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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone comment on the video playback quality differences between a $150 stand alone player like the Pioneer DV563a etc. via component output VS. HTPC using radeon card, theater tek, and FDSHOW via VGA cable?


The display is an Infocus X1 on an 88" screen. I only want to go HTPC if DVD playback differences are MAJOR! Otherwise, I prefer the WAF of a standalone type setup.


Sorry if this has been answered before on the forum. If so, please help me with a link. Any advise would be MUCH appreciated. Who has both setups that can share results? or better yet screen shots?


Thanks!
 

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i have a toshiba sd 9100, which was one of the first progressive scan dvd players ever made, & it cost almost $1000 when i bought it about 4 years ago. it's a reference-grade dvd player that i connected via component to my sammy dlp. even w/ this high-quality dvd player, i still saw the color banding & "clay faces" for which the sammy dlp's are notorious. i recently built an htpc & connected it via dvi. the pq is noticeably better. at this point i have disconnected the toshiba & connected it to our 13" tube tv in our bedroom so that our daughter can watch barney. we use the htpc exclusively now for our viewing needs. hth. good luck.
 

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What sort of computer can you buy with all that stuff and is wife-friendly for $150?! Show me the way....otherwise it isn't really a fair comparison.


B.


PS It looks like the video processing is decent on that projector, but only you could say how it looks currently (w/ a standalone). And, what do you consider major?? Like the jump in picture quality from a sub-$400 DVD player to an $800 player?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Brian B
What sort of computer can you buy with all that stuff and is wife-friendly for $150?! Show me the way....otherwise it isn't really a fair comparison.


B.


PS It looks like the video processing is decent on that projector, but only you could say how it looks currently (w/ a standalone). And, what do you consider major?? Like the jump in picture quality from a sub-$400 DVD player to an $800 player?
I wonder if a HTPC playing DVDs can compete with a Vinc D1 at 720p. I can find little room for improvement even on 106" screen. I'm going to build a HTPC for other reasons as I really don't think it will be better than my D1.


Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies. I'm simply trying to decide if a $150 standalone DVD player using 480P output will give me "good enough" results versus a radeon based HTPC that would be used for nothing more than dvd playback.


I'm interested in those who have ran both and realize that the WAF is an important attribute. Not just squeezing every last drop out of PQ at the expense of usability and hassle.


p.s. Oh yes, I realize the HTPC would cost much more than $150 to build too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
N3W81E, while I appreciate your reply, I don't understand why you bothered to post a response if you feel I was being "ignorant"?


Besides, you asked almost this same question in one of your other posts. "PQ - LVD-2002 or HTPC"

here
 

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I can't comment on the PQ except to say that my setup looks better than any setup I've even seen (stores, friends, etc). Radeon 9600, TT, ffdshow via VGA to Elite 510.


I can however comment on WAF (or even better, KAF). The HTPC wins hands down. It is sooooo much easier to watch a DVD w/ my HTPC vs. any STB I've ever heard of or ever seen.


An HTPC brings the concept of ease-of-use to a completely new level.


Note: ease of use is different from ease-of-setup. To get an HTPC to the level of completely stupid-simple, takes a certain level of expertise.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jwerner
Thanks for the replies. I'm simply trying to decide if a $150 standalone DVD player using 480P output will give me "good enough" results versus a radeon based HTPC that would be used for nothing more than dvd playback.


I'm interested in those who have ran both and realize that the WAF is an important attribute. Not just squeezing every last drop out of PQ at the expense of usability and hassle.


p.s. Oh yes, I realize the HTPC would cost much more than $150 to build too.
I have a standard $150 DVD 480p player that looked just fine on a 32" screen. But, when I got my 106" screen it looked like TOTAL crap. Terrible analog wavy video, grain, and solid colors (especially red) looked terrible. At first I thought it was my 25 foot component video cable but it was the DVD player. I got a Vinc D1 DVD player with digital DVI output and run it at 720p with my 720p Z2 projector and it looks almost HDTV-like.


If you just want to play DVDs in the best possible quality a HTPC is probably not needed and more trouble and cost that it's worth. If you can display a digital DVI 720p image I'd get the Vinc D1 DVD in a second. It's only $199 so you'll also save a TON of money. However, don't get the Vinc D1 unless you can display digital DVI 720p. Matter of fact, if you can't display digital DVI at 720p a HTPC is probably a waste of money also.


Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Unfortunatly, my projector (infocus x1) only accepts a VGA input. Therefore, I don't know if I'd be doing the Bravo D1 any justice using the component output. Perhaps the Liteone LVD-2002 would be a better unit?


Or, just hook up my computer from the other room into the HT equipment. It has a radeon 8500 and the Asus A7n8x can pass digital to my receiver. I can tinker with "myhtpc" and add an IRman to the mix. Perhaps I can get great dvd playback results with ease of use? It's finding the time to set all this up. lol.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jwerner
Unfortunatly, my projector (infocus x1) only accepts a VGA input. Therefore, I don't know if I'd be doing the Bravo D1 any justice using the component output. Perhaps the Liteone LVD-2002 would be a better unit?


Or, just hook up my computer from the other room into the HT equipment. It has a radeon 8500 and the Asus A7n8x can pass digital to my receiver. I can tinker with "myhtpc" and add an IRman to the mix. Perhaps I can get great dvd playback results with ease of use? It's finding the time to set all this up. lol.
VGA is analog so I'd bet you could get a better, easier, and cheaper DVD playback from a dedicated DVD player for $150.


You may eventually get "better" resolution picture from a HTPC setup but that doesn't mean it's really better. For example, a HTPC may take a minute to boot. A HTPC interface may be more of a kludge than a dedicated DVD player. And most importantly, I've seen a lot of HTPC outputs that just look TERRIBLE because everything is setup in a PC to be sharp, not deliver convincing theater-like video. You actually need some good smoothing to reduce jaggies. Good DVD players can be really good at this and give a very theater-like image. But lots of PC DVD playbacks look pixelated and too digital. I don't know about you, but I want a theater-like image, not a pixelated computer image.


Tim
 

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Tim, you really should know what you're talking about before you post.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rbmcgee
Tim, you really should know what you're talking about before you post.
You should really specify what you're talking about if you're going to shoot your mouth off. Also, you should read what I said because I gave a lot of "could" and "may" qualifications in there. Meaning, if you don't do it right, HTPC may look worse than when you started.


Tim
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jwerner
Unfortunatly, my projector (infocus x1) only accepts a VGA input. Therefore, I don't know if I'd be doing the Bravo D1 any justice using the component output. Perhaps the Liteone LVD-2002 would be a better unit?
I don't know abou the Lite-on but the Samsung and Bravo units have pretty much universally been acknowledged to have BAD component outputs. They are really best suited for DVI output.
 

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Another noooooobie with no class.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jvincent
I don't know abou the Lite-on but the Samsung and Bravo units have pretty much universally been acknowledged to have BAD component outputs. They are really best suited for DVI output.
Exactly, and the reason I qualified the D1 solution only if he had a digital DVI input. The component outputs are not BAD, I've seen a LOT worse. But, they're night and day compared to the digital DVI output.


Tim
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rbmcgee
Another noooooobie with no class.
Sorry, I'd be willing to bet I've been around longer than you. As for being classless, I think that was you attacking me without being able to give any specifics. Or is it that you can't give specifics? The conversation here was very pleasant until you entered. So who has no class? When you point your finger at someone else, 3 fingers are pointing back at yourself.


So, would you like to just drop it or give specifics to defend your most rude and classless statement? Or, maybe you should read again what I said before you proceed.


Forget it, consider it dropped as I found the ignore user feature. Have your last word if you like.


Tim
 

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Hey guys, let's tone down the comments please and keep things more professional and less personal. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, though I have no idea why someone would come into the lion's den just to kill one of her cubs, so to speak. If the posts can't stay less personal, then I will be forced to close this thread. Let's all play nice....:D


And before you post, please remember where you are - the HTPC forum, so if you are a STB person, you might want to consider posting elsewhere - just friendly advice.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Sorel
Hey guys, let's tone down the comments please and keep things more professional and less personal. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, though I have no idea why someone would come into the lion's den just to kill one of her cubs, so to speak. If the posts can't stay less personal, then I will be forced to close this thread. Let's all play nice....:D


And before you post, please remember where you are - the HTPC forum, so if you are a STB person, you might want to consider posting elsewhere - just friendly advice.
I'm a HTPC person but can still be critical where criticism is due. Or are we all just supposed put our blinders on and gush over what we have as if the rest of the world doesn't exist? Is this forum just a place to pat each other on the back and give out addaboys for being so superior to the rest of the world?


No where did I say that HTPC sucks or killed any cubs. So please don't insinuate that I did. I was just saying that if done poorly, it can look terrible! And in that case a dedicated DVD option would be better. If you're ready to buy the right equipment, HTPC can be very nice. But, if you ONLY want HTPC for DVD playback and your monitor only displays lower resolution VGA a dedicated DVD option may be better (and cheaper). Are we not secure enough to hear these words?


Anyway, I'm on this forum because I'm looking for new products that would allow me to use my PC in my HT. I have a PC hooked up now, but just as a test and I'm unable to find hardware and software that I like and will do what I'm interested in. HTPC is a very immature market and I'm having a hard time finding the right products. In general, I've been unimpressed with what HTPC can provide. I can watch DVDs, but I can do that easier, cheaper, and in many cases better with a $200 dedicated DVD solution. I can use HTPC for a audio jukebox, but I could do that with an old PC or just about any DVD player that supports MP3s. Another use I have for HTPC is to burn DVDs either from another DVD or from an old source. This again is kinda a kludge and I'm not totally happy with it yet. Finally, and the main reason I'm here, I want to record HD programming to hard drive as well as pause live TV. Again, so far I haven't been very impressed with the software and in this case the hardware doesn't exist that I can find for less than $8k.


HTPC is a cool market, but also very immature. Saying so doesn't mean that I'm not a HTPC guy and don't support it or am out to kill your cubs. It's just stating the truth as I see it.


Tim
 

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Ok, I'll take a stab at the original question:

Quote:
Can someone comment on the video playback quality differences between a $150 stand alone player like the Pioneer DV563a etc. via component output VS. HTPC using radeon card, theater tek, and FDSHOW via VGA cable?


The display is an Infocus X1 on an 88" screen. I only want to go HTPC if DVD playback differences are MAJOR! Otherwise, I prefer the WAF of a standalone type setup.
Ok, since I happen to own an InFocus X1 for my bedroom setup, and I own the Pioneer DV-563 for DVDA and SACD, and I have a couple of Panasonic standalone players (RP-82 and RP-56), I have actually made the comparisons requested.


The HTPC running TheaterTek, ffdShow, and with a Radeon card is the hands down winner!! The custom resolution ability, along with the excellent scaling and deinterlacing provides better color saturation, better gray scale tracking, and most noticable of all, MUCH better shadow detail than the STB counterparts.


The second best combination is the Panasonic (either the RP-82 or RP-56), fed via S-Video (and NOT component!) directly to the X1's S-Video input. The Panasonic, though having the best hardware MPEG2 decoder in the business, still is no match overall for the HTPC on film based material, though I would give it the edge on video based footage. I mentioned using S-Video only because the component inputs on the X1 are noticably poorer than the S-Video, a situation unique to that model of DLP. Also, the software on the X1 allows for more adjustment of colr than on the component input, giving the user more control of the final image quality.


The poorest of the three solutions is the Pioneer DV-563A, but I bought it for its combination of SACD and DVDA playback at a small price, not for its DVD video abilities. It is noticably poorer at deinterlacing both film and video, and demonstrates enough artifacts for me personally to consider it unusable in a medium to high end system. If you want to go the STB route, I highly recommend the Panasonic units.

Quote:
I'm interested in those who have ran both and realize that the WAF is an important attribute. Not just squeezing every last drop out of PQ at the expense of usability and hassle.
Out of the box, the STB will win, but in the long run, the HTPC once again has the potential to be far more friendly than any STB could ever imagine. By using a combination of Girder and a programmable remote, you can set up macros and automation information that are in a totally different league than conventional STB players. Also, TheaterTek can set the movie start point to bypass the FBI warnings, trailers, etc. and then start the movie with the audio track of choice, and can even tweak up the AR, all on a DVD by DVD basis. Try that with any STB - It's just not gonna happen!

Quote:
You actually need some good smoothing to reduce jaggies. Good DVD players can be really good at this and give a very theater-like image. But lots of PC DVD playbacks look pixelated and too digital. I don't know about you, but I want a theater-like image, not a pixelated computer image.
Sorry, and I don't mean to be offensive, but this is just plain old incorrect. The "smoothing" of jaggies that you are talking about is known as "deinterlacing" and is designed into the MPEG decoder. If the HTPC image looks "pixelated", while a STB image appears "theater-like" (I assume that you are viewing these on the SAME display, right?), either the person setting up the HTPC doesn't have a clue, or the viewer actually prefers a less than accurate image - I would have to view these two examples for myself to determine why you think that and to see what went wrong. The HTPC presents an accurate image, and sometimes people mistake poor transfer of the original for poor image quality from the HTPC - you know, garbage in = garbage out. :D


Both devices display "pixels". It's just that the STB is locked to one certain resolution while the HTPC can be customized to display whatever resolution is desired. They're the same old pixels, though...:)
 
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