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Ok, So I am backing up my original DVD's onto my hard drive. I know they are big, but I have 1.6 TB's of space to play with.


I am new to the HTPC idea and had two questions.


1. When I use DVD Decrypter and put the whole DVD on my hard drive, and then play it with POWERDVD...will it lose any quality? Is it still 480P?


2. Do I need any kind of special hardware to get the better picture? When I play it off my hard drive or a dvd straight from my DVD-ROM will it automatically be progessive scan? Is the DVD-ROM drive a "progressive scan player?" Or do I need some kind of hardware? A special vid card?
 

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The HTPC is a native progressive device. Even interlaced output (two interlaced fields) is made up from progresive frames.
 

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North American DVDs are MPEG2 encoded in NTSC 480i format not in 480p format.

The ability for a PC to convert the stored 480i DVD to a high PQ 480p format is a function of the DVD Decoder used on your PC and of the quality of the hardware accceleration provided to the Decoder by your graphics card. See the NVIDIA white paper on PureVideo at the NVIDIA.com Website for a description of what is possible on a PC.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMoore09
so does Decrypter degrade quality?
No.
 

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do a search on zoomplayer and ffdshow, you will have picture quality that is on par with, or superior to high end external video scaler/post-processors. also check out htpcnews for a good guide on set-up: http://htpcnews.com/main.php?id=ffdshowdvd_1


PowerDVD will not likely give you the quality that you want, especially once you have seen what is possible.


ZP is very affordable, like $20 and worth every penny.
 

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Also, dvddecrypter is alright, in my opinion DVDShrink is a lot more user friendly. Both are freeware. If you decide to use dvdshrink, make sure that you select "no compression" under the compression settings if you want to retain full quality.


With DVDdecrypter, I had problems making files that would play back with most software dvdplayers, with DVDShrink, re-author mode, I have not had 1 problem yet, over 200 rips and counting.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMoore09
Ok, So I am backing up my original DVD's onto my hard drive. I know they are big, but I have 1.6 TB's of space to play with.


I am new to the HTPC idea and had two questions.


1. When I use DVD Decrypter and put the whole DVD on my hard drive, and then play it with POWERDVD...will it lose any quality? Is it still 480P?


2. Do I need any kind of special hardware to get the better picture? When I play it off my hard drive or a dvd straight from my DVD-ROM will it automatically be progessive scan? Is the DVD-ROM drive a "progressive scan player?" Or do I need some kind of hardware? A special vid card?
1. It will look the same regardless of whether you're playing it from your HTPC straight from the original DVD or from the ripped copy on your hard drive. One nice thing about playing the HD rip is you won't get the little "hitch" that takes place when the laser has to switch layers on the original DVD.


2. You don't need special hardware to get a better picture as long as your hardware is fast enough to do the MPEG decoding and video card fast enough to do the displaying. The thing that does the "progressive scanning" is your DVD software. You can increase PERCEIVED picture quality by playing around with different codecs and with FFDShow, but recognize you're starting to get deeper into the tricky stuff - first, just get it working, then start reading. :)


I started with plain old Power DVD. Then I bought Zoomplayer (ZP) - ZP is a front end that "fits over" your existing DVD software - it doesn't actually have any MPEG codecs that come with it, which means if you just go out and buy Zoomplayer, you won't be able to play DVDs with it unless you ALSO have a copy of PowerDVD, or WinDVD, or NVDVD, or TheaterTek (the Sonic codecs), etc. I liked the extra controls and tweaks ZP gives me over my interface compared to the "standard" PowerDVD interface. But believe me, you will spend HOURS learning and messing with all the ZP settings (and will frequently screw things up so bad you'll wind up setting them all back to default and starting over again).


Once you've "mastered" ZP, you'll start getting interested in FFDShow. FFDShow is/are a bunch of video processors all bundled together that do things like scaling, de-interlacing, picture filtering, etc - that can really boost perceived picture quality. But FFDshow isn't for the faint of heart - just getting it to "talk" to your DVD codecs through Zoomplayer can be an exercise in frustration (nobody yell at me here - I've had machines that worked instantly with ZP and FFDShow with no tweaking at all, and I've had machines using identical software that absolutely refuse to get past the "couldn't connect PINS blah blah blah" message).


So basically, if you're a newbie, I'd just snag PowerDVD, WinDVD, or TheaterTek and just start watching DVDs and making sure your sound is coming out through your surround sound system properly (ie make sure you're truly getting 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS discrete sound rather than Dolby Pro Logic). Then jump up to Zoomplayer as a front end if you like (you can try it for free - it's fully enabled, just has a 3 second "nagware" dialog box until you pay the $20 and get the activation code). Then dive into the FFDShow maelstrom. Even if you stop without going to ZP and FFDShow, I think you'll be happy with the results.


Final note - I bet once you start ripping your DVD collection to your hard drive, before you start jacking with FFDShow, you start figuring out what media library front end you want to use (Windows MCE, Meedio, GotAllMedia, MediaPortal, etc). That's a whole 'nother addiction, and one that will suck you into "boy, a remote control sure would be nice". :)


--KS
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmanstan
for zoomplayer, you really can't beat the free dscaler5006 codecs, really nice. Get them here: http://sourceforge.net/project/showf...kage_id=123423 I've been relatively lucky with ffdshow, communications were all good, it was just "tweaking out that last little bit" that will really drive you insane.


The link I posted above is a pretty good starting point to get things set up.
I love DScaler; been using version 4 for my S-Video input from my satellite box, and I tried using 5 for DVD playback. Version 5 seems to work seamlessly on any box I put it on with Zoomplayer hooking in FFDShow with no problems - EXCEPT it loses video/audio sync really bad when FW/RW through a DVD, and sometimes locks up completely...


I'm using plain old Overlay mode; I haven't been able to get even VMR7 working, much less VMR9 - I don't know if that has anything to do with it or not. Radeon 9800Pro card, BTW.


--KS
 
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