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Discussion Starter #1
Sometimes I wonder if you guys spend way too much time overanalyzing every last detail of your projected image.


My basic question is as follows:


Most extreme situation: Going from S-Video (good quality interlaced DVD player) to HTPC. Are the differences dramatic? I'll define "dramatic" as follows:


1) A HT perfectionist upon doing an A/B comparison would say "wow".


2) An "average" person who has a pretty good idea of good PQ (e.g. - owns a DVD player and a 35" TV, used AVIA to calibrate, etc.) notices a significant improvement upon seeing the S-Video image one day and the HTPC image the following day.


3) A completely "average" person (owns a "big screen" 27" TV set to factory settings) notices a significant improvement upon doing an A/B comparison.


Hopefully, with these three test subjects, I've accurately conveyed what I'm getting at here. I'm still trying to figure out the costs ($$$ and time) and benefits of HTPC vs progressive DVD vs iScan Plus V2 since I primarily want to watch DVDs on my LT85 but would also like to watch some occassional DirecTiVo and would like to do it as cheaply and painlessly as possible.


Scott
 

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Well, I got my Lt150 before I had a chance to build my htpc...


Really bad:

Svideo output from the tuner on a jvc hr-s5400u sdeck looked nasty...

because it was interlaced on a progressive display (and because my cable service sucks).


Less bad:

Svideo output film source dss material from a neighbors directtv satelite receiver was less nasty...

but still nasty because it was interlaced on a progressive display.


Almost ok:

Svideo output interlaced display from a sony dvp-s550d looked almost ok - well, less nasty anyway...

because it was still interlaced on a progressive display.


You get the picture - my girlfriend's response was:

"you paid how much for *that*!"...



Then I built the htpc and ran everything into the vga port on the lt150... (wrangling with ms products deleted)


Nice:

Film source cable material from the sdeck tuner run thru descaler on the htpc -

"hey - not bad..." (too bad the noise on the cable service is still ruining the picture)


Even better:

Film source dss material from a neighbors directtv satelite receiver running thru descaler on the htpc -

"wow that's dss!?" (too bad they don't turn the compression quality up).


Holy $#!%:

Progressive output on 5th element dvd from htpc (randomly selected as first dvd :)) via ATI player (0 Ire Patch) -

"omg it looks almost like film!".

(not entirely due to the fact that it was a progressive source, but still - wow - none the less)


Hopefully you get the picture - my girlfriend's response after htpc was -

"It's like we have a movie theater in the apartment - awesome!"


Of course blowing the image up to 8 feet wide aggravates any image artifacts and the huge progressive display makes non converted interlaced material almost impossible to watch (imho) unless you like your eyeballs to jitter for 20 minutes after you turn the projector off.


So yeah - I would say going from a good interlaced svideo source to a good progressive source (htpc or progressive dvd) would yield a dramatic change that anyone from categories #1,#2 or #3 should be able to appreciate. I'll let someone else argue the benefits of the htpc vs the progessive player.
 

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Very many times we have a tendency to exagerate the differences when making comparisons on these forums. The differences are often far more subtle than is suggested.

But that is absolutely not the case with a comparison between S-Video from an interlaced output DVD player and HTPC. The difference is dramatic. The difference is like night vs day.


Bob
 

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i had an appointment w/ Jason, thursday, to finally see an HTPC hooked up to my LT150, but it never came off and i'll have to reschedule.

that evening i sat down to watch a $10 MGM title (the Dunwhich Horror) on my rp56.

i have a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept of HOW MUCH BETTER a HTPC can be over what i was seeing last night.

Sound aside, it was a near reference quality representation of the film, and all the minor issues i've had (or tried to find)

with this pj were pretty much cast aside.

the colors were rich, stable

the picture was sharp & highly detailed

deinterlacing was 99.9% perfect

pixel structure wasn't apparent (it was a 1.85 aor, and i moved my chair even closer to the screen)

somebody really has to come over and point out to me whats wrong with my picture, 'cause last night i couldn't find anything.

i do notice what may be crawlies or video noise. this can be seen (faintly and from 1-3' away from the screen) on the basic blue startup screen and maybe during areas of bright white.

but then again, so many transfers clearly expose the film grain that that can look like 'crawlies' or noise also.

i was so impressed with what i saw last night, i may have to seriously reconsider the Isco purchase.

getting back to the first post; i had some friends over who helped me take out the rptv a few months ago after i got the pj. all i had was interlaced, s-video. i put on a couple scenes from Fifth Element , telling them "this is really a bad picture, once i get a progressive player it will get a lot better"

they looked at me like i was speaking chinese-

i wasn't entirely satisfied with the s-video picture, but the progressive picture is good enough to have me reevaluating my intended upgrade path.

like i said, i have a hard time imaging what qualities an HTPC would improve upon.
 

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Cann't comment on Lt 150 but have a VT 540(lcd). I was in the same boat. I thought noway could HTPC be that much better but tonight I moved a pc into the room and hooked it all up. Know keep in mind this is in noway a dedicated HTPC; just p3 with 256mb pc100 ram and 16mb nvidea video card w/generic 12x dvd-rom running powerdvd. I set configuration to 16:9 @ 1024*768put in Gladiator and was simply amazed. Tried Star Wars TPM and agian was amazed. The picture looked fantastic. Don't get me wrong it looked really good before, running standard Pioneer DVD player via s-video to Iscan V.2 to vga of PJ, but absolutly the PC brought it to life. Know all I have to due is convince the wife that a dedicated HTPC is really needed. She still thinks Iscan V.2 is sufficant for now, but the bug has bitten. Oh and to top it all off I'm not even using my screen yet, still under construction, just a simple white bed sheet!!

Hope this helps.


Jayson

P.S. my wife says thanks for the idea guys:)
 

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Is the difference equally dramatic if I connect HTPC to LT50 vs a progressive out of Philips Q50 to LT150 ???
 

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I think the more interesting question is how much the HTPC improves the image over a progressive scan input. I think a progressssive scan would totally impress 95% of the people.
 

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A recent thread dealt with this topic and included a good introduction (explained for newbies) to resolution, bandwidth, refresh rates etc. and the technical benifit of HTPC by Gary McCoy, an EE. Reading his two posts was very informative. I would still love to read (or see) a shootout between an rp56 or rp91 and an HTPC. -Noam


What are my PJ options without an HTPC?
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...threadid=87857
 

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Jonmx,

You are probably right, a progressive scan would "get the job done" for many users.


Of course one of the nice things about a htpc is you can deinterlace other video sources too...


But I'll tell ya, I had a few friends over to watch phantom menace on the Lt150 via PowerDVD (because the sound is so good)... after we got done with the pod race scene I switched over to the Ati player and both of my friends noticed the pq improvement immediately (although I would say they both fall in category #2 see above). Much smoother (less color artifacts?) sharper detail and more vibrant color according to them. Neither of these guys had been obsessing over an htpc and fp setup for months - so at least there is some confirmation that the differences can be readily seen by others.
 

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thanks for bring that other thread up, Noam.

i'm sure i've read it before, but going over it again , especially Garys post was very helpful.

One thing i'm curious about-in disucussing refresh rates 72mhz is given as the optimal for movie based material (being a multiple of 24 frames per second) yet i seem to recall reading many posts of people who have trouble using that rate with their LT150s. also i think a few were very vocal about 60mhz being the ideal refresh rate with this pj. if thats the case, then another of the advatages of HTPC over dvd player w/ this pj is rendered moot.

its possible that i'm not paying uber close attention to the picture i'm seeing, and that there may be areas of weakness in fast motion scenes, transitions, etc.

i'd try to pay more attention to these, but frankly that's really all i did the first 60 hrs i had the pj -obsessing over the deficencies when all i had was s-video.

once i decided on this panasonic (and i tried several progressive players before settling on this one) all i do now is sit down and actually watch movies.

Besides, now that i have PQ down where i can enjoy it (and not be distracted by it), i find fan noise is the thing that'll take me out of the movie more often.

This is my criteria for this and all future HT equipement purchases-i want the technology to be as transparent as possible. That means simplicity as well as quality.

perhaps i should focus my energies on building a hushbox before i worry anymore over incremental improvements in PQ.

i'm finding this to be very true the more i shop for a/v gear- $220 will get you 90% of the way there-the extra 10% is going to cost you several thousand.
 

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I got my LT150, and the first couple days had it hooked to the Svideo output of my receiver. Watching a mix of DSS and cable and DVD. The DVD looked pretty good, the DSS was ok, and the cable was ugly. Everything was pixelated, stair-stepping, jaggies... I am shooting on a white wall, a 100 inch diagonal. My wife said: "You paid how much for this?" I got my parts from NewEgg, and built my HTPC. Got the HiPix from DC. Put it all together, plugged it into the RGB input, and viola! My wife said "ooohhhh.. ahhhh... Wow!" She is not into PQ very much, she enjoys cable as much as DSS, but she said the difference was night and day. Everything is crisp, brighter, and the HDTV is INCREDIBLE. The new HiPix software lets you adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation. I added a little color, and the pictures just pop off the wall! I want to get a High Power screen, but I don't know if it justifies the cost.


Of course, the hi power might be the same as the HTPC.. WOW! What a difference! Is it? Should I? The nail holes in my wall as a little annoying..:)

Paul
 

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the picture in my opinion was watchable without an htpc.


However, the picture with one is outstanding.


Nothing more needs to be said.


Can you borrow a lap top to try?
 

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With the Progressive, it's like a loaded Camry, very nice comfortable, no complaints. The HTPC is like a Lexus ES300, refined and take you to a new level. Jonmx is right, 95% of people will be totally impreesed, but if you've seen a HTPC with the same setup, it'll be very obvious.
 

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But I still don't understand why HTPC over a de-interlacer like the one made by Grandtec? It is an Interlace video to progressive video converter with 3:2 pull down film mode.


Is it because of the lack of inputs on the LT150 that you are all going with the HTPC to de-interlace a non-progressive scource ? Because from what I understand of the Grandtec is that it can handle a number of inputs (DVD, 480i, cable etc.), switch and de-interlace then to 480p.


I have yet to buy either the LT150 or the Grandtec, but have been sitting back, doing a lot of research, reading these forums.


The views expressed on the forum have convinced me to purchase an LT150, but I'm not so keen on the HTPC. What about remote control, and the Dolby Digital and DTS from a HTPC ? What about de-interlacing other inputs like TV and Satellite, can a HTPC do this ?


Also, the final question. Since I am Australian, we only get PAL encoded DVD's here. A guy in the local HiFi shop scorned me when I asked if I could purchase a progressive scan DVD player, saying that we don't need it for PAL, only NTSC. Does anyone know if this is true ?


Help please


:confused:
 

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I went to one of the forum member's house for a demo and he really convinced me of the HTPC. You see, like you, I have nothing at this moment and I am also doing my research now, but I drove 2 1/2 hours to Grant's . He is very generous in sharing his knowledge and experience with me. He walked me through each step, showing me the image through a Marantz svga DLP to a Progressive player/ LT150, then the HTPC/LT150/ISCO combo. Let me tell you, 6 hours later, all the myths about fan noise, lack of blacks and rainbows with DLP projectors are all just myths. You MUST see it to believe it. By the way, all on a high power screen, fraction of the cost of a greyhawk. I now regret buying a Sony 9000ES DVD player, I guess I could use it for SACD audio, but HTPC gave the best image. By the way, I am convinced and will be ordering the LT150 on Monday.
 

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Progressive vs other -- no contest.


Most PJ's, according to what I have read here in the forum, have a not so good built in scalers. The solution is to use an external scaler. The sheer flexibility of the PC allows it win the bang for the buck category of general scaler.


For fixed application some will opt for quadscan or crystal image etc. The units, again from what I've read, allow certain flexibility although perhaps not as much as an HTPC.


Ease of use considerations are not a place I can speak to.


I used a composite source on LT150 for 1 day. Switched to progressive and never looked back. Although I am using an rp-56 now I have just ordered an HTPC which I plan to out fit with TT player when available. I got tired of the projector scaling artifacts and decided this would be the most affordable way to check out the next level for me.


I have learned a lot from the wisdom of this forum and would be remiss to not pay attention after they have hit me over the head with the information, albeit gently, time and again.


PAL is still interlaced. Dscaler, as I understand it, is the program to use for external source de-interlace on the PC. With appropriate input card.


The DVD players will take care of what is needed to play DVD's, whether NTSC or PAL. Assuming they are film sourced. Someone with more experience than I should really speak to the PAL side of things.


My limited understanding so far anyway.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ckolchak
thanks for bring that other thread up, Noam.

One thing i'm curious about-in disucussing refresh rates 72mhz is given as the optimal for movie based material (being a multiple of 24 frames per second) yet i seem to recall reading many posts of people who have trouble using that rate with their LT150s. also i think a few were very vocal about 60mhz being the ideal refresh rate with this pj.
AFAIK, the biggest thing about the refresh rate is 3:2 pulldown with 60fps. this causes judder when one frame lasts longer than the other by 1/24sec (3 repetitions vs 2). When viewing on my RPTV, I do not notice this judder at all and would guess that my 60fps RPTV would exhibit this trait just as much as a 60Hz LT-150.


jake
 
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