AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an LT150 running off a standard DVD player now. and I am really satisfied with the picture...

But I keep hearing on this forum that an HTPC generated picture is far superior...


I am really curious now..

Does any one have photos comparing an HTPC with a DVD player with the LT150 (or any other pj)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
402 Posts
You'll probably get a better response over in the htpc forum - those guys are always looking to show off http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif


------------------

Darren Rogers


God Bless America,

Land that I love.

Stand beside her, and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans, white with foam

God bless America, My home sweet home.



NEC VT540 & HTPC in my stealth theather
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
846 Posts
The picture from my RP56 progressive player via component outputs is very very very close to what I get from my HTPC.

Well, at least in one test.


In fact (funny story incoming)...


I was showing off the LT150 to one of the AVS members on Sunday and we both agreed the picture was pretty close between the RP56 and the HTPC. About 85% or so.


Then I realized...progressive output was OFF! Turned in on and it was very very very close.


The material used for the comparison was some chapter in The Fifth Element.


For more info about a previous test we did a while ago see: http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum10/HTML/008031.html


--Les
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,027 Posts
I don't think the difference between a 480P DVD player and an HTPC will show up much in a static screen shot. It's not a question of sharpness. The problems I saw with the 480P input were with edges of objects in motion and other scaling artifacts. I found the straight 480P output pretty annoying. The HTPC was much better, and in fact I consider either an HTPC or an equivalent scaler that can put out 1024x768 to be a necessity to get the best viewing experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,099 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by schintam:
I have an LT150 running off a standard DVD player now. and I am really satisfied with the picture...
Well then, don't worry, be happy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
I'd have to concur with Jim. I tried several progressive scan DVD players (Sony, JVC, Panasonic), and all of them produced satisfactory images of 16x9 DVDs on my LT150. However, small details looked fuzzy, and non-anamorphic DVDs and DVDs mastered from non-film material looked awful.


I bought a HTPC, and the image produced is noticeably sharper, more detailed, and free of artifacts.


When I first bought the LT150, I had no intention of using a HTPC. At least, until I saw one in a shootout. It is no contest. HTPC is superior.


There is a downside, however -- configuring your HTPC can be a colossal hassle. It took me a week of tweaking to set everything up. But now that it's working, I'm not going back, ever!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
855 Posts
Lurker could you quantify the picture improvement? 5%, 10% etc improvement?




------------------

Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.
MyHTSetup
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,227 Posts
The effective improvement is relative to the internal scaler of the projector....


For me I am the owner of a Davis unit and these are known to have a poor scaler... The difference in my setup is huge but I am ready to accept that a more recent machine with better scaling circuitry would narrow the gap...


------------------
New email [email protected]
HTPC without using windows... GUI Front Ends for Home Theater
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
873 Posts
For me I am the owner of a Davis unit and these are known to have a poor scaler... The difference in my setup is huge but I am ready to accept that a more recent machine with better scaling circuitry would narrow the gap...


This is probably the case, but doesn't apply to the LT150 - the internal scaler is pretty poor.


My experiences have been that with a good transfer, the difference is not that great, but the poorer the transfer the bigger the difference between sources. 'Austin Power's TSWSM' is an example of something that seems to look pretty good regardless of the source. 'Bring it On' would be an example of something that looks pretty different depending on the source. But my eyes were so watery from laughing, I may not be a good judge.


Kelly
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,472 Posts
I just got my LT150 yesterday.


I first connected my non-progressive Pioneer DVD player to the projector and thru in Castaway. The picture was pretty good.


Then I connected my HTPC and WOW! Better clarity, detail, and depth. Bright scenes were very CRT-like and the dark scenes weren't bad either. This was all with very little tweaking. Just set the display to 1024x768 @ 60Hz.


If you already have a decent PC I don't think it costs very much to make it an HTPC - it almost comes for free when putting together a new PC.


Aopen 12x DVD player for $50-60, Radeon LE video card around $80, and SB Live Value II for $50. The Aopen comes with PowerDVD player and the Radeon gets you the ATI dvd player.


The other option is to get a progressive dvd player but the nice thing about the HTPC is that you can also use it as a scaler to line double NTSC sources by adding a video capture card(my next project).

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
I was using a Sony non-progressive DVD player initially with my LT-150 and thought the picture looked pretty good. Not great but certainly watchable.


Then I hooked up my Dell laptop and watched a movie with WinDVD - much smoother and more enjoyable picture. However, it was a hassel to keep brining my laptop and docking station to and from work so I decided to get a dedicated HTPC.


Although I have built a few computers before, I really do not have the time to tweak and troubleshoot so a pre-built box seemed best. I heard great things about the AVS HTPC's but the one I liked was out of my price range. I read about Cellar Cinemas on the HTPC forum and got one of their boxes.


I just got it set up last night and found that I now have a truly awesome picture. Craig at Cellar Cinema's configured it for my LT-150 and 4:3 screen. I watched movies that had been problematic before (cave scenes from Castaway, and dark scences from Crouching Tiger) and found that these images all looked substantially better.


I am not sure if this is primarily because of a better video card or the customized tweaking that Craig did. However, in my system the improvement of a really well set-up HTPC is equal to going from non-progressive to Prog DVD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
It's very important to understand the distinction between a very good progressive dvd player and a not so good dvd player.


If you use very good progressive dvd player - and by that I mean one using the Faroudja chip - then the difference between that player and an HTPC is very small. In some cases - video based dvd's - the HTPC will be worse.


I would recommend you try a Panasonic RP56 for less than $300 before you go to the expense and hassle of configuring (and operating!) an HTPC.


I have a Skyworth DVD player (Faroudja-based) connected to my LT150 and the picture is just stunning. My WinDVD-based Dell 8000 Inspiron laptop however, combs badly. Very badly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the answers...


rickforrest, What I have now is an RP91..and as I mentioned I am really impressed with it.


I probably should do an actual a/b comparison before plunging into the HTPC route..


Any one in central NJ with an HTPC they would like to show off http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
schintam -


By all accounts the RP91 is a great player. But it doesn't have the Faroudja chip. It has the Genesis chip, I believe.


The Faroudja chip is worth checking out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,027 Posts
The problem is not in the deinterlacing, it's from the scaling, going from 480P to 1024x768. On properly flagged film-based DVD's, any progressive scan DVD player that recognizes the 3:2 pulldown sequence will perform equivalently for deinterlacing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,225 Posts
With respect, I must disagree with the above opinions. Progressive-scan DVD players do indeed combine fields in the digital domain and I am fully prepared to believe Faroudja chip-based players are superior to all others, although I haven't seen them all. However, the output of an NTSC progressive-scan DVD player is a 480p analog signal. When fed to a native 480p projector such as the Piano, this may indeed be the equal of a HTPC.


However, most projectors are higher resolution than a Piano - SVGA, XGA, or even better. This means that the 480p signal undergoes analog-to-digital conversion in the projector, then is scaled by the projector scaler to the native panel resolution, then is converted once more to an analog signal which drives the display panel. Three crucial operations (A/D conversion, digital scaling, D/A conversion) have occurred to the original 480p signal, and each such step was performed by the projector circuitry. Sadly, even a $5K projector has relatively inexpensive scaler and conversion circuitry, and almost all of them are fixed at 60Hz refresh rates, which compromise motion smoothness via the telecine (aka 3-2-3-2 framing). Not to mention, embedding the sync signals in the RGB of the component video signal is by it's very nature, an image degradation versus the RGBHV interface.


A properly configured HTPC will reconstruct the 480p frames from the interlaced fields on the DVD, then scale the result in the (very high quality) scaler of the video board to the precise native projector resolution, and deliver the result over a superior RGBHV interface at a refresh rate such as 72Hz that is an even multiple of the original film's 24fps. All of these steps were performed in the digital domain, with but a single D/A conversion in the very high quality video card circuitry.


Sorry to be so blunt, but unless you have a very expensive A/V projector or external scaler (containing the afore-mentioned Faroudja chip), IMHO you cannot come within 75% of the performance potential of a properly configured HTPC and projector. With an unlimited budget, 90-95% of the HTPC performance would be achievable at 10X the cost of a HTPC and an inexpensive presentation-grade projector.


We are benefiting from over a decade of intense competition in video card design, the average modern video card exceeds the image quality of the very expensive mini-computers and workstations of just a few years back - the very hardware that was used to master many Hollywood movies would be considered less than state-of-the-art in many home theaters today, including mine. The inexpensive business presentation-grade digital projectors have gone through a similar evolution, and are very very good, fully the equal of any dedicated A/V projector, although often hampered by fewer inputs and features compared to the (typically 4X more expensive) A/V model with the same light engine and image quality.


If you have any PC literacy at all, you can have the very best cutting-edge video via HTPC - even if you buy such rather than constructing your own PC. In many cases, all you have to do is specify your projector model to the vendor of the HTPC, and they can optimize the PC for that unit. Even better, if you buy them as a pair, the vendor could send you a matched and pre-calibrated PC/Projector pair.


I will be the first to admit that the HTPC can frustrate you from time to time - mine does so to me at least twice a year. I was able to minimize the pain by giving up on the concept of a general purpose computer and running just two applications on a dedicated HTPC, the DVD player and the DScaler application I use for TV viewing. I consciously avoided a network connection, modem, or any software not related to the HTPC function. Occasionally I play a PC game but I avoid anything that has a complex install program that changes any part of the multimedia configuration. As a result I probably spend more time overall tweeking and calibrating my A/V receiver than my HTPC.


And the video is absolutely stunning, always.


Gary

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Gary McCoy:
And the video is absolutely stunning, always.


Gary

Then you must not have any video based dvd's, no anime dvd's, and no improperly flagged dvd's.
a href= http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_8_3/dvd-benchmark-progressive-shootout-2-8 -2001.html#AVS HTPC w/ WinDVD 3.0


If you don't, you're all set. If you do, you're going to have problems. And you'd be surprised at the number of improperly flagged dvd's out there.


For me, I'll take scaling artifacts that *cannot* be seen from my viewing distance over poor de-interlacing any day of the week. But that's what works for me, maybe not for someone else. Bottom line - each person has to decide for himself.


[This message has been edited by rickforrest (edited 09-21-2001).]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,225 Posts
My own technique for dealing with video-source DVDs is simply to have a second software DVD player (CineMaster 2000) which has been optimized for video. I use WinDVD for film-source DVDs. Cinemaster has a few problems with fast forward and rewind on video source, but the artifacting is minimal. I also can't reliably get it to play DTS sound but I can get WinDVD to do so, and I've never yet had a case where I needed DTS sound on a video-source disc. I also find that the DVD Genie tweeks for video on CineMaster are quite different from the WinDVD settings for film-source material.


The point being, there are workarounds for virtually all the problems discussed above, that reduce or eliminate the problems mentioned. I suggest that if you believe that a standalone player is superior under any circumstances whatsoever, you've been comparing it to a sub-optimally tweeked HTPC.


And there's the rub - few are capable of extracting the last few percentage points of performance from a HTPC. Such folks are better off settling for less, but using something they can operate and configure. I confess that because I'm a degreed Electical Engineer with over 25 years in the computer field and about 35 years as an audiophile (and had a projector in my home in the early 1980's) that I might not be able to make an objective assessment of the skills involved. But evidently I have them, because the HTPC works for me.


Gary
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
Some of us have the skills, but just want to watch a movie. There is no need to belittle someone merely because they are satisfied with the picture they derive for the effort put forth.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,225 Posts
rickforrest, I don't believe I did belittle anyone. I humbly apologize if you thought so. I simply thought we were talking about which form of equipment had the best video performance - the bread and butter of AVS Forum.


Gary
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top