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Okay, I need some help here. I am entertaining the idea of using an HTPC in my home theater project but I dont really understand how it all goes together. I have a combonation reciever, and DVD player which is progressive and that has surround sound connections on the back. If I want to play DVD's through the HTPC will I be able to pass it through this unit in order to take advantage of all the sound fields and such? Also, is there a way to start DVD's at the first chapter instead of having to fumble with the menu at the beginning of the disc? I guess what I am trying to accomplish is a more realistic theater experience rather than a "look at me push buttons until I get the movie started and take forever to change discs" Help! I have the following computers at my disposal and dont know if they would fit the application or not. Desktop computer is about 5 years old, not sure of graphics card type. I have a Sony Vaio laptop with the ATI Radeon card and DVD player, writer, etc. What kind of shopping list do I need to put together or can I just buy a piece of software?
 

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Well,


You have a lot of reading ahead of you. You can do all the things you asked via htpc. You will need a new pc though. I can tell you what I bought, as it has been rock solid.


Hardware:


Abit NF7-S v2.0 motherboard

AMD Barton 2500+ w/stock cooling fan(overclocked to 3200+)

Corsair XMS 512MB memory DDR400

ATI 8500DV (or any of the newer ATI AIW cards)

WD 120GB 8mb 7200RPM Hard drive

Sony DVD drive

Antec Sonata case (although I'd probably get the overture)

Airboard wireless keyboard/mouse


Software:

Zoomplayer (for dVD playback) requires purchase of windvd filters

myhtpc - nice frontend, but slightly complex, perhaps you'd prefer mainlobby



The motherboard has an optical audio ouput that you would connect to your receiver (assuming your receiver decodes all the latest surround formats. If not, it's time to upgrade. I'd look at the Denon 2803 or higher).


Basically, you'll put the dvd into the computer, turn on the receiver, and start up mainlobby. From there you will choose "watch dvd" and away you go. The DVD player that you currently have should not be used to pass a signal to the pc.


At the very least, you will be able to put a dvd into the computer and push play and get a very acceptable picture. From there, you can tweak to your hearts content.


You also need to spend a couple hundred hours reading about all the software and such that is needed to do exactly what you want. It's a fun but daunting experience.


Russ
 

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I don't know about 100s of hours of reading. All dropzone7 wants is a DVD player/scaler.


DropZone, go get Theatertek (it allows you to set start and chapter points for any disc). IMO Theatertek has the best feature set (and the image and sound quality is also excellent). If your laptop processor is 700Mhz+ then you should be able to play DVDs. You may need Powerstrip to set a custom resolution & timing for the ATI video card. You will use the VGA output to connect to your PJ (assuming no DVI).


If you plan on adding future capabilities (HD tuner, scaler for external sources, quality analog sound card, etc.) then it might be worthwhile to build a new quiet PC from scratch. However, your current laptop should be adequate for DVD playback.
 

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I've been browsing this forum as well and thinking about putting together a HTPC. Currently I have an older surround receiver only capable of dolby pro-logic. What should I look for in an audio card/receiver combination as far as the output/inputs go.


I must say I don't quite understand the audio setup
 

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Quote:
AMD Barton 2500+ w/stock cooling fan(overclocked to 3200+)
Whatever you do, DON'T overclock your HTPC. Not for starters, anyway. Get your machine working and stable. Overclocking is a hobby best left for later
 

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Greg_R,


I say 100's of hours because dropzone doesn't just want a dvd player, he wants to skip to the first chapter without all the fbi warnings (ifoedit, dvdshrink, dvddecrypter, etc) and wants a more "movie-like" experience, (trailers, fp, etc), and he 'seems' to have a limited knowledge of computers. I'm not trying to be rude, but before you can even begin to set up powerstrip for a fp, you need to understand a bit about it (native resolution, etc). So, it seems that it would take some serious research.


Kevbrim,

I would suggest looking at a motherboard or soundcard that has spdif output. This is a digital audio output. Then you need to get a DD/DTS receiver and connect the digital audio output from the computer into the digital audio input of the receiver. Finally, in your software DVD player, you specify that you want the audio out to be passed to spdif.


Work permit,

With the NF7-S and the XP2500+, overclocking to 3200+ is as simple as selecting the 3200+ configuration in the bios. It's literally a single change. Everything runs at the default voltages and there is no need for additional cooling. The NF7-S is quite remarkable in this regard. I have only experienced a single random reboot, which I think is more because of my graphics card. At any rate, it's too easy to not do.


Russ
 
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