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HP Pavilion Slimline s3330f, is it a good prebuilt htpc? - Page 3

post #61 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrundleFly View Post

Thanks for the response Herve!

- The CNET Review of the 3020n (same video card as the 3330f) showed that the Samsung LNT-4061F did not pick up a signal when connected the PC via HDMI.

- I have 3 HDMI, Composite, S-VIDEO, and VGA. However, I really need HDMI because I want the audio to be coupled so I don't have to separate the speakers I have in the TV.

- Native Res is 1080P

- If I am going to get this I really want the output to be 1080, otherwise its not worth the Blu Ray/ HD Drive right? That's why I don't want to connect via VGA.

Well, I know this sounds pretty lame, but software is updated all the time. The 3020n is not the same machine as the 3330f, and although the video card may be the same model, it may not be configured in the same way. Just maybe it'll work.

The best thing to do is just buy one on a trial basis from a place that has a satisfaction-guaranteed, full-refund policy. That's what I did.

Even if the hook-up does not work, you could still try one of these:
http://www.oppodigital.com/hm31/

Maybe the repeated signal from the Oppo switch will have enough of a difference to work with your panel.

If neither works, then just return both the PC and the switch.

Good luck.
post #62 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by erg0010 View Post

My s3330f from Amazon included HP's wireless mouse and keyboard.

REALLY? Very interesting. I literally had a window up with newegg ready to push the checkout button when I read this.

Can you tell me when you placed your order? Also, are you positive it was actually "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com." Because you can also buy it from J&R, TigerDirect, etc. THROUGH Amazon. The easy tipoff is if you can get supersaver shipping on it. Here's the page for it on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0010DSDXM

Amazon does change things fairly often, and sometimes they have very incorrect details on products that never get corrected. If you can confirm it was really a direct Amazon product bought within the last week or so, I think I might risk it.

Thanks!
post #63 of 336
I am surprised that there is no way for me to know without actually purchasing one. Thanks so much for your help Herve.
post #64 of 336
Herve...I don't see it mentioned in the thread...where did you purchase yours? I may just give this a shot to see if the HDMI can bitstream the newer codecs.

Does anyone here who has purchased this HTPC have an AVR capable of decoding the newer codecs that could test this?
post #65 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflefries View Post

REALLY? Very interesting. I literally had a window up with newegg ready to push the checkout button when I read this.

Can you tell me when you placed your order? Also, are you positive it was actually "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com." Because you can also buy it from J&R, TigerDirect, etc. THROUGH Amazon. The easy tipoff is if you can get supersaver shipping on it. Here's the page for it on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0010DSDXM

Amazon does change things fairly often, and sometimes they have very incorrect details on products that never get corrected. If you can confirm it was really a direct Amazon product bought within the last week or so, I think I might risk it.

Thanks!

No, I bought it through Amazon Prime, next day delivery. Ordered 1/28/08, received 1/29/08. I see what you are seeing on Amazon's wesite. Cannot explain that. Either it's an error, or they have changed what is included.

EDIT: Went out to garage and checked the box. It clearly states "HP Wireless Keyboard and Optical Mouse with extended range (30 feet)", despite what the web page says. I had taken a hardcopy of the Amazon description back in January and, yes, it stated then that kb & mouse were PS2. I remember being surprised when I unpacked everything. The box is the same as you would get if purchased at a B&M store. If I knew how to attach a picture of the label, I would. Let me know if you have any more questions.
post #66 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by jutley View Post

Herve...I don't see it mentioned in the thread...where did you purchase yours?
......................................

Here:
http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/pro...10097826&catid=
but I bought mine for $979.
post #67 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrundleFly View Post

I am surprised that there is no way for me to know without actually purchasing one. Thanks so much for your help Herve.

I just had a thought. If you intend to buy AnyDVD HD -
http://www.slysoft.com/en/anydvdhd.html
- it might very well help you out in your situation. If you start that program before starting DVD Play, I believe you will be able to output 1080p, at whatever frequency your panel supports, over VGA.

I might be wrong on this, so, hopefully, others who have AnyDVD HD and a vga connection will be able to verify this.
post #68 of 336
Herve, thanks man. I really want to be sure of this before I buy. I am searching alllll over the internet to get any sort of clue.
post #69 of 336
The s3300t can be configured similarly through Costco with a similar price. It features an Intel CPU.
post #70 of 336
Thanks for all the info, erg0010. I went ahead and pulled the trigger. Here's hoping it comes out right!
post #71 of 336
Sorry if this is a NOOB question but will this up convert SD to 1080i or p?
post #72 of 336
p
post #73 of 336
Herve, Can you verify that the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray playback is at 1080p?

Also, does anyone know if this computer with a 2.2 GHz C2D processor from Costco will be powerful enough to play HD-DVD/Blu-Ray at 1080p?

Thanks.
post #74 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by winky132 View Post

Herve, Can you verify that the HD-DVD/Blu-Ray playback is at 1080p?
....................................................

While displaying an HD-DVD or BD movie, our RS1 projector indicates that the signal it is receiving is 1080p.
post #75 of 336
If anyone has this with a Samsung TV connected through HDMI that would be great...and it works please just let me know. Thanks!
post #76 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrundleFly View Post

If anyone has this with a Samsung TV connected through HDMI that would be great...and it works please just let me know. Thanks!

I don't know if this counts, but I had my 3330f hooked up to a Samsung 23" LCD (LN-T2342H) for awhile. It worked just fine. The 3330F recognized the TV and model number, and even set the resolution appropriately (1360 x 768, in this case). I did do the screen resize to get things just right. As I recall the TV displayed PC-HDMI when it looked at the signal. You do have to go into the Realtek audio control to set audio out via HDMI to default.
Gene
post #77 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflefries View Post

Thanks for all the info, erg0010. I went ahead and pulled the trigger. Here's hoping it comes out right!

Let us know what you receive!
Gene
post #78 of 336
Do any of you that have purchased this PC recently have the capabilities to see if it bitstreams the advanced audio codecs like Dolby True HD?
post #79 of 336
Quote:

- HD-DVD and Bluray disks played back directly from the ROM by HP's OEM Pdvd version called "DVD Play BD/HD-DVD". As far as I can tell, DVD Play plays these perfectly. However, our collection of hi def disks is small, so I cannot say with certainty that all disks will play perfectly, or at all. (So far, 300, 2001, Borne Identity, Apocalypto, King Kong, Transformers, Babel and 5th Element have played perfectly.)
- HD-DVD and Bluray disks backed up to the hard drive as ISO by using AnyDVD and ImgBurn, and playing these ISOs back from the hard drive using DVD Play. As far as I can tell, DVD Play plays these perfectly.

Herve,

I'm having problems with video being choppy...

OTA recording and playback usually work fine. I stay out of Live TV when recording so the PC does not have to do two tasks at once.

I rented "300" and the video is choppy and slows down from time to time. What resolution are you running your HP S3330F at? I tried updating the video drivers and that did not resolve it, so I returned it to the original. I've tried "do not scale" within the video driver and that produces the smoothese video, but still some choppyness. I'm running 1080P and not stretching the screen as well.

Any thoughts? What resolution are you running? I have a Samsung 56" DLP.
post #80 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by erg0010 View Post

Let us know what you receive!
Gene

Yes! The wireless keyboard and mouse are included! Thanks again for the help.
post #81 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHermanator View Post

Quote:

- HD-DVD and Bluray disks played back directly from the ROM by HP's OEM Pdvd version called "DVD Play BD/HD-DVD". As far as I can tell, DVD Play plays these perfectly. However, our collection of hi def disks is small, so I cannot say with certainty that all disks will play perfectly, or at all. (So far, 300, 2001, Borne Identity, Apocalypto, King Kong, Transformers, Babel and 5th Element have played perfectly.)
- HD-DVD and Bluray disks backed up to the hard drive as ISO by using AnyDVD and ImgBurn, and playing these ISOs back from the hard drive using DVD Play. As far as I can tell, DVD Play plays these perfectly.

Herve,

I'm having problems with video being choppy...

OTA recording and playback usually work fine. I stay out of Live TV when recording so the PC does not have to do two tasks at once.

I rented "300" and the video is choppy and slows down from time to time. What resolution are you running your HP S3330F at? I tried updating the video drivers and that did not resolve it, so I returned it to the original. I've tried "do not scale" within the video driver and that produces the smoothese video, but still some choppyness. I'm running 1080P and not stretching the screen as well.

Any thoughts? What resolution are you running? I have a Samsung 56" DLP.


I think the problem is solved; I downloaded the latest video driver directly from NVidia. Along with changing the power setting to Performance, that seems to have done the trick. Blueray plays properly and I will check on OTA recordings tomorrow.
post #82 of 336
Because of the very nature of "300" - especially the innumerable fight scenes where things are supposed to speed up and slow down almost instantaneously - I think it's a poor disk to judge smoothness of playback.

If you see smooth playback in King Kong when the big brontosaurus herd stampedes through the narrow gorge and around the corner at the cliff, that's quite an accomplishment. The Sam 5k standalone we tried for awhile could not play all of KK without at least a couple of major glitches of one sort or another. The Slimline has had none.

My experience so far has taught me that to get really smooth playback it's important to output at either the same frame rate as the source, or some multiple of it. Luckily, our RS1 accepts 1080p at both 60 and 24 fps.

As a genral rule, I first try running BD and HD-DVD discs at 1080p 24 fps and sd dvds at 1080p 60. However, I found the "Galapagos" HD-DVD to be noticeably jerky at 24 fps, so I tried 60 and playback was then very smooth. (Maybe Galapagos was shot with video cameras running at 30 or 60 fps.) If I try to run sd dvds at 24 fps, they are noticeably jerky, while at 60, they're smooth - at least the ones I've tried so far.

I don't know what we'd do if we had a display that could not accept 24 fps, or some multiple of it. Does your display accept 24? I know that the s3330f automatically detects the particular display device to which it is connected and creates a list of output signals that are acceptable to it. Maybe when connected to your particular display there's an option to output 1080p @ 48 fps, or maybe 72. Would your display accept those frame rates? If so, try them out and observe the result.

(BTW, Galapagos is a real stunner when it comes to picture quality, so if you want to narrow down your playback issue, rent or buy it and output 1080p at 60 to your display. If you get silky smooth playback, likely your playback issue with 24 fps movies is a frame rate issue. If your display cannot accept 24, 48, or 72, I don't know what the solution would be for ultra-smooth playback.)

A couple of other things:

-I disconnect from the internet before playing discs and I make damn sure Norton isn't trying to do anything like updating or scanning in the background.

- Is anything running in your vista sidebar? When I first started our system, there was a clock and a small photo slideshow that continuously ran there. I found that there was some correlation between playback that you describe and the slideshow changing photos. After I got rid of the clock, slideshow and sidebar itself, discs played perfectly.

We've added a few more disks to our library over the last number of days and they have all played perfectly.


Good luck.
post #83 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herve View Post

Right after the format was complete, I copied a 26 Gb hi def ISO, containing AVC evo files, to the new drive. It took about 22 minutes to copy the file. That's over six times faster than the playing time of the movie, and that includes everything else on the disk.

I then mounted the ISO on the external drive to a Daemon Tools virtual drive and started DVD Play. I was able to fast forward, backward, and skip chapters in both directions without a single stutter or hesitation - in other words, perfectly.

Some somewhat off-topic questions:
1) When ripping a Blu-ray disc to hard drive, can you easily separate out and store just the main movie content (i.e., leave off the extras, main menu, etc.).
2) If so, what range in filesizes would you estimate the main movie content to be for the movies you've ripped so far?

I know that Blu-ray discs can, theoretically, store up to about 50GB. If studios intentionally use less compression and fill up the discs, ripping the movies as-is would require a good deal of time and quickly fill up a hard drive. But if the main movie content is 15GB or less, I could justify ripping them as-is.
post #84 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

Some somewhat off-topic questions:
1) When ripping a Blu-ray disc to hard drive, can you easily separate out and store just the main movie content (i.e., leave off the extras, main menu, etc.).
2) If so, what range in filesizes would you estimate the main movie content to be for the movies you've ripped so far?

I know that Blu-ray discs can, theoretically, store up to about 50GB. If studios intentionally use less compression and fill up the discs, ripping the movies as-is would require a good deal of time and quickly fill up a hard drive. But if the main movie content is 15GB or less, I could justify ripping them as-is.

Most movies we want are classics and most of them, up to this point at least, happen to be on HD-DVD, so I'm trying to buy them quickly before the supply of HD-DVDs dries up.

To this point, I've backed up the entire disk as an image file, so the prospect of 50-gb BDs that actually contain 50-gb doesn't excite me too much. Should that situation come to pass, I'll go back to doom9 university for some higher (definition) education.
post #85 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herve View Post

Because of the very nature of "300" - especially the innumerable fight scenes where things are supposed to speed up and slow down almost instantaneously - I think it's a poor disk to judge smoothness of playback.

If you see smooth playback in King Kong when the big brontosaurus herd stampedes through the narrow gorge and around the corner at the cliff, that's quite an accomplishment. The Sam 5k standalone we tried for awhile could not play all of KK without at least a couple of major glitches of one sort or another. The Slimline has had none.

My experience so far has taught me that to get really smooth playback it's important to output at either the same frame rate as the source, or some multiple of it. Luckily, our RS1 accepts 1080p at both 60 and 24 fps.

As a genral rule, I first try running BD and HD-DVD discs at 1080p 24 fps and sd dvds at 1080p 60. However, I found the "Galapagos" HD-DVD to be noticeably jerky at 24 fps, so I tried 60 and playback was then very smooth. (Maybe Galapagos was shot with video cameras running at 30 or 60 fps.) If I try to run sd dvds at 24 fps, they are noticeably jerky, while at 60, they're smooth - at least the ones I've tried so far.

I don't know what we'd do if we had a display that could not accept 24 fps, or some multiple of it. Does your display accept 24? I know that the s3330f automatically detects the particular display device to which it is connected and creates a list of output signals that are acceptable to it. Maybe when connected to your particular display there's an option to output 1080p @ 48 fps, or maybe 72. Would your display accept those frame rates? If so, try them out and observe the result.

(BTW, Galapagos is a real stunner when it comes to picture quality, so if you want to narrow down your playback issue, rent or buy it and output 1080p at 60 to your display. If you get silky smooth playback, likely your playback issue with 24 fps movies is a frame rate issue. If your display cannot accept 24, 48, or 72, I don't know what the solution would be for ultra-smooth playback.)

A couple of other things:

-I disconnect from the internet before playing discs and I make damn sure Norton isn't trying to do anything like updating or scanning in the background.

- Is anything running in your vista sidebar? When I first started our system, there was a clock and a small photo slideshow that continuously ran there. I found that there was some correlation between playback that you describe and the slideshow changing photos. After I got rid of the clock, slideshow and sidebar itself, discs played perfectly.

We've added a few more disks to our library over the last number of days and they have all played perfectly.


Good luck.


300 is smooth now, after loading the latest graphics drivers directly from the NVidia site and setting the Power Settings to Performance. I will continue to test this PC for another week and a half. But so far so good!

Thanks for your advice on the movies; I will try to rent a few others so I can be sure everything is solid. I'm glad that your evaluation is positive so mine should be just a confirmation.

Sam 5K is a standalone that could not play a movie glitch-free (or at least KK)? I would have thought a standalone doing one task would be more flawless than our poor PC having to deal with Norton and other background tasks.

When you refer to 60 and 24 fps, are you referring to the Hz (I have not found a fps setting yet)? After loading the latest Nvidia drivers, my television (Samsung DLP) automatically defaulted to 60 Hz. If there is a setting labeled fps, please let me know where that is!

I did disable the sidebar, but I missed that Norton is auto scanning the entire harddisk, so that is set to execute at 5AM on Sunday morning.

I'll look for Galagapos over the weekend. Thanks again for your valuable input!
post #86 of 336
Hi all,

I am seriously considering this PC as a solution for bringing Blu-Ray and XVids to my living room, but am curious about the sound output. Does anyone know if the HDMI link will output something that can be decoded to DTS-HD or TrueHD by an appropriate receiver, or is the machine limited to a digital 5.1 surround-sound mode? I'm not sure exactly how the decoding of these signals works.

Also, would this PC be upgradeable to newer Blu-Ray profiles through updated versions of the Blu-Ray DVD software, or does the drive cause any limitation on updates of this sort?

Many thanks!
post #87 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHermanator View Post

300 is smooth now, after loading the latest graphics drivers directly from the NVidia site and setting the Power Settings to Performance. I will continue to test this PC for another week and a half. But so far so good!

Thanks for your advice on the movies; I will try to rent a few others so I can be sure everything is solid. I'm glad that your evaluation is positive so mine should be just a confirmation.

Sam 5K is a standalone that could not play a movie glitch-free (or at least KK)? I would have thought a standalone doing one task would be more flawless than our poor PC having to deal with Norton and other background tasks.

When you refer to 60 and 24 fps, are you referring to the Hz (I have not found a fps setting yet)? After loading the latest Nvidia drivers, my television (Samsung DLP) automatically defaulted to 60 Hz. If there is a setting labeled fps, please let me know where that is!

I did disable the sidebar, but I missed that Norton is auto scanning the entire harddisk, so that is set to execute at 5AM on Sunday morning.

I'll look for Galagapos over the weekend. Thanks again for your valuable input!

TH,
Our pc came with Nvidia driver version 162.30. One of the things I like about it is that it gives the user the option to control video parameters (contrast, brightness, saturation, and gamma) on the software player's window separately from the desktop color setteings.

Just for testing purposes, I downloaded and installed what I think is the latest Nvidia driver - 169.25. The first thing I noticed is that video parameter control in the player window is no longer available. The control panel of labeled sliders is there, but none of the controls can be moved. Maybe I'm missing something, but nothing I tried would activate those controls.

I was hard pressed to see any difference in video performance between the two drivers, so I used Vista restore to go back to the point just before I installed the new driver.

While testing the Sam 5K, I played King Kong 3 times and it had at least a couple of glitches (in different places) each time. Apocalypto had a couple of minor hesitations and other HD-DVDs played with no apparent flaws. The Sam would also not play any sd dvds that had split movies. I was not going to spend that kind of money for a standalone that had such problems. To me, all things considered, this pc is a much better bang for the buck than the Sam.

Yes, the Nvidia control panel names the various frequencies as Hz rather than fps. When I'm talking progressive, I use those terms interchangeably.

In the past I liked Norton, but now I find it to be more of a PIA than it's worth. On our XP system I use a free program called Sygate Personal Firewall. It's icon sits in the system stray and it's very easy to right-click on it to either block all internet activity, allow all, or stay in a normal, fully customizable mode. Well, in Vista at least, Norton takes over firewall control and I find it almost impossible to take that control away from it. I actually have to unplug the connection. I'll be ditching Norton after the free trial. I think I'll try AVG for a bit. A friend of mine swears by it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Abulia View Post

Hi all,

I am seriously considering this PC as a solution for bringing Blu-Ray and XVids to my living room, but am curious about the sound output. Does anyone know if the HDMI link will output something that can be decoded to DTS-HD or TrueHD by an appropriate receiver, or is the machine limited to a digital 5.1 surround-sound mode? I'm not sure exactly how the decoding of these signals works.

Also, would this PC be upgradeable to newer Blu-Ray profiles through updated versions of the Blu-Ray DVD software, or does the drive cause any limitation on updates of this sort?

Many thanks!

Although I don't own a receiver that has an HDMI input, I am almost certain that this PC will output far more audio formats than DD 5.1. Hopefully someone who has this pc connected to a receiver via HDMI will report on this.

HP's DVD Play (Pdvd) software that comes pre-installed on this pc can be updated so that any new BD software will play on it.
post #88 of 336
Great thread, thanks for all the info folks! I'm interested in this unit as well. I know it's been asked but I too would like to know if the machine can bitstream the HD codecs to my Onkyo 605 receiver which can process them.

Also, can the firmware on the drive be updated to the new BluRay 2.0 spec when that shows up?
post #89 of 336
I just got one so I need to export my emails. In Outlook Express it exported the emails but it didn't tell me where. I don't know where the exported emails are.

Can someone help me? I can't wait to hook the S3330f up.

And another question, can I hook the monitor to the PC and hook my TV to the graphics board so both are used, one for general PC and one for Bluray?

Thanks,

Rich
post #90 of 336
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Abulia View Post

Also, would this PC be upgradeable to newer Blu-Ray profiles through updated versions of the Blu-Ray DVD software, or does the drive cause any limitation on updates of this sort?

It is my understanding that the physical drives themselves are fairly "dumb". They just read the files off the disc. The software players (and other hardware you have - like your graphics card and CPU) are the more important components. A recent PowerDVD upgrade added Profile 1.1 support. Unfortunately, all of the player apps currently fall short of being rock-solid it seems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raidbuck View Post

And another question, can I hook the monitor to the PC and hook my TV to the graphics board so both are used, one for general PC and one for Bluray?

No, the onboard graphics chip (and VGA out) can't be used simultaneously with a graphics card. But...the graphics card may have multiple outputs and, if so, you can probably send each of them to a different display device.
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