AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
984 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the HTPC concept and would like to ask for feedback on whether I am going in the right direction. I read the FAQ sections of the HTPC forum to get started, and have visited the web sites of candidate products. This is a project for our office, but I am doing this as an avocation because of my personal interest in Home Theater- it’s not part of my job.


What I want to do is set up a PC for providing a/v inputs to a Sony PFM 50-C1 plasma monitor (no built-in tuner) that we already have. I need two types of inputs. One would be computer display for such things as PowerPoint, CD-ROM, or Web Sites, and I think we know how to do this.


The other is what I would call Home Theater A/V, which I’m not sure how to do and would appreciate feedback from this forum. Specifically, what I want to do is to be able to display DVD sources, VCR sources, regular TV, and HDTV. I want a PVR capability for the TV sources- at least for NTSC TV, but also for HDTV if feasible, and the ability to record (on tape) regular definition and/or high definition video. If you can think of other capabilities/sources that I should consider, please let me know.


For TV input, I have an RF feed from a roof mounted antenna provided as part of a package we purchased for a news oriented service affiliated with a local university. The service provides CNN, C-Span, CNBC, and the local TV stations. I assume this system uses a dedicated feed to the antenna and is not simply pulling in OTA signals from the antenna. I need a tuner card to convert the RF feed into a video signal to feed to the Sony plasma. This should take care of NTSC video. For HDTV, I know the local stations carry HDTV. I talked to the company that provides the TV feed/antenna system about HDTV. They said if you tune in to the UHF regime; e.g., channel 76, you can pick up the HDTV broadcasts of the local TV stations. I don’t know if this is OTA or part of their feed.


Assuming I can assemble the basic PC (high speed CPU; large, high speed RAM; large, fast hard drive; robust power supply; DVD drive, Windows XP Professional, etc.), here is my first cut at the additional items for providing the Home Theater A/V capability:


TV Tuner card- accessDTV


PVR- via accessDTV card. Do I need additional software?


Sound Card- TBD. At present we only need analog stereo to feed into the Sony’s stereo speakers.


Graphics Card- ATI Radeon 9800 Pro or ATI All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro. Not clear on the differences between these two cards.


Tape- JVC HM-DH30000 for D-VHS, S-VHS, and VHS. Can use D-VHS to record HDTV


Connections-

- I have an Extron RGB 109xi dedicated computer-video interface. The input is analog RGBHV, RGBS, RGsB, RsGsBs, and has a 15-pin HD male connector. The output is analog RGBHV, RGBS, RGsB, and has a 15-pin HD female connector.

- The Sony has a D-sub 15-pin RGB input (pretty sure it’s male). It also has a composite video input, but I don’t know if I need that.

I assume this is all I need for connecting the computer to the Sony.


DVD Software- TheaterTek


* Am I missing any basic building blocks?


* Will I need any additional software?


* Are there other capabilities that would be nice to have?


Thanks in advance,

Bruce
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,254 Posts
I'm not sure about the DTV card so I'll let others have their take on it.


Sound card - if its for office and you don't really care about the absolute sound quality, you could go cheap and stick with onboard sound, preferably one with a digital S/PDIF output. If not, a decent cheap soundcard such as the Philips Acoustic Edge, Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, Hercules Fort III, or even that $65 M-Audio Revolution 7.1 deal going on.


Graphics card - if you don't play games, the 9800 Pro is definitely overkill. The much cheaper regular 9500 64MB would provide just as good an image quality and video hardware support. It uses a very similar VPU as the 9800 Pro, and the only changes are pertaining more to 3D performance than anything else.


You didn't mention what platform you're considering, whether intel or AMD? You also didn't mention your budget and exact usage?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
984 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Goi,


Thank you for the feedback. I don't see getting into a surround sound system, so I think I'll follow your recommendation for a simple sound card.


The platform will be a Dell with an Intel CPU as that is what we have througout the rest of the office, and we'll probably hook the HTPC into our network. I'm not overly constrained on cost. The main use is to drive the Sony plasma monitor in our conference room as an auxiliary display. This could be news in the background, a special video to complement a PowerPoint presentation (main display is a Proxima projector onto the front screen), a sporting event in HDTV at lunchtime, etc. I do not anticipate playing games.


The fun part for me is the learning experience, and possible consideration of an HTPC for my Home Theater. In that regard, I do have one question- do any of the HTPC sound cards handle SACD and/or DVD-A?


Thanks

Bruce
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,254 Posts
Well if its just for driving the plasma, any computer with a HDTV capture card and a DVD-ROM drive would be able to do that. You don't exactly need a full-fledged HTPC for that. Since budget is not a constraint, I'd get the fastest Dell with a P4 3.06GHz and say 1GB DDR400 memory. No point saving money for the company right? ;)

Here's a good configuration for 3.6K. You may wanna tweak a few options yourself if you need more or less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,254 Posts
Hmmn, that doesn't come out quite right...not sure how to cut and paste the URL...


Anyway its a Pr 3GHz with 800MHz FSB, 1GB Dual Channel DDR400 memory, ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, Creative Audigy2, 2x200GB HDDs, 16X DVD-ROM, 48X CD-RW


And the Audigy 2 currently is the only soundcard capable of playing DVD-A. There aren't any soundcards that will play SACDs though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
984 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Goi,


Thanks for all your help. I noticed on your web page you tried to do some auditioning of components, and you have a Tag AV32R. Did you audition the Tag against any other PrePros?


Bruce
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
984 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Goi,


Thanks for all your help. I noticed on your web page you tried to do some auditioning of components, and you have a Tag AV32R. Did you audition the Tag against any other PrePros?


Bruce
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,254 Posts
Well, I auditioned the Tag only against 2 other prepros, both way lower priced than it, and they were no competition. They were the Rotel RSP-972 and the Parasound 1800 or something. I was originally going to audition the Integra Research RDC-7 too, but the price was quite a bit higher than the Tag over here so I decided to go with the Tag. So far it has served me well :)


btw I meant P4 3GHz rather than Pr 3GHz, but I'm sure you already knew that :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
984 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Goi,


I assumed the Pr was a typo, and was ready to assume you meant P4!


Appreciate the feedback on the Tag. The AV32R Dual Processor and Lexicon MC-8 are on my short list for my home system.


Thanks

Bruce
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,254 Posts
Great...I don't think you'd be disappointed by the quality of the Tag, although the MC-8 is another very compelling choice. One of the only disadvantages of the AV32R is that it doesn't do component video switching. However, when the AV192R arrives, AV32R owners will be able to trade in their units for the original paid price towards the purchase of the AV192R, how cool is that? :)


Either way I don't think you could go wrong...
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top