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Need help - is this config ok for HTPC?


Hi. Just wanted to get some help here. I have a computer that I am planning to use as a HTPC to connect to a Barco Graphics 808S CRT front projector. The current config

is:


Gateway Intel P4, 1900Mhz running WIN98SE

100MHz external bus, 512MB RAM

Video card - NVIDIA GeForce 2 MX 400

80MB HD, HITACHI DVD-ROM GD-8000

Creative Sound Blaster AudioPCI 128D


I want to connect the computer to the projector so that I can use it as a scaler, and also to get the right aspect ratio for my DVD movies. I would like

to get the best resolution possible for my projector. Also, I want to connect the computer to get sound to my receiver that has a built in 7.1 decoder.


How do I do this (if it is possible with the computer whose config is listed above)? What software will I need, and what settings should I use. I have

windvd on my PC now.

Thanks and I look forward to any help you can provide.
 

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Well, it's all over here. If you know how to operate an 808, then this should all be a walk in the park for you.


First of all, your PC's soundcard should have an SPDIF coax digital output (it's an RCA plug) or an optical Toslink output. Your reciever should accept either. This will give you 5.1 output, but if you want 7.1, I think you'll need to buy a high end soundcard. If you don't have an SPDIF output, you'll need a new card anyways.


As far as the video, you want a cable that has a VGA connector on one end, and 5 BNC connectors on the other end (for your PJ's RGBHV input). Your Barco will act just like a PC monitor. Make sure you eliminate static images, and choose no wallpaper and a black backround. Hide your start menu. I'm not sure if you can disable it or not- I have a dual display so I don't have to worry about that. Also, right click on your desktop and hide your icons. Set your screensaver to "none", and make sure it goes off after a minute or two of inactivity (all this will prevent phosphor burn).


Download the trial or buy a program called Powerstrip by Entech (type in Powerstrip in Google to find it). This will allow custom timings so you can add custom resolutions and refresh rates. Many, many threads here on it. I don't know if it works for a Geforce2 however. Their website will let you know.


The two most popular DVD software players are Theatre Tek and Zoomplayer. Those two give you the most control. Zoomplayer is actually just a frontend, and you'll need what's called "filters", from another DVD program to use it. Filters are like the core of the DVD player. There are 3 popular "consumer-friendly" DVD software players. Sonic, WinDVD, and PowerDVD. These are more user friendly but give you less control. If you use Zoomplayer, you'll need the filters from one of those three for it to work.


If you decide to use a refresh rate of 48hz or 72hz (so that film based DVDs play at 24fps), you'll most likely want a program called Reclock. It is a filter works alongside TheatreTek or Zoomplayer. This keeps your digital audio output in sync with your video. An advantage those two players have over the more consumer-friendly ones.


Another advantage is a filter called FDDshow. This allows you to fine tune and sharpen your DVD picture, making it look as good as it possibly can. There's a huge thread called FDDshow FAQ.


Controlling the HTPC w/ a remote can be complicated, and there are many different ways to go about it. An excellent, yet not-so-user-friendly program called Girder can work with just about any PC remote and gives you total control. A product called the UIRT (Universal Infrared Reciever/Transmitter) will let you control all your HT components w/ Girder, including your projector.


Finally, there are all-in-one programs out there. I'm not very familiar with them, but they're basically like Windows XP Media Center Edition. They provide a simple, attractive looking interface to control your HTPC. I don't use one, so I don't know much about it. Like I said, I have dual display, so I use a regular desktop monitor as monitor 1 and I like it to look and act like a normal computer because I still use it as one. Monitor 2, my PJ, recieves nothing but a blank (black) backround and video overlay when video apps are running.
 
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