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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,


Here is the newest from VIA, not available quite yet, but saw it working at COMDEX. It's called E-Bios and allows CD or DVD playback direct from the computer bios.


The eerie thing is, it's totally silent! No fan, no CPU, no HDD, just the DVD. I really think that this bios will revolutionize the way we use our computers for HT.


Mostly, I just wanted to insert that option into everyones thought processes as we develop and invest substantial sums of money in equipment to keep our pc's quiet/cool. VIA has solved the problem that we all have been throwing money at for years.


Can't tell you more at this time, cause I don't want this to be a comercial post, but there is more......much more.


I would love to hear comments, and will pass them along to VIA.


Michael
 

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OK sounds great but now we just need to cram powerstrip, zoomplayer, m-audio Revolution drivers, and ATI drivers into the BIOS and were good to go.


Too bad none of the above can or will ever happen. Nice solution for the casual HTPC'er, but not gonna fly around here.


NickB
 

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see thats the thing.. this can work.. it does work and it will fly.. the key here is the bios.. drop a dvd in and it plays.. also plays mp3s from the front panel lcd.. the key would be to use the bios and aso utilize the hard drive for those programs such as d-scaler power strip.. the other dvd players arnt needed because the player is built into the bios. basicly just like a front end.. the longest part to booting is the os... take the os out of the picture and create a bootable bios and your good to go.. now graned you wont be able to play the ripped dvd's on your hard drive most likely but hey if you want to you just boot to the os. again no need for all of that..
 

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This bios was actually posted about a while ago. It's made by a company in CA that is trying to sell it to m/b makers.


They also have a web browser that works only in bios also that they tout as making the PC virus proof which is possible since 'theoretically' you could do all 'anti-virus' updates with this bios and be able to fix the PC. Essentially a hacker/virus wouldn't have access to the bios.


All in all, quite interesting concept but it won't do scaling, DD or DTS, or other features we can't live without.


-PGPfan
 

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Yeah, it's a cool idea and something that might be fun to use in a car or a bedroom system. However, all they've really done here is to turn a PC into a dvd/mp3 player which I can all ready pick up for 60 bucks at best buy. Now if it did scaling that would be another thing, however with Windows XP and the advent of faster processors/hard drives, I can boot to the desktop in under 25 seconds from power on. It takes longer for my projector and TV to warm up/turn on then it does for my computer to fully boot. This would have been a neat innovation back in the days of Win95 but now it's just a footnote.


NickB
 

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I know that Michael Barnes of nOrh loudspeakers is using the (escient ??) bios that does precisely this in thier Panda PC (no fans no noise 20w power draw of something) but as I have argued continually with him on this topic a HTPC is about power and flexibility.....


If I wanted a machine I could just put the disk in and go I would buy a DVD player... If I want all the bells and whistles plus superb scaling (your not going to say this bios trumps the top dog decoders) then I run a HTPC....


A HTPC is done to gain the best in class at a price we can afford not the easiest solution... His arguement is often well what about the WAF and people who cant use your HTPC... Well I would challenge that with anyone that can read and operate a mouse or IR control can use my HTPC... Add a watercooling kit and its as silent as I need (I cant hear it!!) plus I have all the power that a BIOS lead solution does not have....
 

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I agree with everything Phat Phreddy said. DVD playback is far from the only thing we do with our HTPC's. I use mine for HDTV, music playback, etc. And I seriously doubt this BIOS will top the best Windows-based DVD software in terms of picture quality, features, and flexibility. Besides, after getting burned by VIA with their crappy AMD chipsets, I have no plans to buy anything from VIA in the near future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think the company in CA is no longer around. I could be wrong. This bios was developed in Taiwan. Like any imbedded type system, as pen25 sagely remarked, it can and does work. All the other stuff is the "more" I was speaking of. As long as the mainboard is selectively powered, loading drivers, scaling, etc. can be configured. What do you need windows for?


I think that an important distinction here is to separate those who live in a constant state of tinkering with their HTPC's (and they will always be in search of the next new toy) from those who can accept an innovative tool which, once set up, provides a compete and easy solution for HT viewing.


I happen to like to tinker with my machines, and understand where NickB is coming from, but also like to have friends over to enjoy my media studio without spending an hour getting it set up and tuned. The E-bios is simply one of the many tools I use to do that. Without fans, watercooling, overclocking, compatibility issues...and Windows.


Michael
 

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Again, I echo what others have said in this thread. How is this any different from having just a standalone DVD player? I really don't see the point. The reason some of us go the HTPC route is for the flexibility. This completely eliminates that.


Oh yeah, it doesn't take me an hour to set things up if I have friends over.


Jason
 

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I know this isn't exactly the right forum to mention this in but I thought I should mention Linuxbios. Basically, it takes the bios out of the picture by loading linux right from the start. Boots in around 6 seconds to a command prompt from hitting the power button (that's what one of the guys from Cwlinux told me his system boots in).


Now, the only problem here is that lack of certain software for Linux that a lot of people use in their HTPC's. The main one is lack of any HDTV support. DVD playback is there, don't know how it compares to cineplayer or theatertek. TVTime has implemented the dscaler algorithms in Linux. Remote support is there through LIRC (although I don't know how it compares to Girder). Also Linux is stable, so you don't have to restart all the time. I wouldn't call any Windows OS stable (and I've used them all).


The main problem I found out with Linuxbios is they only have it working on a couple of systems. If the system has onboard graphics, you can't add an AGP video card. Once they get around these hurdles, it would make a great alternative for those willing to put in the time.


Tom
 

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The claims that it takes an hour of tweaking to start a movie are so far from reality of a well set up HTPC that its not something I can ignore...


When anyone turns on my system they see mainlobby screens with simple button navigation... If you failed to press the Watch Movie button when wanting to watch a movie you dont want to be playing with HTPC's.. This same GUI is roughly mirrored in the pronto they hold in thier hand so that it is obvious as to what button to press... Really as long as you spend the money on the right SW players and MainLobby and do some Girder work you have it soo easy and simple these days that WAF should not be a factor... In many ways it is this complete and unified integration that separates lack...


Plus does this BIOS have a IR sensor andd Girder like features ??? Dont tell me its back to keyboards again... How un-user-friendly is that....


Look at what we give up... Power peformance customisation control and then look at what we gain... ???? I already have an always on silent HTPC that is easier to operate than this offering....
 

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@Michael Lewis,


Can you answer my question, how are you going to load windows drivers without running Windows??? Unless you can emulate windows in that BIOS it's just not going to happen. I'll probably buy an epia-m for use in my car but it's staying far away from my home theater.


NickB


BTW: I run an AMD athalon, overclocked, with a completely silent case (at least until you put your ear up to the back of the computer), and it boots to my GUI in under 25 seconds with all drivers and software loaded into memory. I can't even open a beer in that amount of time.
 

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"I can't even open a beer in that amount of time." I can open a full six pack in 25 seconds (click, click, click...) :)


My biggest understanding is that the DVD player that they chose to put in BIOS is nothing to write home about. From what reviews I have read, the quality is no better than STB $60 specials at BB and must use the MB audio - AC97 stereo. It might be OK for SD TVs and stereos, it certainly isn't HT.


I too am looking at the epia-m, but only for in the bedrooms for my video distribution system on SDTVs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I agree with jkaiser that the current bios is nothing to write home about...at this point...! We now have it and are testing it.


As far as the epia-m, it's a great choice for a bedroom system or a user that simply wants to replace a bunch of boxes with one small one. We are able to pull a lot of performance out of the "M" board. It certainly is not a gamers board, and is not intended to be.


The point I was making was that it is possible to configure all the requirements of GUI, filters, drivers, etc. into a bios which eliminates noise. Has nothing to do with windows or any other op system. What we are doing now with five or six pieces of software which may or may not like each other in our particular system can be done in bios. And once it's set up, there is no tinkering.


I'm not here to promote VIA, or any other manufacturer, but next time you open your computer, take a look at the names on some of the chips inside.


Michael
 

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the key here to the system is the fact that you "can" drop a disk in the drive and boot it up and go.. it can pull say a descaler from the hard drive if they build one.. dont see why not.. no reason to boot to windows to run descaler is you can build a scaler that will also be able to be pulled into ram from the hard drive that runs off the bios also.. then if you want to do capture, editing software, burn a disk, surf the web, do email......... I have no problems with booting a machine and have it take a few min to play a movie.. shoot i normally leave my pcs on 24x7.. but it would also be nice to be able to drop a disk in and have it run right from the go and have it configured and all that..
 

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tbdombrosky, I'm with you here. The LinuxBIOS people are doing great work. The BIOS is the last frontier, and the fact that we are looking to chipset manufacturers for BIOS innovations proves this.


Ross.
 

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Quote:
the key here to the system is the fact that you "can" drop a disk in the drive and boot it up and go.. it can pull say a descaler from the hard drive if they build one.. dont see why not.. no reason to boot to windows to run descaler is you can build a scaler that will also be able to be pulled into ram from the hard drive that runs off the bios also.. then if you want to do capture, editing software, burn a disk, surf the web, do email......... I have no problems with booting a machine and have it take a few min to play a movie.. shoot i normally leave my pcs on 24x7.. but it would also be nice to be able to drop a disk in and have it run right from the go and have it configured and all that..
My question to you is, what does this accomplish? You still need a CPU, even if you do store some of the OS functionality in BIOS; you're sure as hell not going to perform DScaler-like operations without a CPU. So what does this really get you? This makes no sense to me at all. The only possibly vague benefit some of you seem to be hinting at is being able to ditch Windows. Personally, I'm not an ABM-er, so this in itself doesn't mean anything to me. And even if it did, why not just run linux. If the only advantage you can come up with is improved boot-time, that just doesn't cut it. WinXP boots very quickly now, and I leave my HTPC on anyway.
 

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I found the CA company that actually developed this for VIA. It is www.elegent.com and they are still in business, FWIW.


Personally I like the virus protection potential of there technology best. There just isn't any way that I can see to get the full benefit of an HTPC out of the bios.


-PGPfan
 
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