Minimum requirements for a 3D Blu-ray playing HTPC ? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 03:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Minimum requirements for a 3D Blu-ray playing HTPC ?

Hi guys ... So I'm thinking of building a HTPC (first one ever), and I need to know what components to use (CPU, etc.). As I'm limited on budget, I'd like to keep the total to a minimum. Once built, the HTPC will be connected to a JVC RS-46 via a Denon X4000.

It will ONLY be used for the following purposes:
>>> Play 1080p movies
>>> Play Blu-rays (3D and 2D)
>>> Stream 1080p movies (e.g. through PS3 Media Server) (Some light on-the-fly transcoding might also be needed occasionally)


It will NOT be used for gaming at all (I have consoles for that).

So please recommend me some specs. Also, I don't really like AMD and Radeon brands .. I prefer Intel and nVidia

Some questions that come to my mind:

1) Will an i3 processor be sufficient for the tasks listed above ?

2) Can the integrated Intel graphics handle 3D Blu-ray playback, or do I need a dedicated card ?

3) If I need a dedicated graphics card, what's the cheapest nVidia card I can get which can play 3D blu-rays without any problems ?

Last edited by ahmadka; 12-22-2014 at 07:34 AM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 08:57 AM
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Don't bother trying to make an HTPC play Blu-ray discs. Get a separate player for that if you want to play physical media. In fact, you stated you have consoles for games, the PS3 is a fantastic Blu-Ray player.

Not only will an i3 work, it's almost overkill. But playing 3D rips is no problem for any modern processor, and the integrated graphics are just fine. One of my HTPCs is an i3 2100T with the weakest 2000 series graphics, and it works great.

I recommend giving up on PS3MS. Try another solution such as Media Browser 3.
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post #3 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post
Don't bother trying to make an HTPC play Blu-ray discs. Get a separate player for that if you want to play physical media. In fact, you stated you have consoles for games, the PS3 is a fantastic Blu-Ray player.

Not only will an i3 work, it's almost overkill. But playing 3D rips is no problem for any modern processor, and the integrated graphics are just fine. One of my HTPCs is an i3 2100T with the weakest 2000 series graphics, and it works great.

I recommend giving up on PS3MS. Try another solution such as Media Browser 3.
Well, my PS3 and PS4 are region locked, and since I have a decent amount of different region steelbooks, I need a region free player .. But these aren't available readily in my locality, and importing one will cost almost as much as a HTPC .. This is why I'm thinking of investing in a HTPC rather than a standalone player ... HTPC can also do a ton of other things that PS3/PS4 can't, like readily play MKV files, etc ..
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 10:17 AM
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If you rip your discs then go with a HTPC. If you just want to play your discs stick with a player.

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post #5 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post
Don't bother trying to make an HTPC play Blu-ray discs. Get a separate player for that if you want to play physical media. In fact, you stated you have consoles for games, the PS3 is a fantastic Blu-Ray player.

Not only will an i3 work, it's almost overkill. .
As I said recently in another thread, I used to thing BR on HTPC wasn't worth it, but I've only had one problem in the past year (PowerDVD wouldn't update for some reason). The main reason I like it though is to avoid changing inputs on the TV.

As to the i3 comment, I would tend to agree, but my concern is they've been making the i3 for so long and so many different models, I suspect it might be possible to find one that doesn't work well (assuming aren't using a discrete video card, in which case I'm sure any one of them is probably fine).
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post #6 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, I guess I'll go with an i3 then ..

So I'll be able to play 3D Blu-rays too on software such as TMT6 and PowerDVD, WITHOUT having a dedicated graphics card ?

Also, would 4GB RAM be enough, or would 8GB be more recommended ? I'll most probably we installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 on it.
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post #7 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 10:41 AM
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Why are people suggesting a dedicated player? I ask because I literally just bought a Blu-Ray drive for my HTPC so I can move the PS3 to a different room. Power DVD has been able to play everything including 3D. Its maybe not quite as simple as a player, but it seems to be working.
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post #8 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karyk View Post
As to the i3 comment, I would tend to agree, but my concern is they've been making the i3 for so long and so many different models, I suspect it might be possible to find one that doesn't work well (assuming aren't using a discrete video card, in which case I'm sure any one of them is probably fine).
    I am confirming that an i3 is fast enough to decode full HD.  Just get a 3rd or 4th generation i3 (3xxx or 4xxx model number) that's over 3 GHz and you should be fine.
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmadka View Post
HTPC can also do a ton of other things that PS3/PS4 can't, like readily play MKV files, etc ..
I understand. I have had a PS3 since launch, and been doing HTPC since XP was the latest OS. (running GBPVR back in those days).

I have several HTPCs, XBOX 360 extenders, Amazon Fire TV (and stick), an Intel NUC running OpenELEC/Kodi, two PS3s, and I have a WHS 2011 box serving up files to all these devices, and I'm sure I left some of my toys out of the list.

When I was trying to make TMT work on my main HTPC, it was such a pain to make work right (if I ever did, maybe not), and because it never felt integrated, I gave up. Now I rip my BDs with MakeMKV and store them on the server, or I play them on my PS3. It's simple, everyone in the family understands how to use them both, and when ripped onto my server they are available on every device in the house - even iPhones, Android tablets, etc. through Plex or Media Browser 3.

I think Plex just came to the PS3 and PS4 (or it is about to), so streaming to Playstations just got a whole lot easier.
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post #10 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow, you sure have a lot of equipment !

Can you elaborate why you couldn't play a Bluray in TMT successfully ? Seems like a very simple task to me ...
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post #11 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 11:42 AM
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TMT is going to get left behind since it has been discontinued. You would be better off with PowerDVD.

I can also confirm you wouldn't need a dedicated graphics card for 3D.

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post #12 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 12:21 PM
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Does PowerDVD integrate with WMC?
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post #13 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post
Does PowerDVD integrate with WMC?
Yes, It does.

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post #14 of 16 Old 12-22-2014, 01:13 PM
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That's a big deal then. Back last time I looked, I can't remember if it wasn't there, or it didn't work right.
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post #15 of 16 Old 12-23-2014, 02:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post
I can also confirm you wouldn't need a dedicated graphics card for 3D.
I assume you have a HTPC with a processor that handles 2D and 3D blu-rays ?
Which processor are you using ?
And do you notice any stuttering during 2D or 3D playback anytime (e.g. what about high bitrate action scenes) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post
TMT is going to get left behind since it has been discontinued. You would be better off with PowerDVD.
I didn't know that, TMT was a fine product so I don't know why they dropped it !
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post #16 of 16 Old 12-24-2014, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmadka View Post
Thanks guys, I guess I'll go with an i3 then ..

So I'll be able to play 3D Blu-rays too on software such as TMT6 and PowerDVD, WITHOUT having a dedicated graphics card ?
Yeah as long as it's a modern/recent i3 you should be good. All modern Intel chipsets support FDI as well so any compatible motherboard should be good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmadka View Post
Also, would 4GB RAM be enough, or would 8GB be more recommended ? I'll most probably we installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 on it.
4GB is absolutely fine though 8GB can sometimes be more cost effective for dual-channel configurations. You'll probably never use even 4GB of RAM. As I usually say, unless you have a specific reason and know why you need more than 4GB, you don't need any more than that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadSpace10 View Post
Why are people suggesting a dedicated player? I ask because I literally just bought a Blu-Ray drive for my HTPC so I can move the PS3 to a different room. Power DVD has been able to play everything including 3D. Its maybe not quite as simple as a player, but it seems to be working.
I think because players are cheaper these days than BD drive + software + PC (the last one having a pretty hefty cost, relatively speaking). In other words, why spend hundreds of dollars when an $80-100 standalone player can do the same, play discs quickly, and use minimal power. It's not like back in the day when BD players were $500, were slow, and consumed lots of power. Today it's mature tech and economies of scale have brought prices of standalone players down to trivial levels.


But if you have a specific reason to use a PC for BD playback (like me) or if you have an HTPC already and just want to add a BD drive for playback, a PC is perfectly fine.
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