters) related problems check out mjcumming thread

Finally, for a comprehensive list of all free software available for htpc, check this thread
post #2 of 123
Since no-one else has said so, I'll say thanks for all this info, it's very helpful. COngratulations on your achievement. ;)
post #3 of 123
Thread Starter 
You are welcome....
I am interested in other XP tweaks, if anyone has anything to add to my config, feel free to post!
post #4 of 123
That is a very helpful post and lets me know something I had missed... That the audio of PowerDVD XP is now possible with ZP...

Do you have access to all the XP sound decode modes (eg DPL II) as my processor lacks DPL II and I hear its very nice mode for stereo encoded material...

With this info and the fact that Cliff seems close on 410 (and I assume 1010LT ??) drivers with individual volumes and time delay etc this could well raise the bar on what has been possible soundwise in my setup...
post #5 of 123
Thread Starter 
Must admit I have not tried that... and now my PC is back upstairs, so I won't be able to try for a little while.
I normally choose DD or DTS via the normal setup, and SPDIF it to the amp...
If it is a stereo file I am playing, and send the stereo sound via SPDIF, then I can choose several sound modes via my amp (Arcam AVR100). If I choose Dolby Prologic on the amp, it will output on all my 5 speakers.
If you choose to output Dolby Prologic II on your system, and your amp does only offer Dolby Prologic, how is the amp going to recognize the SPDIF Output?
I didn't think if would, but then, I have been wrong before... to me is like sending DTS signal to a non DTS amplifier.... won't work...
What you can do is output DPII to a 5.1 soundcard with 6 outputs directly to your speakers...
Just my guess...
post #6 of 123
What I am thinking is to use the internal decode and send it out of the analogue outputs of a HQ soundcard like the 410 or 1010LT to the multi channel input of my amp...

This way I gain DPL II and HQ sound output and bypass all the decode functions of my amp... If this is working well I may consider going direct to power amps soon and forget about the audio processing outside of the PC... I am also curious as to what happens when you lock the output at 24/96 in this mode as it should upconvert PCM but I dont know if it can upconvert an AC3 stream...

Just thinking out loud really....
post #7 of 123
Could indeed be interesting to know about whether the PowerDVD XP audio filters (ProLogic 2, DTS etc) could be used from Zoom Player.
That's the only reason I'm forced to using PowerDVD.

If it works I wouldn't mind spending the bucks on either the Cineplayer 4 or the TT Player.
post #8 of 123
Thread Starter 
You can use the PowerDVD XP4 with ZoomPlayer ( I do it and I can guarantee it works with an SBLive Soundcard), I succesfully passed via SPDIF both DD and DTS to an Arcam AVR100 integrated amplifier.
I have not tried the DPL II setting, so I cannot comment on that.
If you own a Radeon Card, you might find useful to download the ATI 7.5 unreleased version from here

http://www.warp2search.net/download.php?op=getit&lid=54

PS: According to HTPC obsession, if you have WINXP, you could just download the Add-on Packs which are designed for Windows Media Player. These usually contain the same filters as the respective players, so for Zoom Player uses, there is no diference in the performance but you save alot of money.

I HAVEN'T TRIED THIS, SO I CANNOT GUARANTEE YOU WILL GET DTS OR DD PASSTHROUGH WITH THE CIBERLINK ADD-ON PACK

Intervideo XPack for DVD
http://intervideo.com/jsp/Home.jsp

Cyberlink PowerDVD SE (Add-on Pack for XP)
http://www.gocyberlink.com/english/p...nxp_plugin.asp

Ravisent DVD Add-on Pack
http://ravisentdirect.com/xppaks/dvdmp3pack.htm

For $14.95 each you could purchase the Cyberlink Add-on Pack, and the Ravisent Add-on Pack (if you don't have ATI 7.5 or 5 already).

Both packs include stripped down versions of the current players. And I don't know whether or not they can be installed on an earlier OS.
post #9 of 123
Very useful info.... thanks!

Tell us more about the video end of things... what resolution, custom timings, display device, etc.....
post #10 of 123
Thread Starter 
I use the HTPC to feed the TV on weekends (I gotta lotta avi's if you catch my drift... ;)), and I demoed an LT150 just before Christmas for a weekend.

With the LT150, I used a 70Hz refresh rate, no Powerstrip is needed as using Zoom you have complete control of the aspect ratio.
I used projector in the native. 4:3 setting.
Resolution 1024x768.
Furthermore you can resize the picture using + and - via Zoom, and stretch it using one of the available aspect ratios:

- Disabled (Fit to Window)
- Source Aspect Ratio
- Derived Aspect Ratio
- Fullscreen 4:3
- Widescreen 16:9
- Anamorphic (4:3 source)
- Custom

Mind you, I am not an expert in terms of projectors, as I yet don't possess one, so there might be better settings to suit your needs.
post #11 of 123
Will this work for me too?
I have a Terratec EWX 24/96 soundcard.
Radeon 64 DDR VIVO gfx card.
Using WinXP.

New drivers for EWX 24/96. Build 121.

Regards!
post #12 of 123
Thread Starter 
I don't know if it would work for you....
You need to download ZP and decide which filter combination you want to try... (for example ATI 7.5 and PowerDVD 4 XP).
The players you want to mix and match with ZP need to be already installed on your PC.
First thing try the "non sound card specific" filter combos already made available by Blight in the dvdsetup Tab (to get the latest, download the latest beta, just search the forum for Blight's posts and you will find it).
If that doesn't work, you might want to create your own graphedit (basically you will build a filter combo that would work for your specific card). To do that, follow the tutorial already available in Zoomplayer: under the Information Tab you will find the DVD Manual Graph Building Article.
I was pretty lucky, I found a combo for my card as standard in Zoomplayer (SB Live). My next upgrade will be a MAudio, for which there is already a combo ;)....
Good luck with that, and if you create a graphedit for your card, and it works, send it to Blight, remember to SHARE... ;)
post #13 of 123
Good information. Has anyone found a registry fix yet that will allow ZP to use the PDVD 4.0 audio filters for internal 5.1 audio decoding through a 1010?
Bill
post #14 of 123
Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Gaw2
Has anyone found a registry fix yet that will allow ZP to use the PDVD 4.0 audio filters for internal 5.1 audio decoding through a 1010?
Bill
Yes, would be VERY nice to know. Anyone?
post #15 of 123
Thread Starter 
Just out of curiousity, has anyone find a fix for Zp, so you can use PDVD 4.0 audio filters for internal 5.1 audio decoding?
Cliff Watson has posted a new driver for the Maudio 410, so you can output directly each speakers input to the amplifier, avoiding the SPDIF passthrough.
Benefits? According to all the guys that are doing it, better sound quality and more time spent tweaking (;) tweak tweak tweak, we all love it, don't we...)
By the way, any new ATI driver out that fixes the broken gamma issue for WinXP?
I will back up my OS and start play with MMC 7.6, and with the latest drivers to see if there are any improvements in PQ and SQ.
Any suggestion for the drivers?
I use a Radeon AIW.
post #16 of 123
Thread Starter 
And my new Nec LT150z is on his way (thanks Jason Turk "you the man!").
Bring the business to the AVS guys, because "they're worth it!"
(not an advert, but recognizing that this guys do business trusting people, something that is difficult to find out there this days). The best price I could get on the PJ as well...
post #17 of 123
LT150 likes refresh of 60 Hz due to its color wheel frequency is 60 Hz. 70 Hz may cause stutters on slow horiz. pans. Congrats on your HTPC. How is HTPCObssesion (Hugh Magoo) anyways? Have you heard from him? He used to send me emails but not a peep lately. PowerDVD XP SPDIF sound filter (even with registry tweak) via ZP is not possible with the old Aureal Vortex SQ1500 sound card (I tried it :() but WinDVD 2.6-3.2 sound filters work great for DD/DTS using waveout or directsound ZP graphs. I like 7.5 Ravisent video the best (7.6 is unstable for me).
post #18 of 123
Thread Starter 
Have you tried to keep 7.5 dvd player and just upgrade the MMC to 7.6?
I think I will give it a shot...
What about video drivers? What do you use with your HTPC (if you use WinXP). I am still using the 7286
Not a peep from HTPC Obsession, he doesn't write, doesn't call...
LOL
post #19 of 123
Thread Starter 
Just found a thread where is reported that LT150 improves with ATI 6058 WinXP Drivers (www.rage3d.com).
They offer ceiling mounted Lt150 users something to try, screen rotation. You can rotate the image by 180 degrees.
I'll upgrade my driver this weekend and than backup my system before a fiddle with MMC7.6.
post #20 of 123
Thread Starter 
Well, the noise is a non issue for me, as I am going to get a hushbox, so i went for the latest drivers 6071, and I am happy as Larry.
Running desktop on 1080P no problems, and checking out if I prefer it to native... so far so good, rainbows do seem a lot better, but perhaps is just because I am now watching new movies, and I pay more attention to the movie than to the artifacts of solarization.... eheheh, also using a FLDay now, so that could play a part...
post #21 of 123
G-man

Thanx aLOT for keeping us up-to-date! As soon as I get my hands on a Radeon (again) I will try your "recipe" for my HTPC. Since I´ve been running XP, I´m beginning to have faith in Micro$oft...

C. Ya!
post #22 of 123
Thread Starter 
No worries... I just found out how to get the M-Audio SPDIF working thanks to another fellow AVS member... it's all about sharing, and making everyone's HTPC more enjoable, isn't it...
post #23 of 123
Thread Starter 
Just decided to tweak a little bit more....
- uninstalled the 6071 video drivers and MMC 7.5 and installed MMC 7.7 with the leaked 6118 drivers...
Cannot really say how big the improvement is, need a little more time to evaluate, IMHO my jaw has dropped in the past, when I tweaked it to perfection, now is difficult to get the same type of improvement, it will only be minor improvements on details.
I have kept the same setup and everything works perfectly.
So far so good....
post #24 of 123
Thread Starter 
I also installed WinDVD 4.0, and I must say, what a leap in picture quality... will need to test the sound quality as soon as I have enough $$ to buy the Denon AVR3802 amplifier... which could take a while unfortunately....:(
post #25 of 123
Hi G-man!

I was wondering if you got the SP/DIF running with WinDVD 4.0... Mine still doesn't work...

C. YA!
post #26 of 123
Quote:
Originally posted by gnollo
I also installed WinDVD 4.0, and I must say, what a leap in picture quality... will need to test the sound quality as soon as I have enough $$ to buy the Denon AVR3802 amplifier... which could take a while unfortunately....:(
Is the PQ better than ATI DVD 7.5 video filters? Or the leap is with respect to WinDVD's previous version?

Osho
post #27 of 123
Thread Starter 
Nah, is WinDVD PQ that has leaped. I have installed yesterday
- 7.6 MMC no-dvd
- 7.7 DVD
- 7.7 MMC update
I don't notice any lip-sync issues, but in terms of picture quality improvement, I can't really tell the difference...
Still, I think ATI MMC has the edge, but to me now PQ is very close now...
ATI DVD 7.7 95%
WinDVD 4 85%
PowerDVD 75%
(for film material that is)
Problem is, I like sharpness, and PowerDVD XP4 just doesn't cut it in that department IMHO.
post #28 of 123
Thread Starter 
G-man, sorry but I don't have any way to test SPIF anymore, I need to buy another amp... what soundcard do you use? If it is an M-Audio Delta 400, there are a few tricks you can try... Have you tried using ZoomPlayer?
post #29 of 123
Hi again!

I´m now runnin´ WinDVD 2.1 (cracked), but when I find the time I´m going to try the "others". I´m waiting for my Radeon which has been sent for service. As soon as that will be...
But WinDVD 4.0+ was very stunning (for me). Any suggestions on titles to put through the test for PQ?

My current audiocrd: Terratec X-Fire 1024 (Crystal CS4624).

G-Man: May da Force be with U!

C.YA!
post #30 of 123
Thread Starter 
Gladiator, Matrix, Dark City.... lookout for contrast and fast movement, to see how the software player copes with it..
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