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Discussion Starter #1
I am deciding whether to get the Sony BD ROM drive for my pc or an inexpensive stand alone.

I was wondering, is the quality better in general for one over the other at high resolution? I will be playing discs on my Samsung 40" 120htz lcdtv.

Also, if I get the optical drive, is the most appropriate way to connect my 8800gt to the tv by using dvi (only out on card) to hdmi cable?


Thanks.
 

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You will have two problems with PC regarding quality. Firstly, the premier PC Blu-ray software (PowerDVD) sucks at deinterlacing compared to some of the more advanced standalone possibilities even with high-end videocards; this could yield problem with both 1080i Blu-ray Discs and DVD. Second, you won't be able to get lossless audio easily with most soundcards, meaning you will be limited to Dolby Digital 640kbps or DTS 1509kbps maximum on the audio side. That is because you need either a soundcard that can decode TrueHD/DTS-HDMA and output PCM 7.1 over HDMI, or simply output HDMI 1.3 audio bitstream - I don't believe either exists at the moment.


But most of all, I think where the HTPC stumbles is in functionality. It is simply easier to use a standalone and not have to deal with switching monitors and whatnot. Clone mode does not work with PowerDVD due to being overly restrictive with HDCP, so you have to toggle monitors back and forth between your main computer screen and HDTV. PowerDVD also doesn't work with many popular AV receivers for HDMI video switching again due to PowerDVD being overly restrictive with HDCP. You really don't have any option other than PowerDVD Ultra, though, because most other players are riddled with bugs and playback issues.


IMO, if you can only spend a couple of hundred bucks, I'd go with the $299 Magnavox at WalMart.
 

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Thanks for the quick reply. This is good stuff. The parts I am concerned with are the sound through my Sound Blaster 5.1 Live to my Klipsch 5.1 pc speaker setup. Also the PowerDVD playability quality as well. It sounds like the main issue is software related. I heard that there is a Win(something) program that is supposed to be better than PowerDVD. But anyway, it sounds like this is just another glitch like when DL writers first came out.
 

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A quick search at Newegg found the SAMSUNG Blu-ray Disc Player BD-P1400 for $260 + $16 s/h. Better than Magnavox?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevmac /forum/post/14249564


Thanks for the quick reply. This is good stuff. The parts I am concerned with are the sound through my Sound Blaster 5.1 Live to my Klipsch 5.1 pc speaker setup.

Best you can get is the same sound quality you got with DVD, essentially. You would not be able to take advantage of the new Blu-ray advanced audio codecs. And, on some titles you may be forced even to Dolby Pro-Logic if they do not have a DD5.1 or DTS5.1 track, but there are only a handful of those.

Quote:
Also the PowerDVD playability quality as well. It sounds like the main issue is software related.

Well its both really. The sound thing is mainly a hardware limitation is the PC market due to lack of HDMI 1.3 soundcard options. The deinterlacing issue is mainly a software issue, but finding a player that deinterlaces properly even in the standalone market is hard to come by; you can bet that any standalone under $500 probably will deinterlace wrong, too. PowerDVD just seems to be especially bad at it when paired with the 8800 series, at least in by experience - and I don't think WinDVD would be much better since it will use the same NV drivers.

Quote:
I heard that there is a Win(something) program that is supposed to be better than PowerDVD. But anyway, it sounds like this is just another glitch like when DL writers first came out.

Corel's WinDVD is less picky than PowerDVD with DRM issues such as HDCP, but on the other hand it has a LOT more bugs during standard Blu-ray playback. I'd definitely buy PowerDVD out of the two, but neither is ideal.

Quote:
A quick search at Newegg found the SAMSUNG Blu-ray Disc Player BD-P1400 for $260 + $16 s/h. Better than Magnavox?

No, the Samsung 1400 had a ton of issues including basic stability, I'm not sure how many were ever resolved. The new Samsung BD-P1500 seems good, though, if you can find that cheap - its a totally different platform than the older Samsungs. Sony BDP-S350 and Panasonic BD30 are also safe bets you can find in the $300-$400 range. IMO best bet these days looks to be the upcoming Pioneer BDP-51FD, but that will run you around $550 which is probably a lot more than you are willing to spend! The Magnavox player happens to be the cheapest one based on the budget Funai reference design which many different brands seem to have built players around. If you are willing to spend a bit more, you'd probably be best off with the Sony S350, which you can get on Sonystyle.com for $299 if you sign up for the Sony credit card (the card is billed $399 then credited $100 a month later).
 

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I thought there was a recent release of a card from someone that is capable of decoding the HBR codecs and passing them via HDMI as well as a video card from nvidia that utilize the same Teranex HQV de-interlacing found in good stand alone players. Actually, I thought the video side has been around a while. Am I mis-informed? Won't the GeForce 9800 family handle it well?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave7 /forum/post/14251044


I thought there was a recent release of a card from someone that is capable of decoding the HBR codecs and passing them via HDMI as well as a video card from nvidia that utilize the same Teranex HQV de-interlacing found in good stand alone players. Actually, I thought the video side has been around a while. Am I mis-informed? Won't the GeForce 9800 family handle it well?

The only chip I know of that does this is the GeForce 8200 and that is an HDMI 1.3 onboard video solution that Nvidia has on some of their mobos - designed exclusively for HTPC use, stinks for games. The 8800, 9800, and GTX 280 series do not support HDMI 1.3 HBR codec features to my knowledge - all of those series are designed around standard DVI-D featureset instead.

http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_8200mgpu.html
 

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Some of the specifics of why the HTPC path isn't the easiest (like audio options) have been convered, but I think the biggest difference between "good old DVD" and Hi-Def/Blu-Ray DVD is that, in general, it's NOT easier/cheaper to build an HTPC vs. a stand-alone BD player. At least before you could justify such an effort with the side-benefit of getting DVD upconversion/scaling, but now almost all Hi-Def players upconvert and you probably can't even get the best chips/solutions built-in to an HTPC.
 

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So what is the benefit of an HTPC?


I am seriously looking into this (building an HTPC) since my new pre/pro has a networking feature built into it as well as full HDMI connectivity with the ability to handle the latest HBR codecs in both bitstream and LPCM.


I am advised that Dolby True HD and DTS HD MA can now be decoded and sent via HDMI in HTPCs (by a friend who builds them), but I am still concerned about the video quality.


If an HTPC can do std DVD and BR DVD as well as something like the Denon DVD-3800BD or the Marantz BR8002, then it's a no-brainer to build an HTPC with this capability, and have the side benefits of future upgradeability and a massive music/movie HDD...or two of them for that matter. But still, I get conflicting answers to this video quality question, especially in regards to std DVD. Will I need to get an external de-interlacer/scaler to get what I want, or an it be done in the HTPC?


I honestly don't know if what I have in mind is truly possible and ask these questions in sincerity/naivety. I need to be told/advised so I don't head down a dead end path - spending $$$ for nothing in the end, or at least not what I am expecting.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave7 /forum/post/14263024


So what is the benefit of an HTPC?

From someone that has one, there is no benefit except it loads really fast and you have a computer at your fingertips in the living room.


The Pioneer BDP-51FD is replacing my HTPC as soon as it becomes available.
 

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I've ordered a Marantz BD-8002 since I got a really good price on it from AVS and it boasts all the same processing strengths as the Denon 5910Ci, which excels at SD DVD.


I just thought an HTPC could potentially do so much more. Oh well.


Ruined – Thanks very much for your input.
 
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