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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you've ever read "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell you understand that sometimes having more information is a bad thing because you are so overwhelmed by it all that you can't process it well enough to make the proper decision. That's the biggest problem with these forums. If you are looking for something very specific, these forums hold a ridiculous depth of knowledge and chances are you can find your answer because some one else has run into the same problem and resolved it. But if you're trying to work through a broader question its near impossible to track down what you need unless you're willing to read thru 70-100 pages of mostly unrelated posts and chase down every single rabbit hole along the way. That's how I feel, I've been digging thru forums for the last month trying to answer what I thought was a simple question and all I seem to find is more questions. So if one of you gurus can help me put this all together I would really appreciate it.


-I am building an HTPC from scratch, money is no object

-the machine will be used for TV, Music, standard DVD movies and Blu Ray movies and probably some light gaming

-I want lossless HD audio over HDMI to my receiver

-I want this all to work within WMC, initially on Vista but I'll upgrade to W7 as soon as its stable (WMC is required to pass the 'wife' test)

-equipment: 46 in Sony Bravia XBR4, Integra DTR 7.8, Paradigm Studio Reference 5.1 speakers, PS3


From what I understand, the main issue is getting true lossless HD audio over HDMI without downsampling, etc. It seems that the ATI Raedon 4800 is my best bet currently and that this thread on HD to MKV ( http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1033822 ) may solve all my problems getting the true HD audio signal over to my receiver intact.


EDIT: vladd below reminded me to add this. I've read thru parts of the XONAR thread on this forum as well and my impression was that it was buggy and the setup/config sucked and always had to be changing. If I'm in error over this, let me know. How exactly does this card work? Does it take the full HDMI signal, just pass thru the video and process the audio and send them both out over HDMI to the receiver, is that the way it works?


Can someone chime in to let me know if I'm on the right path and offer any advice or guidance. I really want to move ahead with this project but I find this all overwhelming.


thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by vladd /forum/post/16916363


Why not just buy a Xonar HDAV 1.3? You have a bitstream capable receiver, so you can convert any movies you want to archive to MKV as well as pop a disc in and play it.


ah yes, that is the other thing I meant to mention. My understanding from reading the Zonar thread on this forum (I believe this one: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1131365 ) was that it led to some buggy playback issues (missing audio) and that anytime the source audio changed (like say you're watching TV, then switch to Blu Ray, then to standard DVD, etc) you wound up having to go in and muck with settings. As I noted above, this setup has to be 100% wife friendly, if she has to switch settings everytime she wants to watch something different this wont fly as a solution.
 

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Then the 4xxx is probably your best option. You will not get full bitrate from discs > 48/16 without converting to mkv/flac first, but other than that, you'll be fine. You'll still get HD audio on all discs, just downsampled to 48/16 (which is still HD audio).
 

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Well, if money is no object, then may I suggest a single Blue Gene/L supercomputer at a low, low cost of $2,000,000. It will meet any needs you have.


As said, the Xonar HDAV is your best bet to get TrueHD and DTS-MA HD to your receiver, and it's a lot easier than messing with having to reencode audio streams to lossless flac.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by snafu7x7 /forum/post/16916153


Can someone chime in to let me know if I'm on the right path and offer any advice or guidance. I really want to move ahead with this project but I find this all overwhelming.


thank you!

Have a look at the first post here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...204&highlight=


_ _ _ _ _
 

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HD audio currently means XONAR HDAV 1.3, end of story (slim, standard or deluxe at your discrection).


It is a full LPCM 8 channel sound card just like an ATI video card, AND it can bitstream the HD audio codecs with TMT 3.


Although I'm not sure teh bitstreaming is working inside WMC with TMT3 (I know it did not in TMT2). But it will still work with downsampled 8 channel LPCM inside windows (just like the ATI card would).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ricabulla /forum/post/0


Have a look at the first post here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...204&highlight=

great, just what I was looking for, another 80 pages of posts with people going off into pissing matches on digital vs. audio, my receiver can kick your receiver's ass, etc etc etc



I really appreciate the help dude, but again too much information is a dangerous thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti /forum/post/16916735


HD audio currently means XONAR HDAV 1.3, end of story (slim, standard or deluxe at your discrection).


It is a full LPCM 8 channel sound card just like an ATI video card, AND it can bitstream the HD audio codecs with TMT 3.


Although I'm not sure teh bitstreaming is working inside WMC with TMT3 (I know it did not in TMT2). But it will still work with downsampled 8 channel LPCM inside windows (just like the ATI card would).

thank you, thats what I was looking for...just a few follow up questions:


1)what bitrate does my PS3 output at? Would that be a better option to use for my BDs rather than messing with all this nonsense?

2)a quick recommended build for this (mobo, video, sound, cpu, ram)


thank you all
 

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Do you want to store your movies on a server/local and play them at will using an amazing interface OR have real web browsing at your finger tips AND you like messing around with PC hardware? If you dont care then yes PS3 is a better option for you.


Your PS3 outputs LPCM to your Stereo without downmixing the sampling rate and bit rate - in otherwords if your 96khz/24 bit on the PS3 it will be the same sent to your receive (if your receive can support this) - on the HTPC the only way to get this is to either re-encode the audio to FLAC or buy the HDAV audio card... with the HDAV audio card you will lose the slick Media Center Interface due to the fact it requires TM... which great as a standalone player but not that well integrated in media center.


I honestly believe the HDAV is truely only necessary if you want to Bitstream OR have unaltered analog audio to a high end amp - if your ok with LPCM then go the FLAC route and forgo the HDAV audio card.


Lets set what is important to me in order:

1. Crystal Clear audio with NO alteration

2. Crystal Clear Video with NO alteration

3. Gaming - need to play COH, COD, etc.

4. Easy to use

5. Good looking case and size doesnt matter

6. On-demand playing movies OR throw in bluray disc



Motherboard - GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58

CPU - Core i7 920

Memory 6GB of DDR3 1600

Video Card: ATI 4890 - best single video card for gaming and for HTPC

Audio Card: Asus HDAV 1.3 Delux (Delux needed if you have a high end amp and want to use analog)

PowerSupply: OCZ Z Series Gold OCZZ850 850W

Case: SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum CW03B-MT ATX Media Center Case

Bluray Drive: LG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo

Storage: Thecus N5200B PRO Diskless System five-bay NAS device

Storage Drives: 5 x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA = 5TB storage



Kick A$$ $y$tem! Over $2000


If money is an object you can build a HTPC for under 400 if gaming is not a concern..... I built my HTPC and Home Server for under $900 - though the case is crap and no gaming..


All my movies are ripped to the server as MKVs using FLAC for audio - takes about 45 minutes to rip and transcode/remux the movie - very easy with open source tools.
Quote:
Originally Posted by snafu7x7 /forum/post/16916800


great, just what I was looking for, another 80 pages of posts with people going off into pissing matches on digital vs. audio, my receiver can kick your receiver's ass, etc etc etc



I really appreciate the help dude, but again too much information is a dangerous thing.


To keep the movies as is with the best audio then you will either need toWestern Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA




thank you, thats what I was looking for...just a few follow up questions:


1)what bitrate does my PS3 output at? Would that be a better option to use for my BDs rather than messing with all this nonsense?

2)a quick recommended build for this (mobo, video, sound, cpu, ram)


thank you all
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti /forum/post/16916735


HD audio currently means XONAR HDAV 1.3, end of story (slim, standard or deluxe at your discrection).


It is a full LPCM 8 channel sound card just like an ATI video card, AND it can bitstream the HD audio codecs with TMT 3.


Although I'm not sure teh bitstreaming is working inside WMC with TMT3 (I know it did not in TMT2). But it will still work with downsampled 8 channel LPCM inside windows (just like the ATI card would).
Quote:
Originally Posted by ricabullah /forum/post/16917022


I don't think so bro; check this page out at least: (next page is optional)

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1118204&page=7




_ _ _ _ _

Is that even in English? lol

No dude, I meant no offense at all, I assure you, I think its awesome that you guys are that passionate about it to put that much time into it its just not for me, I just want the least fuss for the highest quality.


A quick question though if you could clarify something for me. I understand at a very high level what the limitation is with getting the HD signal to the receiver unmolested, but what exactly is the tripping point that is causing this issue? Is it the OS, the software/players or the hardware? Or is that too simplistic a way to put it? I guess what I'm wondering is if its not a hardware limitation then I'll always have the hope that the software will catch up and make this possible (and easy) at some point in the future.


thanks for help
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanglx /forum/post/16917293


Do you want to store your movies on a server/local and play them at will using an amazing interface OR have real web browsing at your finger tips AND you like messing around with PC hardware? If you dont care then yes PS3 is a better option for you.


Your PS3 outputs LPCM to your Stereo without downmixing the sampling rate and bit rate - in otherwords if your 96khz/24 bit on the PS3 it will be the same sent to your receive (if your receive can support this) - on the HTPC the only way to get this is to either re-encode the audio to FLAC or buy the HDAV audio card... with the HDAV audio card you will lose the slick Media Center Interface due to the fact it requires TM... which great as a standalone player but not that well integrated in media center.


I honestly believe the HDAV is truely only necessary if you want to Bitstream OR have unaltered analog audio to a high end amp - if your ok with LPCM then go the FLAC route and forgo the HDAV audio card.


Lets set what is important to me in order:

1. Crystal Clear audio with NO alteration

2. Crystal Clear Video with NO alteration

3. Gaming - need to play COH, COD, etc.

4. Easy to use

5. Good looking case and size doesnt matter

6. On-demand playing movies OR throw in bluray disc



Motherboard - GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58

CPU - Core i7 920

Memory 6GB of DDR3 1600

Video Card: ATI 4890 - best single video card for gaming and for HTPC

Audio Card: Asus HDAV 1.3 Delux (Delux needed if you have a high end amp and want to use analog)

PowerSupply: OCZ Z Series Gold OCZZ850 850W

Case: SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum CW03B-MT ATX Media Center Case

Bluray Drive: LG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo

Storage: Thecus N5200B PRO Diskless System five-bay NAS device

Storage Drives: 5 x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA = 5TB storage



Kick A$$ $y$tem! Over $2000


If money is an object you can build a HTPC for under 400 if gaming is not a concern..... I built my HTPC and Home Server for under $900 - though the case is crap and no gaming..


All my movies are ripped to the server as MKVs using FLAC for audio - takes about 45 minutes to rip and transcode/remux the movie - very easy with open source tools.

Thanks stanglx, that helps alot. To be honest, at this point I dont own a ton of BD so playing them thru the PS3 is not a bad option since it will avoid alot of the hassles. But of course the ultimate goal and dream of an HTPC is to get it all from a central location so I would like the ability to move in that direction over time. I mainly just want to be in a situation where I am not limiting myself or my options for the future. Also thats some crazy ass storage, I wouldn't need that much I dont think
 

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You can go with 1 TB and add as you need... I built a windows home server over using a NAS device.. you can purchase a HP Media Smart.. they are very slick little machines for storage and much cheaper then the NAS device...


The HTPC is great for Music, DVDs, Blurays, Pics, gaming, etc... I use it for all..

GL..

Quote:
Originally Posted by snafu7x7 /forum/post/16917561


Thanks stanglx, that helps alot. To be honest, at this point I dont own a ton of BD so playing them thru the PS3 is not a bad option since it will avoid alot of the hassles. But of course the ultimate goal and dream of an HTPC is to get it all from a central location so I would like the ability to move in that direction over time. I mainly just want to be in a situation where I am not limiting myself or my options for the future. Also thats some crazy ass storage, I wouldn't need that much I dont think
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by snafu7x7 /forum/post/16917481


...but what exactly is the tripping point that is causing this issue? Is it the OS, the software/players or the hardware? Or is that too simplistic a way to put it? I guess what I'm wondering is if its not a hardware limitation then I'll always have the hope that the software will catch up and make this possible (and easy) at some point in the future.


thanks for help

Bottom line, it's the movie and or DTS/DD industry. They wanted to 'protect' their audio by creating PAP, protected audio path. Your hardware has to meet the requirements of PAP to work. So no, holding out for a software solution will not work. It's half software, half hardware. If ATI or NVidia ever get around to it, you'll see it supported by their video card's on board audio - but it's possible DTS/DD want way too much royalty fees for them to add it to their video card line.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by snafu7x7 /forum/post/16917481


thanks for help

No, you don't need help indeed, keep kidding bro.

Just waste of time.
 
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