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Discussion Starter #1
I'm currently using a hardware solution for DVD (Cinemaster C-3.0 card, info at http://www.eyescream.se/~niclas/dvd/...r/hardware.htm ). It was great on a 36" monitor, but now that I've added a projector and a large screen, the picture looks pretty terrible. I downloaded trial versions of WinDVD and PowerDVD to compare the picture quality (I would have like to download Cineplayer as well, but they don't seem to have a trial version available). The result is obvious: both software players look far better than the hardware card, even on my 450MHz P3 with an OEM ATI All-In-Wonder Pro (running Win98 first edition). WinDVD looks a little better than PowerDVD, but I haven't done any tweaking or anything.


So what's the problem? Why don't I just buy WinDVD and get back to watching movies? Digital output. Currently, the only SP/DIF digital output that I have is a part of the Cinemaster hardware decoder. If I switch to the sofware solution, I'll be losing the digital output to my receiver. [No! I can't go back to pro-logic sound... ;) ]


So here's my question. What is the minimum that I need to add to get SP/DIF output of both DD and DTS (without any alteration of the bitstream by the card or the drivers)? Also, is it possible to add a card with digital out to run alongside my current soundcard, or would I need to completely replace the current card?


I also would like to get a general idea from people about the quality of Cineplayer, since I wasn't able to compare it with the others (you'd think there would be incentive for Ravisent to make a trial version available). Is it any better than WinDVD in picture quality? Any more/less stable?


Thanks,

Matthew
 

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The most barebones I've heard of is the Zoltrix Nightingale card.


Personally my new favorite is PowerDVD XP. Looks just as good as ATi player to me with great features and stability. The TheaterTek player looks real interesting as well though.
 

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cineplayer 4.0 doesn't seem to do a good job at optimizing its processes. in otherwords, I can't get DTS passthrough to work with my 1.4GHZ machine! I think that windvd will be your best bet. It has offered the most stable DTS stream of any player I have tried, including power dvd xp. If you buy both windvd and power dvd xp, you will be able to use their filters to play in zoom player. doing this will give you the rock solid DTS stream of windvd, with the superior picture of power dvd xp. I believe that the windows xp dvd add-on packs, available for around $10, from each of the respective companies include the same filters as the more expensive players, so you may be able to do that. I cannot confirm that you will have the same functionality using the add-on pack filters as you would by using the player filters, but like I said I have been told that they are indeed the same filters.


to learn about zoomplayer, you can choose to search this forum, or go to infomatrix.com, and find the links to learn about zoomplayer. basically it is a free player that uses the filters of your choosing from any installed commercial software dvd player.


also, I would say that you should try and find a cheap upgrade to 98SE somewhere, I think the update is cheap. I have seen alot of software claim that it only will work on 98SE.


I thought your ati aiw is capable of giving you s/pdif out? I know you can use that under cineplayer 4.0, not sure about the other players.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info.


hmcgrath, I do have an upgrade disc for Win98SE, but I haven't installed it yet because some of my other software is rumored to have problems with SE. If I end up going with DVD software that requires SE, I'll try it on my second hard drive just to see how it goes.


The ATI AIW that I have is an OEM version of the AIW Pro model, which doesn't have an SP/DIF out.


Thanks,

Matthew
 

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oops, I forgot to mention that I never was able to get S/PDIF passthru with the Zoomplayer under Windows ME. Some people have done it, but not me, and I tried.


so that basically throws my other post out, except for the fact that zoom player is free, and you can try it whenever you like.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Okay, I think I've decided to do one of two things:


1) Buy an M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 card from Digital Connection bundled with PowerDVD 3.0. It will get me a good software player and one of the best soundcards for DD/DTS passthrough for $169. I'd prefer WinDVD, but the Digital Connection deal only adds $10 for PowerDVD, versus another $50 for WinDVD.


2) Buy a Radeon All-In-Wonder from Best Buy while it's on sale for $150 with another $30 rebate. This would get me a better picture than I'll ever get with my AIW Pro (and as a side benefit, I could pick it up immediately instead of waiting for an order). The downside is that I wouldn't have DTS passthrough, since the S/PDIF on the AIW Radeon only passes a DD bitstream.


Any thoughts?


Thanks,

Matthew
 
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