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Hello all. New project, separate from the task of locating a suitable projector, but still related. I now undertake the task of figuring out the best possible method for getting video signals from a: various sources to b: the projector. When I say "best", I specifically mean this: I seek the ability to take video from a VCR, a PC, DirecTV, and various gaming consoles, and convert all of those into 1365x1024 progressive, with all deinterlacing and (insert your favorite artifacts here) considerations covered. Video from the PC includes whatever method is needed to get film video (is that term acceptable?) from a DVD without necessitating 3:2 pulldown.


I often see people mention "Home Theater PC" systems. HTPC. I have done some searches on this. Naturally, such systems come in all flavors. Some are put together by Digital Connection. A lot are homemade. It is my understanding that a HTPC solution enables the (currently) best possible video from DVDs.


I know there are FAQs aplenty on this subject, but what I'm after is straightforward and the answer doesn't seem to be all that easy to find. We all know how a stand alone DVD player functions. You eject the tray, plunk a DVD in, close the tray. Screen shows nothing up until this point, or perhaps the DVD manufacturer's logo. Certainly not a desktop with a mouse pointer. Once the DVD is acknowledged, it automatically starts playing, typically bringing up the menu. Full-screen, of course. Again, no mouse pointer. You do everything with a nice remote control. The audio does not stutter. Fast forwards don't chug (much). Rewinds and chapter searches and other things don't cause the unit to choke. The hardware does not blue-screen. Ejecting the disc does not cause errors; it simply brings back the manufacturer's logo, or the black screen.


This is solidity.


What is the software / hardware combination which can accomplish this?


And that's not all, of course. Things get a little more complicated. Let's cover the film refresh-rate aspect. 24fps, right? If you want the PC to display that, I've been told you need to select 48Hz, or perhaps 96Hz, and feed that to the projector. Fine, I'm sure there are hardware configurations which can handle 720x480 (or even PowerStripped 1365x1024 or whatever) at 96Hz. What I'm concerned about is what happens when you play a DVD that has non-film video. 30fps stuff. Is there a way to get the software to automatically detect this and switch over to 60Hz? Even if there is, wouldn't this cause a brief glitch? What's the solution?


Maybe the solution is to play everything at 120Hz (I'm thinking not). I'm not technically inclined enough to know for certain, but it seems to me that there must be limits to how well a projector is going to handle ultra-high refresh rates and oddball resolutions. It likely depends on the projector, so let's say I'm dealing with the Hitachi 5500.


These problems have to have issues; elsewise, I wouldn't be seeing so much talk about HTPCs, and certainly not in that they are primarily used for playing DVDs. That's why I'm asking about them.


Well, that's not the end, of course. That covers one video source. For the rest, I suppose I am looking at perhaps three options:


1) Pipe the video from the VCR (Svideo, probably), PC (RGB?), DirecTV (component? need to research) and gaming consoles (Svideo and perhaps component) directly to the projector, letting its internal processor handle it all.


This option is very unappealing. I've read the reports, and seen it for myself. Projectors just don't process video well, as a rule.


2) Pipe all Svideo and component sources to a Denon 5803, pipe its component-out to (an as-yet undetermined video processor, originally intended to be the Faroudja NRS until it was discovered that the **** Hitachi 5500 cannot do pixel-perfect 1365x1024), scale it to the projector's full-panel resolution, and then pipe the results to the projector.


I suppose this would work, and is probably a good lazy man's solution. No telling what sort of signal degradation I'd be looking at, in dealing with what would probably be some non-digital conversion.


3) Pipe all video to the PC, scale it to the projector's full-panel resolution, and then pipe the results to the projector.


It doesn't seem as though anybody has really nailed down the ultimate, fully working PC setup for this concept. I've seen solutions for DVD, of course. Easy. I've seen solutions for NTSC and HDTV, which unfortunately all seem to be based on hardware which draws video directly to the desktop, with all of the compromises that implies (such as aspect ratio issues). Haven't heard of a DirecTV solution, except the obvious idea of piping it in as NTSC. So, input solutions, numerous and confounding. Scaling solutions, unknown. Output solutions, also not very clear.


I know that in theory, a HTPC should be able to give the best possible results with any of the video signals I'd ever want to display on a projector, and for considerably less than a dedicated video processor which would be unlikely to be capable of matching the HTPC's quality. That's the appeal. The unappeal is of course the kludge aspect of the whole operation.


Btw, does anyone know what Cristie's Vivid Red's maximum pixel-perfect capacity is? I've asked in another thread, but thought I'd cover the bases. Since the Hitachi cannot handle (and will NEVER be capable of handling) pixel-perfect input of its own full-panel resolution (1365x1024), I've booted that projector's viability down to somewhere below a 25" direct-view. G150CL doesn't fare much better, being that its #1 benefit over the 99% similar G15 is semi-resolved lamp issues, for an extra $5000 that makes the whole thing moot.
 
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