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Discussion Starter #1
How much better is the pricy Rock over a good HTPC?


I need a scaler for use with a Sony VPL-VW10HT LCD projector.


The idea of a HTPC using Power Strip and dscaler is appealing.


What would I be missing if I went the HTPC route over the Rock?


Are there any actual advantages of a HTPC over a Rock?


My currrent video sources are DVD and RCA DTC-100 satellite


Thanks for all input.
 

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Hi,


Just needs one clarification:


You must be referring to the ROCK+ since TAW discontinued selling ROCK. Just need to let you know that ROCK+ and ROCK are two different products. The ROCK+ is what is currently being sold right now, and has a much better picture than the original ROCK. Make sure that the feedback you get from others are regarding ROCK+ rather than ROCK.


I'll let others respond. You will no doubt get lots of responses here by other forum members, but there are advantages and disadvantages of both approaches. One example is the ease of use via ROCK versus the ability to play videogames/Internet via PC. Other areas are equal on both platforms, such as the ability to do custom Timings & Resolutions on both the ROCK and the HTPC.


On another note: The W10HT is a finicky beast -- it often tries to display RGBHV/VGA images in a 4:3 aspect ratio in the middle of the 16:9 screen. Basically, the VGA input of the W10HT does not display in 16:9 so you have to use the component video input. This is a problem that affects your use of any scaler or any HTPC with the W10HT. There are ways around it, such as using a RGB to component video converter, and then using HDTV compatible scanrates. Generally, the best results with the W10HT can be obtained by using 1366x720 using 1280x720p scanrates, and through VGA to Component conversion, regardless of what device you choose.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply Mark!


Yes, I was referring to the Rock+


I am aware of the RGB input issues with the 10HT and I do want to get a good scaler working with it, I understand that others have. I like the idea of being able to use the HTPC for things other than scaling too.
 

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Going by your limited sources, I'd say that a HTPC is the more affordable and possibly a more sensible solution. For one thing, you don't need to scale HDTV from the DTC-100.


You do gain ease of use, easier maintenance/upgrades, and better non-24 fps de-interlacing with the Rock+, so it's really a decision as to whether that's worth the extra $$$ in your setup. If it's within your budget, I would highly recommend the Rock+ based on my own experience with the product and the company.
 

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Tom,


I agree with Rice Rocket, if price is not an issue and picture quality and ease of use is , then go with the Rock +.



my $.02 cents worth.


carlos
 

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The Sony is indeed a beast and a finicky one at that. Actually upgraded 3 customers to CRTs after they owned the Sony beast for a while. Just to show you I am not a CRT over bulb snob, that new Sharp, the 9000U is very good. I have not tried it with my Rock Plus yet, just straight in with a Faroudja chipped DVD player (the Krell).
 

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I suggest you grab a 480p DVD player with the 10HT. I have never seen a 10HT work with an HTPC and I have seen it trired a few times now.


The 10HT has a very good scaler and it also offers aspect ratio control.
 

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The two things are so completely different, I can't begin to explain...



Basically the Rock+ standalone DVD:

1. Better deinterlacing, not just on the DVD itself.

2. More video related options and controls.

3. More expensive.

4. Easy to use, wife friendly operation.


Wheras the HTPC:

1. You need to worry about software.

2. Not as good deinterlacing.

3. At its best, DVD playback is better quality - but you have to really know what you're doing.

4. Not easy to use (very difficult, unless you pay for an "easy to use" shell that hides windows itself from the user).

5. Not wife friendly at all.

6. If you invest in a good HTPC, it'll come close to Rock price, BUT will already include a DVD drive...
 

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Hi,


I'll have to admit that W10HT works pretty well with a progressive scan DVD player -- its internal scaler is relatively good once the source is properly deinterlaced from a good progressive scan DVD player. The W10HT doesn't seem to gain as much benefit from either a HTPC or scaler, as many other projectors do. So if you're really only interested in DVD, then a progressive scan DVD player may be best.


While the W10HT is a finicky beast, I have heard of ROCK+ users and HTPC users having success with W10HT, however. (On the HTPC, 1366x720p needs to be fine-tuned to really strictly exact specifications AND go through a VGA-to-component converter.).


On the other hand if you plan to replace the projector in the future, you have the advantage of reusing the ROCK+ or HTPC.
 

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Ok. Ok. I am being a little harsh here on the Sony. When it came out it was indeed breakthrough performance for the price point. However, put up against a cheap CRT it didn't cut the mustard. At that time there were not many progressive output DVD players. Scaler interfacing was a problem. So was reliabilty (the filter got dirty and the image got dirty in spots). Blacks were better than was previously available but . . . . The newer DLP technology machines have narrowed the gap considerably and the new screen gain materials with an index below 1.0 gain have also closed the gap further. The prices of the new technology machines are about the same as the old. More machines with the 1.78 TI chip are also coming. Even the new Sony HT11 is not competitive in image quality. To get back closer to the subject (I am not even close to the base path), Starting with a 10HT, I would invest in a better projector and an inexpensive progressive scan DVD player before investing in an external processor.
 

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Hi there. I'd like to comment a bit. I'm an htpc user and it is, with my current setup (an analog-chassis Sony 1031QM), a great combination. However, I do not praise "htpc-for-anyone".


Set apart the price issue, the htpc vs other solutions should not be a debate, but a personal choice. The 2 worlds are quite different as you and Mark said. If htpc makes you sick, whatever the performance, you have to find another solution.


After this introduction, allow me to comment on this previous post

Quote:
Originally posted by oferlaor
Basically the Rock+ standalone DVD:

1. Better deinterlacing, not just on the DVD itself.

2. More video related options and controls.

3. More expensive.

[...]


Wheras the HTPC:

[..]

4. Not easy to use (very difficult, unless you pay for an "easy to use" shell that hides windows itself from the user).

[...]


6. If you invest in a good HTPC, it'll come close to Rock price, BUT will already include a DVD drive...
Regarding Rock/1, you're quite right. I'm quite involved in the DScaler issue, and while you can reach great levels of feature and quality, you're sure to reach those levels with the Rock.


However, one has to consider what are the sources used on his display device and more specifically, how much dvd do you do ? If it's 95%, you have to really think hard about dvd-only scaling options ; htpc of course, but also Cinematrix-modded player.


Rock/2 .. I don't understand. While I agree that the number of tweaks possible on an htpc can be huge and difficult to understand, I'm suprised that you say "more video options" on the Rock. Can you detail this point please ?


Rock/3 and Htpc/6 I agree with point 3, not with 6. Just back from the online store and a Rock+ is 5000$ !! No, I don't agree. An (high end) htpc from DigitalConnection is 2300$ and they've got other models starting at 1500$. Don't try to wipe away one of the keypoint of the htpc solution ; its price :)


Last note about htpc/4. Yes, it's quite totally wife-unfriendly solution but making it otherwise is (impossible ? :]) not really a question of money but of time. Reaching the level of ergonomics of a simple external dvd player is a huge amount of time, not of money.


That was my 2 cents, hope you enjoyed it ;)
 

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Hi,


I actually have both, an HTPC and a Rock+ (connected to an Arcam DV27 DVD Player).


Prior to Rock+ the picture quality of HTPC was much superior when using the Radeon Graphics card. However the combination of the Rock+ and a high grade DVD Player (which I consider the Arcam to be) in my opinion matches the best I was getting out of the HTPC.


The Rock+/Arcam combination is very easy and Wife and Kids friendly. It also does a fantastic job on scaling my Input devices which are currently VHS Video Recorder and Digital TV via Composite (Buffy 8ft wide), Playstation 2 & Dreamcast & Gamecube via S-Video, and Arcam DVD via Component.


My HTPC on the other hand is a "work in progress" to get a stable, kids friendly unit. Like Yvonus has said I have spent a huge amount of time getting the unit right. So far it is:

a) Silent

b) Multiregion

c) features a locked down Kids friendly shell

d) easy to use being controlled totally via Pronto (actually thats not quite true - you do initially have to power it on when first installed).


The HTPC features an internal DVD Player so has an excellent picture on a par and occasionally better than the Rock+/Arcam unit. But of course most of my viewers cannot see the difference. I figure I'm talking a tiny improvement only (say less than 5% which is far outweighed by the time spent on the HTPC).


I also have one button press S-Video and Composite as outlined above using customised DScaler settings. I'm using the Falcon TV Card so quality is very good but does not quite match the Rock+ on these points.


I'm fortunate enough to know PCs inside out so the time and effort on HTPC has been enjoyment and a learning process. I have friends who like the image but could not face the unit being their source. I have no desire to play Music, Games or surf the net on the HTPC. I treat it as a locked down video processor.


The final stage with the HTPC is to manufacture a high grade steel chassis to shrink the HTPC into a suitable AV style case rather than the totally black midi-tower I have now, this is an ergonomics and racking issue. This is almost done.


Personally given that I love the Rock+ combo so much I would go for this given the choice. If price (and here in the UK the Rock+ is even more costly) is the issue and you have the desire to spend time the HTPC is a good option.


Hope this helps.


Regards Neil.

p.s. For reference I use a BarcoGraphics 808s CRT projecting onto an 8ft wide screen and the Rock+/Barco/Arcam chain has been ISF Calibrated by http://www.convergent-av.co.uk
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My use for this scaler will be about 1/2 and 1/2 DVD source (I'm looking seriously at the new Denon 5900 progressive changer) and the non HDTV output from a RCA DTC-100 Direct TV DSS reciever. I would also plan to use a HTPC internal DVD player for "serious" watching, if I go the HTPC route. WAF or kids use is not an issue. I am quite happy with my Sony 10HT, for now.


Thank you.
 

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I am on my second scaler. I first had the Crystal Image scaler and know I own the Rock+. I have never used a HTPC so I am not able to give any kind of opinion on that subject. However, as a Rock+ owner I can say that I am very satisified with the product and the support by TAW. This has been a very satisfying purchase decision. TAW keeps on making advances to make the product better. This is one of the reasons why I chose to go with The Rock+ unit. I like the ability to do downloads for software upgrades, and I like the fact that the unit is hardware upgradeable. Although sending the unit back is kind of a pain, it is much better than having to be faced with buying a new unit just to receive more features.


Good Luck
 

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I think these have been very good replies. I've always heard that the Sony has a relatively good scaler, so a progressive player should get you an acceptable picture. If you're looking for the best picture, then each of the Rock+ and an HTPC offer different things.


But of cousre, I love to play games on my HTPC. Civilization 3 is coming out any day now! :cool:


There's only one thing worse than a home theater nut... ;)
 

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I owned an HTPC and returned it because of the hassle factor. I own the Rock + and I love it. The picture quality is as good and I load a DVD, press play and press one button on the scaler for anamorphic/non anamorphic. That's it. Set up on the Rock was easy and the upgrade program prevents obscelesence. Finally--the addition of SDI should surpass the HTPC in terms of quality. We shall see. The price difference does not out weigh the differences. In my opinion, you get what you pay for--get the Rock.
 

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TOM PLEASE READ.


First off its to bad you cant use the Taw forum for your question where it belongs. If I were AVS I would delete this thread and let Taw Forum ether deal with its own customer questions or loose the sales.


The following is based on picture quality of HTPC verses the Rock only. Not ergonomics.


I have a HTPC with the Radian card and My friend has the Rock.


We did an side by side and because the Rock is limited to its 8 bit video card there is posturization artifacts in its picture.

I have asked Mark R when they are going to change their card and I still have no answer.

Now Mark says its better now than it was in the Rock but it is still there and a purist can see it.

Mark instead of giving me work around please just say yes we going to change the card or we cannot do so without redesigning the whole unit. I think the later to be the case.


I can throw some big names into this that I have talked to that can confirm this but I will ask permission to use their name first.


Also why does the HTPC have a better picture?

Taw has already stated this that a internal drive is superior to

any processor/dvd player combo and should equal the quality of SDI.

That is true because using the HTPC avoids numerous d/a conversions keeping everything in the digital domain until its output. Also using a video card such as the Radian card blows away the card used in the Rock and you have such features as Gamma/color sat/hue/contrast/brightness and custom aspect ratio as well as any custom refresh rate and scan rate.


You can buy a HTPC that is already built from Digital connection and AVS for $1500. Wow that's 1 fifth the price. Great savings.



Now if you still want the Rock...GET LEEZA. I just talked with them and the new pics are up. What a unit. Just the looks alone blow the cheap looks of the Rock away.


For less money you also get SDI with out having to spend an addition $500. You can also get DVI out. It has a switcher built in

with plenty of inputs.

It has outstanding deinterlacing.


THIS IS A ROCK KILLER!


Sure we will hear from the Rock clan saying the rock has this over the LEEZA but the LEEZA has every necessary feature of the Rock along with SDI/built in switching/high quality case..and to me something more important the company is a pleasure to deal with. They are professional.


Save some money and GET THE LEEZA or HTPC you cant go wrong!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Tywoniak
I owned an HTPC and returned it because of the hassle factor. I own the Rock + and I love it. The picture quality is as good and I load a DVD, press play and press one button on the scaler for anamorphic/non anamorphic. That's it. Set up on the Rock was easy and the upgrade program prevents obscelesence. Finally--the addition of SDI should surpass the HTPC in terms of quality. We shall see. The price difference does not out weigh the differences. In my opinion, you get what you pay for--get the Rock.
Don't forget that for $399 you can add SDI to an HTPC as well. However, overall I agree with you. HTPCs are for three types of people:


1) People who are on a budget and can't afford a scaler

2) People who treat it as a hobby

3) People who have to get every last drop out of a DVD (97% to 99%)


They are not for everyone, but I love them.


-Steve
 

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Quote:
First off its to bad you cant use the Taw forum for your question where it belongs. If I were AVS I would delete this thread and let Taw Forum ether deal with its own customer questions or loose the sales.
Tom C. good point.


Tom M I just saw you change your last post. A give away.


Thread now closed.
 
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