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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm putting together a HT using a front pj (InFocus 530 or NEC LT150) and an HTPC.


I've been searching this forum for info on how to put together a good HTPC, and have an idea of what I want to do, but I haven't been able to find a post which outlines the issues of going HW (something like a Realmagic Hollywood + card) vs. SW MPEG decoding (like WinDVD etc).


I was always thought that HTPC HW decoding produced a better image than SW decoding , before reading this forum. Everyone here seems to go SW, but why?


Can someone direct me to a good post or answer this question for me please.


Ben Bell
 

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First, I think that the HW/SW lines have become somewhat blurry. It is no longer black and white.


When computer DVD players first started, there were few computers with the horsepower to decode the MPEG stream. As such, there was a market for PC Card/PCI card MPEG decoders. This was mainly a function of processor power.


Then came software players. They did all of the decoding in software.


Today we have a mix. There are many "software" players that utilize the hardware of the video card. As such, they are a hybrid.


Does that answer your question?


-Steve
 

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I think that depends on what you are looking for.


I think that most people here would tell you that an ATI Radeon with the ATI player is going to give you the best image.


-Steve


p.s. need to eat lunch will post more later.
 

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Hi Ben,

Welcome to the forum. First off, you didn't happen to go to school near the Annapolis, MD area did you?


Secondly,

I agree with Steve that when DVD first appeared the processors were much slower (300Mhz or less), AGP slots didn't exist and the most memory you could get on a video card was about 8Mb. In essence the hardware decoder was required. Now that the hardware has upped the anty a bit with video cards and processors as well as Operating systems that are more optimized for this use it makes no real sense to take up another IRQ and use something on a slower bus(ISA or PCI) as opposed to AGP when the software player perform great and makes use of the more powerful machine's equipment more efficiently.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dan:


Sorry - I'm from Toronto, Ontario. You must be thinking of another Ben Bell.


So, the general consensus is SW decoding is better because you're not limited by your HW decoder's processing power - but by the CPU/graphics card, which are generally more powerful than a HW decoder, right?


That makes good sense, but does that mean that a HW decoding solution won't produce a great image? Is there anyone out there using a RealMagic Hollywood Plus with a FP?


On the SW side, it looks like a GeForce 2 GTS or ATI Radeon cards are the way to go. Most the ATI cards have a DVI out. If my projector supports both DVI and VGA, what's the better solution? DVI sends 1's and 0's to the projector, so does that mean that the projector's scaler is being used? Using VGA, I can set the output to the PJ's native resolution. Can I do the same with DVI?


Thanks.


Ben Bell
 

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The fewer A/D D/A conversions the better. I would go with the DVI.


-Steve
 
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