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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to build a new HTPC but thought I would see how my 2010 PC system would work. It has an HDMI out. From the motherboard I ran an HDMI cable to the my AVS to test picture and sound. Compared to my $ 89 Blue Ray/DVD player the picture was much worse and I could not get any surround. I was using a 5.1 DVD concert in both the PC and Blue Ray.

I updated Intel drivers btw.

I have a 2010 Intel Core i3-540 Clarkdale Dual-Core 3.06GHz LGA 1156 73W BX80616I3540 Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics and a ASUS P7H55-M PRO LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard.

I was under the impression that the CPU sent the DVD signal to the AVR and that did the decoding. Is the older Intel HD graphics the problem? How about sound?

Can I expect a newer CPU and motherboard to work better?
 

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No, to bitstream the audio the way you wanted, you need to configure your system properly and enable the bit stream option in the playback software of your choice. It is not that simple. And Windows defaults to decode everything. Also, the graphics card and driver need to support the particular HD audio format (for BD). Not sure if your CPU is capable of HDMI 1.3 (to bit stream HD audio).


For the pictures, make sure color space is properly matched between playback software, graphics driver and the TV. They are not necessary matched out of box.


Both topics have a lot of threads here. They are extremely complex issues. If all you want is to watch BD/DVD discs, a $30 BD player can do better than a HTPC and simpler to configure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No, to bitstream the audio the way you wanted, you need to configure your system properly and enable the bit stream option in the playback software of your choice. It is not that simple. And Windows defaults to decode everything. Also, the graphics card and driver need to support the particular HD audio format (for BD). Not sure if your CPU is capable of HDMI 1.3 (to bit stream HD audio).


For the pictures, make sure color space is properly matched between playback software, graphics driver and the TV. They are not necessary matched out of box.


Both topics have a lot of threads here. They are extremely complex issues. If all you want is to watch BD/DVD discs, a $30 BD player can do better than a HTPC and simpler to configure.
"Also, the graphics card and driver need to support the particular HD audio"

There is no graphics card on my test older machine. The graphics are handled, i think, by the integrated Intel HD graphics gpu? I thought that HTPC's only need a newer CPU for 1080p and surround audio?

I thought that the only purpose of a graphics card would be for games? Does an HDMI feed from a graphics card provide a better picture or other advantages for Blu Ray disks through its hdmi port?

"Not sure if your CPU is capable of HDMI 1.3 (to bit stream HD audio)"

This may be the problem!

"If all you want is to watch BD/DVD discs, a $30 BD player can do better than a HTPC and simpler to configure."

This surprises me!

I do have a few Blu Ray 5.1 surround concert disk I was hoping to rip and access via a new PC build. HMMM
I also have a large CD collection I want to finally rip onto my PC. CD sound and stored music seems to be less of a problem.

I am amazed how complex this arrangement is in the year 2015. I thought it would almost be plug and play.
 

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There is no graphics card on my test older machine. The graphics are handled, i think, by the integrated Intel HD graphics gpu? I thought that HTPC's only need a newer CPU for 1080p and surround audio?

Integrated graphic is the same and considered as a graphics card for all intends and purposes. You will need driver support. Your CPU is new enough to have 1080p and some form of audio support although I don't know if it supports HD audio or not. Check your sound properties for supported audio format when you connected to your AVR, if DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD are not listed as supported formats, you can't bitstream BD HD audios.
I am amazed how complex this arrangement is in the year 2015. I thought it would almost be plug and play.
Nothing has changed. Microsoft focused all its HT usage on Xbox One which also sucks as HTPC BTW. Apple simply refuse to support anything with BluRay name in it.


Intel tried to help out a little bit by force all its IGPU output limited range RGB over HDMI to match default settings of all consumer TVs. However, you still have various playback software to screw it up. And folks with a desktop monitor connect via HDMI are also screwed because such monitors are typically set to display full range RGB, not limited range RGB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Check your sound properties for supported audio format when you connected to your AVR, if DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD are not listed as supported formats, you can't bitstream BD HD audios.
Do the newer Intel processors support DTS -HD and Dolby True HD?

Or In a new HTPC build what do I need to have the capability of playing DTS-HD Dolby True HD?
 

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Yes they do. You have to use the Intel's driver to get HD audio support, not the basic drivers included in the Windows OS. But the drivers Intel released often broke the HD audio support from time to time. On top that, some AVRs like Onkyo has known EDID compatibility issue which will cause HD audio formats not show up as supported.


Graphics card and drivers are just one factor. You also need to configure the Windows sound settings (to 2-ch stereo IIRC) and need a playback software that actually supports bitstreaming. Not all software supports bit streaming. And there are only a few paid commercial software can fully decode and playback DTS-HD audio (if you don't want to use bitstreaming).


So back to what I mentioned above, a BD player is easier, cheaper to playback even the ripped files (depending on the player). Sony players, for example, can play variety of media files including those with HD audio.
 

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If you have a Clarkdale CPU and a H55, H57 or Q57 motherboard, you can bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-MA over HDMI. Outputting 8-channel LPCM over HDMI is also supported.
Source: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2901/3


Check that you have installed the Intel MEI (Management Engine Interface) driver. See comments by @renethx in this thread: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/26-ho...ts-hd-audio-bitstreaming-79.html#post18338895


Also check that you have installed the latest Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver. The driver on the Asus official website is nearly 5 years old, so I suggest that you try the one from the Intel official website instead.
If you have Windows Vista / Windows 7 (64-bit):
https://downloadcenter.intel.com/do...ator-Driver-Windows-7-64-Windows-Vista-64-exe
Or, if you have Windows Vista / Windows 7 (32-bit):
https://downloadcenter.intel.com/do...ccelerator-Driver-Windows-7-Windows-Vista-exe


If you are using MPC-HC, press the O key to go to Options. Next, navigate to Internal Filters. Click on the Audio decoder button. On the Audio Settings tab, under Bitstreaming (S/PDIF, HDMI), make sure that you have enabled bitstreaming for the formats that your AV Receiver can decode. Also in the Options window, navigate to Output (it's listed under Playback), and, under Audio Renderer, if you open the droplist you will see that the name of your AV Receiver is in there twice (once without DirectSound, once with it). For bitstreaming to work, you need to pick the one with DirectSound.
 

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Bitstream HD audio from ripped blu-rays and playback ripped CDs?

You know, if your mobo can boot from USB you can get OpenELEC up and running very quickly. Then just change your Kodi settings level from Beginner to Advanced and enable all the bitstreaming formats your AVR supports under Settings->System->Audio Output->Enable passthrough. Your AVR should show up as the "Passthrough output device" and if not toggle that field until you get something that relates to your setup (with sound working, you'll hear it) that says HDA Intel PCH.

Leave all the windows nonsense behind unless you need the HTPC to do more than just playback. If you want to maintain a windows PC, then just install Kodi and follow similar setups but you will have to have the Intel ME and graphics drivers configured as well as the sound properties HDMI "allow exclusive control" checkbox checked for Kodi to use WASAPI audio.

Note for openelec: you'll need one flash drive that you'll make into the "installer" and one as the "target." I have a ton of them laying around, so I don't usually bother mentioning it. It runs snappy from USB
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Bitstream HD audio from ripped blu-rays and playback ripped CDs?

You know, if your mobo can boot from USB you can get OpenELEC up and running very quickly. Then just change your Kodi settings level from Beginner to Advanced and enable all the bitstreaming formats your AVR supports under Settings->System->Audio Output->Enable passthrough. Your AVR should show up as the "Passthrough output device" and if not toggle that field until you get something that relates to your setup (with sound working, you'll hear it) that says HDA Intel PCH.

Leave all the windows nonsense behind unless you need the HTPC to do more than just playback. If you want to maintain a windows PC, then just install Kodi and follow similar setups but you will have to have the Intel ME and graphics drivers configured as well as the sound properties HDMI "allow exclusive control" checkbox checked for Kodi to use WASAPI audio.

Note for openelec: you'll need one flash drive that you'll make into the "installer" and one as the "target." I have a ton of them laying around, so I don't usually bother mentioning it. It runs snappy from USB
Wow! I just read the openelec stuff and it sounds fun! Thank you for pointing this out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for taking time to offer solutions. I have been combing through the HTPC threads and this information is not often straight forward. Looks like I don't have to spend money on a new PC system.
 

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I haven't found a suitable DLNA playback solution yet other than HTPCs or boxes (Roku 3) with MediaBrowser or Plex running on them. For example, using my Smart TV or a PS3 to playback over DLNA, the interface has absolutely zero WAF, and I don't like the way FF/RW work, if they do at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My Sony BD player plays ripped content quite well (with DTS-HD support), other than occasional lock up, either via local drive or stream over network. So, there goes another advantage of HTPC :)
So you rip media on your pc, Blu Ray disks, cd , etc and then play that content via network through your Sony player? What format do you rip your blue ray disks into?
How about music?

I used the wireless interface on my Samsung BD for Netflix when I first got it but it is a poor interface.
 

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mkv, mp4 and other popular formats. It's the media server sharing software that really cares about the file formats. Video should be AVC/H.264 encoded.


Various popular music file formats are also supported by my Sony.


Interface and UI responsiveness is a different story. These sub-$100 players can't afford to run Intel Core processors :)
 
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