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BD, Native Video via HDMI, Multi-channel Audio, DVD-A, and SACD for the HTPC Newby

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I just ordered the following:

HP Pavilion dv7t customizable Notebook PC
dark umber
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
2nd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2430M Processor (2.4 GHz, 3MB L3 Cache) Turbo
Boost to 3.0 GHz
Intel(R) HD Graphics 3000 [HDMI, VGA]
FREE UPGRADE to 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
FREE Upgrade to 640GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
Microsoft(R) Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word/Excel(R) only, No PowerPoint(R)/Outlook(R)
No additional security software
6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (standard) - Up to 5.2 hours of battery life +++
17.3" HD+ HP BrightView LED (1600 x 900)
Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
HP TrueVision HD Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone and HP SimplePass Fingerprint
Reader
802.11b/g/n WLAN
Standard Keyboard with numeric keypad
2 year limited warranty included

I'm used to settop playback equipment and would like to migrate to the world of HTPC. I'm sorry if my demands are out-of-touch or even impossible for HTCP, but I'm not sure how different the world of HTPC is from the settop world. How will I be able to achieve BD playback, native HDMI video output, multi-channel audio, and DVD-A/SACD playback when connected to my Pioneer Elite VSX-32 audio/video receiver via HDMI?
post #2 of 23
Well, it appears you already have a BD player, HDMI is a hardware function of the laptop - you either have it or you don't, multi-channel output should be there over your HDMI (if you have HDMI), BD players can play DVDs, I don't know about SACD. So if you have HDMI on your notebook, you should be able to hook it up to your receiver and go.
post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post

How will I be able to achieve BD playback, native HDMI video output,

There's no such thing as native video output on a PC, you can try auto resolution switching which sort of approximates it, but it's not the same.

Quote:


...multi-channel audio, and DVD-A/SACD playback when connected to my Pioneer Elite VSX-32 audio/video receiver via HDMI?

I'm not aware of any way to play SACD on a PC.
post #4 of 23
There is no way to play or rip SACDs on PC.
But you can rip and convert DVD-Audio to wav or flac:
http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=145251
As for the step six; you can also use ReClock with MPC-HC.
post #5 of 23
I believe there is a plugin for Foobar which plays SACD.

Super Audio CD Decoder input plugin for foobar2000. Decoder is capable of playing back Super Audio CD ISO images, DSDIFF and DSF files

http://sourceforge.net/projects/sacddecoder/


MAK
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by racerxnet View Post

I believe there is a plugin for Foobar which plays SACD.

Super Audio CD Decoder input plugin for foobar2000. Decoder is capable of playing back Super Audio CD ISO images, DSDIFF and DSF files

http://sourceforge.net/projects/sacddecoder/


MAK

Great, thank you!
I didn't know really.
Than I think there should be a plug-in for DVD-A playback too?
post #7 of 23
racerxnet

Please tell me how to listen SACD?

I gave it a go but I couldn't.

I used a pure SACD in my trial. (not a hybrid one)

Couldn't make an ISO or play directly?
post #8 of 23
Ok - here's the scoop on SACD and DVD-A in the HTPC world
1) You can play back DVD-A discs using Foobar and a plugin - this is easy
2) You can play back SACD ISOs using Foobar, virtual clone drive (to mount the disc image) and a plugin - also easy
3) You cannot play SACD discs as there are no drives available that can read them. (Partially true, as there is a route you can take with certain PS3s and specific firmware - but it's a total PITA and not inexpensive. If you need to play back SACD discs, you're better off with one of those cheap multi-format standalone DVD players)

(SACD ISOs are available from a variety of "sources" on the net btw...)
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Now that's what I love about this place. You ask for help, and actually get some that makes sense!

Well then, I hope to God that every SACD title will be reissued on a Blu-ray music format that is compatible with the Blu-ray standard!

In case I didn't make myself clear, the laptop I ordered is one HP will be customizing for me, so it won't arive for a few weeks. I don't know what player software will be on it. If anyone has an idea, please let me know so I can study the manual to the software while I'm waiting.
post #10 of 23
Playback of SACD isn`t actually the problem, because, like mentioned, Foobar can do it. Besides that, i also think J.River Media Center can also play them. And you can convert the DSDIFF files from the SACD ISO image to FLAC which can be played back with almost all the media center front-ends, 7MC, XBMC, J.River, Media Portal etc.

The issue is actually ripping the disk to your hard-drive. The only 2 ways i know of consist of

a) About 15k worth of professional studio equipment
b) A PS3 running this : http://code.google.com/p/sacd-ripper/ with the requirements noted there (http://ps3sacd.com/faq.html#_Toc180147566), kinda hard to find a PS3 that matches them today.

As for choosing the front-end, that`s down to user preference, you`ll have to try them out and see which one you prefer and like.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post

Now that's what I love about this place. You ask for help, and actually get some that makes sense!

Well then, I hope to God that every SACD title will be reissued on a Blu-ray music format that is compatible with the Blu-ray standard!

In case I didn't make myself clear, the laptop I ordered is one HP will be customizing for me, so it won't arive for a few weeks. I don't know what player software will be on it. If anyone has an idea, please let me know so I can study the manual to the software while I'm waiting.

As there is no official Blu-Ray music format per-say, you won't see anything other than niche music released on Blu-Ray disc in the form of music videos, concerts, or music with art. As far as the music industry is concerned, high-resolution audio is dead because of iTunes and the other MP3 services though you can get lossless high-resolution audio downloads of older recordings from a few online companies.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post

As there is no official Blu-Ray music format per-say, you won't see anything other than niche music released on Blu-Ray disc in the form of music videos, concerts, or music with art. As far as the music industry is concerned, high-resolution audio is dead because of iTunes and the other MP3 services though you can get lossless high-resolution audio downloads of older recordings from a few online companies.

As a musician who has gone from secular to sacred because of where the work is, I watch horror movies more than I listen to music anyway. However, the high-resolution audio would have been nice for the occasion I decided to listen to secular music via my new laptop. At least I can enjoy ripping my standard 44.1 KHz, 16-bit CDs to my external harddrive and play tons of uncompressed music that way.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post

As a musician who has gone from secular to sacred because of where the work is, I watch horror movies more than I listen to music anyway. However, the high-resolution audio would have been nice for the occasion I decided to listen to secular music via my new laptop. At least I can enjoy ripping my standard 44.1 KHz, 16-bit CDs to my external harddrive and play tons of uncompressed music that way.

Well, the thing with laptops is that they have pretty crappy built-in audio. The drivers aren't great and there are always interference issues but it's good enough for most people. I suggest you invest in a high-quality external digital audio processor like what Creative Labs offers if you don't mind spending a little extra for that high-resolution and you should use a high-quality audio player like AIMP3. When your laptop comes, you should switch out the HDD for an SSD if you have the funds to do so because you don't want the HDD to fail from wear and tear or mechanical damage. My next multi-media laptop, which is going to be an HP similar to yours will be used for music and video playback and it will have two SSDs, one for software and another large capacity drive for media storage, and it's gonna be a pretty sweet setup.
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post

Well, the thing with laptops is that they have pretty crappy built-in audio. The drivers aren't great and there are always interference issues but it's good enough for most people. I suggest you invest in a high-quality external digital audio processor like what Creative Labs offers if you don't mind spending a little extra for that high-resolution and you should use a high-quality audio player like AIMP3. When your laptop comes, you should switch out the HDD for an SSD if you have the funds to do so because you don't want the HDD to fail from wear and tear or mechanical damage. My next multi-media laptop, which is going to be an HP similar to yours will be used for music and video playback and it will have two SSDs, one for software and another large capacity drive for media storage, and it's gonna be a pretty sweet setup.

When I'm at home, I'll be connecting the laptop to my Pioneer Elite VSX-32 A/V receiver via HDMI. So do I really need to worry about audio quality?

I know what you mean about the new solid state drives. Unfortunately, I already hit my limit with the 17" LED screen, I5 processor, and Blu-ray reader drive. I have an external portable 1.3 TB USB hard drive if I need more than 640 GB.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post

When I'm at home, I'll be connecting the laptop to my Pioneer Elite VSX-32 A/V receiver via HDMI. So do I really need to worry about audio quality?

I know what you mean about the new solid state drives. Unfortunately, I already hit my limit with the 17" LED screen, I5 processor, and Blu-ray reader drive. I have an external portable 1.3 TB USB hard drive if I need more than 640 GB.

It most likely won't work properly or at all with your receiver's HDMI inputs, so you should be prepared for possible disappointment. On paper, everything should work, but in reality, very few A/V receivers and TVs support PC connections over HDMI. That's why you see tons of threads in this forum about problems with HDMI connections to those. The signal information just doesn't go from point to point properly in the digital chain and there's processing that goes on when using HDMI that messes things up.
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post

It most likely won't work properly or at all with your receiver's HDMI inputs, so you should be prepared for possible disappointment. On paper, everything should work, but in reality, very few A/V receivers and TVs support PC connections over HDMI. That's why you see tons of threads in this forum about problems with HDMI connections to those. The signal information just doesn't go from point to point properly in the digital chain and there's processing that goes on when using HDMI that messes things up.

I have three weeks to return the laptop once I receive it. Do you think I should stick to the settop world when watching movies and listening to music at home?
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post

I have three weeks to return the laptop once I receive it. Do you think I should stick to the settop world when watching movies and listening to music at home?

There are other options, media player boxes with SSD storage for example. They support every format under the sun, some even support lossless FLAC, and they almost always work perfectly with A/V receivers because they don't output a PC signal. Many Blu-Ray players support the common audio formats via disc and USB storage, so you should look to see what yours handles if non-lossless audio is acceptable to you. Your receiver has a variety of source inputs including both iPod and USB storage devices, so you could get a big fat 128 GB flash drive, put a whole lot of ripped audio on it, plug it in and call it a day, or go with an iPod Touch. Just do some research and options will open up to you.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post

I have three weeks to return the laptop once I receive it. Do you think I should stick to the settop world when watching movies and listening to music at home?

Nah! The [rare] issues that I get with HDMI on my HTPC, I also got the same issues with using my PS3 as a player. It is just the nature of the beast that is HDMI and HDCP.

SBR
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post

There are other options, media player boxes with SSD storage for example. They support every format under the sun, some even support lossless FLAC, and they almost always work perfectly with A/V receivers because they don't output a PC signal. Many Blu-Ray players support the common audio formats via disc and USB storage, so you should look to see what yours handles if non-lossless audio is acceptable to you. Your receiver has a variety of source inputs including both iPod and USB storage devices, so you could get a big fat 128 GB flash drive, put a whole lot of ripped audio on it, plug it in and call it a day, or go with an iPod Touch. Just do some research and options will open up to you.

Due to my sight impairment, the iPod isn't an option. I have a ten-year-old desktop. After discovering that I can't use newer editions of most software out there anymore, I have decided that it's time to upgrade. I thought that if I get a good laptop, I'd be up-to-date, not tied down to one location, and be able to manage all my A/V media, inotherwords, kill three birds with one stone.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
I got the laptop. I configured the output settings both in Windows and CyberLink PowerDVD. My problem is that when bitstreaming, my HD soundtracks are downgraded to Dolby Digital and DTS. I'd still like to be able to bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD-Master Audio. I asked HP about this and they told me that the CyberLink player software they provided is basic. Do you guys have any recomendations for player software that will bitstream HD CODECs, as well as decode them as multi-channel PCM? Thanks!
post #21 of 23
You could install MPC-HC and give it a shot.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post

When I'm at home, I'll be connecting the laptop to my Pioneer Elite VSX-32 A/V receiver via HDMI. So do I really need to worry about audio quality?

Simple answer is NO, you don't need to worry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post

It most likely won't work properly or at all with your receiver's HDMI inputs, so you should be prepared for possible disappointment. On paper, everything should work, but in reality, very few A/V receivers and TVs support PC connections over HDMI. That's why you see tons of threads in this forum about problems with HDMI connections to those. The signal information just doesn't go from point to point properly in the digital chain and there's processing that goes on when using HDMI that messes things up.

I don't understand this statement at all. I have NEVER had a problem hooking any HDMI equiped pc - desktop or laptop - to an HDMI equipped AVR or an HDTV via HDMI. In general it's been, plug it in and it works. I've plugged them in at home, I've plugged them in at friends, I've plugged them in in hotels. In reality, most HDMI equipped A/V receivers and TVs support PC connections over HDMI just fine.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post

I got the laptop. I configured the output settings both in Windows and CyberLink PowerDVD. My problem is that when bitstreaming, my HD soundtracks are downgraded to Dolby Digital and DTS. I'd still like to be able to bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD-Master Audio. I asked HP about this and they told me that the CyberLink player software they provided is basic. Do you guys have any recomendations for player software that will bitstream HD CODECs, as well as decode them as multi-channel PCM? Thanks!

Are you using the PowerDVD that came with your laptop? If so, that's why it's being downgraded. That ubiquitous OEM Power DVD is purposely limited to try to force you to pay $100 for the full version.

Why are you worried about multi-channel PCM? Don't you want your AVR to do the decoding?

I use J River Media Center.
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