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Discussion Starter #1
I have just recently purchased the Sharp 9000U & have it hooked up to a Panasonic Progressive scan RP56 DVD player & was just wondering if there is a laptop that would give me a better picture.


I am only projecting it on a white sheet right now & waiting to receive my DA-LITE 119" Diagonal 1.5 gain screen but until then I thought I'd ask to see if I can get a better combo than what I have.


Not that the picture isn't good it's actually great & I'm sure the PQ will improve dramatically going from a bedsheet to a proper screen but if with a laptop I can achieve a better picture I would go that route. I can't go HTPC full size computer because of the limited space so I must go laptop.


Any suggestions would be appreciated.


:)

Chris
 

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The Sharp 9000 currently has some "issues" with HTPC. Do a search in the LCD/DLP section or else look at the other thread that was floating around here regarding the 9000 and htpc.


But, any higher powered laptop should work as a HTPC. Like my Dell Inspiron 8000. It has an ATI Mobility graphics chipset with 32MB memory and a DVD-ROM. Just connect the VGA out from the laptop to the projector and you're good to go, I'd say.


I think the current top-of-the-line Dell Inspiron is the 8100. I'd wholeheartedly recommend it, my 8000 is great. However, do check the issues the 9000 has with HTPC's first, you may want to stick with the setup you have now.
 

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I don't know about the Sharp projector and htpc problems...


But I know the Dell Inspiron 8100 and Gateway 955x series laptops work well for my lt150. the gateway is about $1000 less than the Dell.


One thing you can try is to find a Gateway country store near you and bring your projector to the show room where you should be able to test compatablity. I did this with no problems and they even offered an empty and dark room for me to play with.


Good Luck.



Chris
 

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I recently purchased an Inspiron 8100 especially configured for mobile HT and photo/miniDV editing. It works great! The Ultra XGA 15" 1600x1200 display delivers far more detail from high res film scans than my 19" CRT display. I've had no problem interfacing the 8100 with my CRT projector through the RGB output. DVDs don't look HD but certainly some are close to an average HD transfer in overall quality.


Regarding pricing. I originally wanted the 8100 with Windows 2KPro rather than WinME. I had to order it at that time through their either their business or governments sales divisions as Win2KPro was not available through the consumer division. I wound up getting quotes from both. Subsequently, I ordered it through a government division because my wife works for a state office. I saved nearly $400.00 off the "published" website price because they were willing to negotiate. I would encourage anyone considering the 8100 or any Dell product for that matter, to not be afraid to try and negotiate a better price. I did and got my machine loaded for under $2K.
 

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Just this past weekend I helped my good friend setup and connect his dell Inspirion 8100 to his Pioneer 532Hd RPtV. We used PowerStrip to define custom resolutions (We got both the 540P and 1080i to display properly on his set, but had some overlay problems with dvd playback). Using 540p and PowerdvdXP he had himself a fantastic DVD Picture (a noticeable improvement from his older Panasonic interlaced dvd player and the sets internal line doubler). We used my AVIA dvd to calibrate his HD input and also got his S/PDIF to work using a proprietary cable that came along with his laptop, to get full DD (5.1) sound. All in all, it was a hell of a lot easier than the trouble I went through with my desktop to configure it for HTPC duties. BTW, he's currently using WinXP as his O/S.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would like to thank everyone for their replies.


Chris
 

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Hi Chris,


I recently saw an ad for a laptop with an ATI Radeon 32MB graphics card. Radeons have 10-bit video processing, which produces the current reference output quality in HTPCs. So I'd shoot for one of those, if it can fit your budget. It didn't say if it had an S-VHS output, but it seems likely that such a cool mobile graphics board would also have TV-out.


The reason that this is so appealing, is that when travelling, you can play back on TVs wherever you stay. A nice plus for a portable HTPC. :)


Cheers,
 

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I really want the Dell 8100 and would have gotten one by now, but dell went with the 815EP chipset and not the 830M so you don't gain any of the powersaving features of the new mobile chips set.


I guess I have to wait for an 8150 or 8200 for that.


-Roger
 

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Quinones:


Can you elaborate on how to get digital audio (DD 5.1 etc)

out of Dell 8100? Do I have to specify some sound card

option when ordering an 8100 on Dell's web site?


Will I lose functionality and/or video & audio quality

using a laptop as HTPC, as opposed to a mini-tower?


This is very interesting! I really like the idea of a laptop HTPC!


- Charles
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by CWan
Quinones:

Can you elaborate on how to get digital audio (DD 5.1 etc)

out of Dell 8100? Do I have to specify some sound card

option when ordering an 8100 on Dell's web site?
Charles,


I remember reading that some older Dell models had a way of getting s/pdif out of one of the pins in th a/v connector. See the following thread for more info on Dell Inspirons:

http://groups.google.com/groups?selm...&output=gplain


Personally I don't have a Dell (I have IBM A20P) and I can't do that. For this reason I'm considering the following:


ABIT UA10 USB MP3 Theater 5.1
http://www.abit.com.tw/t_chinese/pro...media/ua10.htm


I believe it has a sister model UA10 that does just dd/dts pass through via spdif. I haven't found a single review of either unit yet. There is some theoretical discussion about Abit's offerings in another AVSforum thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0&pagenumber=7



Cheers,

Halcy
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Roger Huston
I really want the Dell 8100 and would have gotten one by now, but dell went with the 815EP chipset and not the 830M so you don't gain any of the powersaving features of the new mobile chips set.


I guess I have to wait for an 8150 or 8200 for that.
My 8000 probably has the 815 too. It's a 700mhz model... and it bothers me not one iota considering that I can use the machine for a full working day on batteries! I use dual batteries in it.


6-7 hours is not a problem on batteries if not doing anything really stressful. Of course, it changes if I run the CPU at 100% all the time and do harddrive intensive stuff. Even so, I'm very pleased with how long it runs.


I'm sure the Inspiron 8100 has a digital out, since my 8000 does. It looks sort of like a s-video connector on the left side of the machine. Into that you plug a little plastic doohickey with an s-video out, a composite out and a digital coax connector. I haven't as yet tried it (!) but I'm going to. I'm confident I can get s-video and digital 5.1 out of this thing.
 

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Oh, I forgot to mention one possibly big drawback with going to a laptop: forget about using Dscaler to scale other video sources.


Dscaler only works on a certain type of TV card, of which there are several manufacturers. Dscaler is one of the things with HTPC that I find quite intriguing, so I'm going to build a normal PC that is much more expandable than a laptop.
 

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CWAN...it's like Kimmo and Halcy mention. My friend says he used a proprietary type cable to connect to an s video connection on the laptop. It has the three connectors mentioned and one pin is specifically for the spdif passthrough. My friend says that this connected to his DD receiver works like a charm!


BTW, he didn't specify any type of specific sound card option. I guess it is the standard audio that comes with the 8100. The cable also came with the laptop with out requesting it.
 

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Hmm.. looks like the UA11 is just what I need. Checked the price on it and it's very cheap - cheap enough that I'll take the risk. Knew there was a good reason why I managed to weasle a new laptop at work :). Just wish they made it with coaxial outputs as optical cables are very expensive.


Question is - how well is the SP/DIF passthrough supported in the different DVD player applications? I know WinDVD supposedly works, but what about PowerDVD?
 

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ABIT UA11




Features

Sampling rate supports 32/44.1/48KHz.

No extra drivers need. (Windows default USB Audio device driver)

S/P DIF I/O supports DVD, CD and MP3 wave formats.

Optical cable delivers sound with high fidelity for recording

I/O Connectors

USB type B connector

S/P DIF optical output

S/P DIF optical input


Bundled Software

WinDVD Dolby Digital/DTS support, WinRip MP3 recording & playback function


O/S Compatibility

Windows 98SE/ME/2000, NT4.0,

Mac OS 9.0


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




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


ABIT USB MP3 Theater 5.1

The UA11 ABIT USB i/Optica is an advanced USB audio device with a S/P DIF In/Out interface. Its USB port works simply with your PC or notebook, allowing you to quickly plug and play. The UA11 provides high fidelity between your PC/notebook and MiniDisc recorder via its S/P DIF In/Out (optical cable). It's an easy way to record MP3, Audio CD, and Wave audio format onto your PC or notebook directly for editing in your favorite musical database. The UA11 also supports AC3/DTS decoding with its S/P DIF Output.

With the bundled WinDVD V3.X with Dolby Digital/DTS support and WinRip V1.X, you can easily create MP3 files from your CD audio collection, surf music sites on the web, and quickly organize your music based on your personal listening preferences....



hmmm...doesn't look like they see the market for HTPC, but...
 

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What is the deal with the Abit AU11???? Abit has info on their web site and it looks like it has been out for over 6 months...but there are no users or people that sell it?


If I can get my laptop to pass DD/DTS, all that is missing is a way to do DScaler.
 

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jonmx,


Plenty of the local e-tailers here in Norway are carrying it. I don't see it listed on Pricewatch, so I think you'll just have to try some of the larger e-tailers that sell computer parts. Price here is $57 excl tax.


You can also try emailing or calling some store that obviously stock Abit parts and see if they'll special order it for you.
 

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I tried over 5 mos ago to buy the Abit USB MP3 Theater 5.1. To this day I can't find anybody that sells them. If anybody has any luck please let me know. I got this e-mail from Abit:


Subject: Re: Abit USB MP3 Theater 5.1

Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 16:38:36 -0700

Organization: ABIT USA




I have attached out disty list.

Also please try www.pricewatch.com


Thanks,

Jeremy

ABIT USA


ABIT USA Disty List


WEST COAST


Northern Ca.

AMAX Fremont 800-800-6328

Greenleaf San Jose 408-653-0222

Mini-Micro San Jose 800-275-4642

Mini-Micro Seattle 425-869-5040

Caliber Fremont 510-353-1220

Synnex Fremont 800-756-9888

Microstandard Oregon 503-643-4886


Southern Ca.

AMAX Los Angeles 800-800-8369

Mini-Micro Industry 800-275-6427


EAST COAST


Aspect New Jersey 732-563-1304

Mini-Micro New York 718-939-1304

AMAX New Jersey 732-417-1668

AMAX Georgia 770-416-8218

Synnex South Carolina 800-756-9888

Synnex New Jersey 800-756-9888


CENTRAL


PC Wholesale San Antonio 210-377-1771

AMAX Texas 800-800-6839

AMAX Chicago 888-810-2629

Synnex Tennessee 800-756-9888


CANADA


Supercom Toronto 905-415-1166

Supercom Vancouver 604-276-2677

Supercom Montreal 514-335-1166

AMAX Vancouver 888-228-2629

Mini-Micro Toronto 888-309-8898
 
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