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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to set up a HTPC on a budget. I already have an older HP dc5100 3GHz PC wih 2GB of RAM available to use for this. Unfortunately, this PC only has VGA video output from its built in video. I am going to be connecting this to an older Hitachi HD TV that only has 1 DVI input and 2 Component inputs. Originally I thought I could buy a cheap video card with an HDMI out and connect it to my TV with an HDMI to DVI cable, but my PC only has PCI slots for expansion. A quick web search showed me there are no inexpensive PCI video cards available to do the job.


After looking around, I am thinking of using a either a VGA to HDMI converter or a VGA to Component converter.


The two I am looking at are these:


http://www.ramelectronics.net/audio-.../prod9A60.html

http://www.hdtvsupply.com/vga-to-hdmi.html



My question is this, which convertor do you think will output a better picture? A second question would be whether or not either of these convertors is worth the money?


Some additional info:


My TV is a 720P rear projection unit and my PC's onboard video is capable of displaying 1280 x 720 at 60 Hz so it should work with either of these convertors.


My reciever is an Onkyo TX-SR702 and only has Component inputs for video switching.


I already have an Oppo DVD player connected to the DVI input on my TV, so if I use the HDMI convertor I will either need a DVI switch box or I will need to manually switch the connections between the two outputs.


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Your wasting your money on any of these converters. VGA is already compatible with Component. VGA is analog and so is component and so is DVI-A and DVI-I (Single or Dual Link). All you need is a VGA to component cable or VGA to DVI-A cable. Your screen should be able to take in an analog DVI single (double check some only take in digital signals).


The bigger question is is your machine fast enough to decode 720p? If your using on board video your gluten for punishment... Is that 3Ghz processor is a true dual core (not hyper threading)? If so its still questionable but most likely your OK.. if its a single core forget it... Also what are you going to do about sound? Is there a sound card in there? And lastly, cross your fingers you dont have Audio/video sync issues.


Try to keep your cost very low.. retrofitting older machines for HTPC is not easy but can be a fun test.


I say to keep it low.. get a VGA to component cable.. (7 - 8 dollars on amazon) try it out.. if it doesnt work you only lost 7 - 8 dollars.. If not you can then try upgrading the video
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130499


Is your best bet.. DVI to DVI now.. and now you will have DXVA decoding (decoding on the GPU rather then on the CPU). Just will need to worry about sound.. get a cheap sound card if that is the case...


Keep in mind I built my HTPC for around $350.. (or you can get a Acer Revo) anything over $100 bucks is a waste as I see it as your 30% there to a full fledged HTPC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmcbride67 /forum/post/16975536


I am trying to set up a HTPC on a budget. I already have an older HP dc5100 3GHz PC wih 2GB of RAM available to use for this. Unfortunately, this PC only has VGA video output from its built in video. I am going to be connecting this to an older Hitachi HD TV that only has 1 DVI input and 2 Component inputs. Originally I thought I could buy a cheap video card with an HDMI out and connect it to my TV with an HDMI to DVI cable, but my PC only has PCI slots for expansion. A quick web search showed me there are no inexpensive PCI video cards available to do the job.


After looking around, I am thinking of using a either a VGA to HDMI converter or a VGA to Component converter.


The two I am looking at are these:


http://www.ramelectronics.net/audio-.../prod9A60.html

http://www.hdtvsupply.com/vga-to-hdmi.html



My question is this, which convertor do you think will output a better picture? A second question would be whether or not either of these convertors is worth the money?


Some additional info:


My TV is a 720P rear projection unit and my PC's onboard video is capable of displaying 1280 x 720 at 60 Hz so it should work with either of these convertors.


My reciever is an Onkyo TX-SR702 and only has Component inputs for video switching.


I already have an Oppo DVD player connected to the DVI input on my TV, so if I use the HDMI convertor I will either need a DVI switch box or I will need to manually switch the connections between the two outputs.


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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RGB component is a subset of VGA component. YPrPb(HDTV-out) component is not, even though they can use the same video cables with R,G and B RCA connectors.

Also very few displays (if any) accept YPrPb analog componenet input over a DVI-I interface connector. they normally only accept DVI or HDMI digital over their DVI or HDMI connetor.
 

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You are correct.. I was mixing up RGB and component.


If that is the case then those other units just seem a waste to me.. either upgrade the video card with the ones we recommended that provide DVI OR hold off and build a new machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by walford /forum/post/16976459


RGB component is a subset of VGA component. YPrPb(HDTV-out) component is not, even though they can use the same video cables with R,G and B RCA connectors.

Also very few displays (if any) accept YPrPb analog componenet input over a DVI-I interface connector. they normally only accept DVI or HDMI digital over their DVI or HDMI connetor.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanglx /forum/post/16976390


Your wasting your money on any of these converters. VGA is already compatible with Component.

VGA is not compatible with consumer Component Video (YPbPr) they are completely different signals, which is what 99% of people mean when they say "component". VGA is RGBHV, while Component is Y (luminance) and red/blue difference signals (Pb/Pr).


The OP would probably be best off getting a PCI graphics card with DVI on it. I think you can get a GeForce 8200 in that configuration. But still, depending on what is intended to be played, that may not work well.
 

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+1 for the card walford posted.


Like walford says, RGB and Component are not the same. Those $5 VGA >RGB cables are just that VGA>RGB, NOT VGA >component (YPrPb). They will only work on TVs that support RGB (SCART mostly in Europe I think).


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the replies everyone. I had no idea you could still get PCI video cards with relatively modern GPU's. I'll definately look into getting one of those instead of an external converter box.


Stanglx, as far as audio goes, I have an older 7.1 card with optical SPDIF out, but unforetunately it is a full height card and I have a low profile box. I was thinking of getting a right angle PCI riser and putting the card into the case that way. I've seen them for about $9.00 on ebay. Of course if anyone knows of a realy cheap low profile audio card with SPDIF out that would be an option too.


The processor in my PC is an old single core 3GHz chip. I know that it certainly isn't all that fast, but should it be OK for HD playback if I get one of the cards suggested? I'm guessing that most of the heavy lifting would be shifted off the CPU onto the new card's GPU?


By the way, I am planning on running Windows 7 MCE on this box. I'm running the Windows 7 RC on it right now and am pleasantly supprised at it's performance on such old hardware.
 

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Even though the cards we recommended will allow the decoding to happen in the GPU you will need to make sure what ever movie you are using complies to strongly to the bluray spec. If the moving was rendered (transcoded) outside of spec it will default to the CPU and a single core will not be enough for 720p (maybe). (Im stating in simple general terms)


Any sound card should be sufficient for AC3 or DTS that has SPDIF - go with the cheapest. If you spend anything more then 50 - 100 bucks your throwing money away. All this technology is relatively useless in todays time. I would recommend trying to find a real cheap bare bone OR buy a used machine on ebay for $100 bucks..


Yea.. just installed Win 7 RTM on my netbook and I can say WOW.. much better then XP!



Quote:
Originally Posted by tmcbride67 /forum/post/16976872


Thanks for the replies everyone. I had no idea you could still get PCI video cards with relatively modern GPU's. I'll definately look into getting one of those instead of an external converter box.


Stanglx, as far as audio goes, I have an older 7.1 card with optical SPDIF out, but unforetunately it is a full height card and I have a low profile box. I was thinking of getting a right angle PCI riser and putting the card into the case that way. I've seen them for about $9.00 on ebay. Of course if anyone knows of a realy cheap low profile audio card with SPDIF out that would be an option too.


The processor in my PC is an old single core 3GHz chip. I know that it certainly isn't all that fast, but should it be OK for HD playback if I get one of the cards suggested? I'm guessing that most of the heavy lifting would be shifted off the CPU onto the new card's GPU?


By the way, I am planning on running Windows 7 MCE on this box. I'm running the Windows 7 RC on it right now and am pleasantly supprised at it's performance on such old hardware.
 

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Sorry stanglx, started post, phone rang, talked to daughter, finished post, hit the post button and what did I see but 2 responses made while I was on the phone.



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