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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I built my HTPC around a year ago and I never got full use of the system for watching DVDs (it seemed to be one problem after another with drivers, hardware, etc...)


My HTPC capable Radeon card is now being used in my main pc (since new motherboard didn't like my old agp card). So I have a HTPC system almost going to waste (I run an older AIW composite video out to the TV).


The problem:

My Mits only has one HD input which is used by my HD STB now. I do have one 480p input left though. I never could get 540p/1080i out of the Radeon, using 480p seems acceptable.



Goals:

1) to have a progressive scan DVD player finally (I've had my HDTV for well over a year)

2) maybe improve quality of my DirecTivo output (hoping it can be improved with a scaler of some sort)

3) way to switch high quality video from HTPC and STB into TV


Options:

A) buy:

1-Radeon 7200

2-AudioAuthority VGA->comp transcoder (for HTPC)

*connect it to 480p input

*live with DirecTivo through svideo


2) buy:

1-Radeon 7200

2-AudioAuthority VGA->comp transcoder (for HTPC)

3-AudioAuthority? component video autoswitch

*connect it to 1080i input (auto switch stb and htpc)

*live with DirecTivo through svideo



3) buy:

1-Radeon AIW 8500dv, pray for the dongle

2-AudioAuthority? component video autoswitch

*connect it to 1080i input (auto switch stb and htpc)

*live with DirecTivo through svideo


4) buy:

1-Radeon 7200

2-Extron scaler/switcher for $10K

*switch everything including DirecTivo through the scaler

*sell car :)



5) buy:

1-Radeon 7200

2-capture card that works with dscaler

3-AudioAuthority? comp->vga transcoder (for STB)

4-AudioAuthority? vga autoswitch

*watch DirecTivo through the dscaler (can I do this somehow?)

*this seems like the ultimate HTPC usage but does it all work?

*which video card has the most inputs that dscaler can source from?


6) buy:

1-JVC 7 disc DVD progressive changer

*far less headaches and cussing out my HTPC :)

*live with DirecTivo through svideo



Any advice for me on which hardware to buy?
 

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I'm not sure that I'm totally understanding what problems you are having. What inputs are you talking about on your TV? What model TV do you have. What problems did you have getting 540p output from your PC? It sounds like your primary issue is a configuration one.


My suggestion for the ultimate setup would be:

Get a dvd player with SDI output

Get a Si silk card

plug the sdi dvd into the silk card's sdi in

plug the tivo into the silk card's s-video in

run DScaler


You could also get a Tivo with sdi output but I think that you will see more improvement with the dvd. I also think that you will be amazed at what DScaler can do with the Tivo's output of s-video. You can get this with any supported s-video input card and DScaler.


I'm sure if you provide more information about your television and setup issues there are many people on this forum that can get you going.


Thanks,

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply!


Not sure what SDI is, I will start looking into it and the Silk card. I'm kind of stuck with the DirecTivo for a while.


A quick search for si silk tv cards doesn't show up anything at google, are you abreviating something?


Isn't it best to use software DVD player on the HTPC, as opposed to running an external DVD signal through dscaler?


My TV is Mitsubishi 55807. HTPC has DVD-ROM, DD audio, etc... (everything except video card). Other system details can be found in my signature link.


The setup of 480p/540p/1080i to the TV isn't my biggest concern at the moment. I'm just trying to decide which hardware I should buy in order to meet my goals:

1) to have a progressive scan DVD player finally (I've had my HDTV for well over a year)

2) maybe improve quality of my DirecTivo output (hoping it can be improved with a scaler of some sort)

3) way to switch high quality video from HTPC and STB into TV (auto-switch and/or transcode one of the two signals)



Thanks again!
 

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There is still a great debate regarding whether sdi or software is better. There is no question that both of these methods are going to be superior to a progressive dvd output. This is because the progressive dvd output is going to be 480p but the htpc is going to output however many lines your display can support. At the same time, you can buy a good progressive dvd player (Panasonic RP56) for $150 and you will get very good results. Not that your tv is small but most people that are arguing about the relative benefits of these technologies are driving front projectors. As a result they are much more sensitive to small flaws in the picture.


Personally, I think DScaler is a better processor than any software dvd player. If you look at the DScaler web site you can see some screen shots of DScaler using the analog s-video output of the dvd player compared to software dvd players. I think that the s-video/DScaler shots are as good if not better. DScaler also has the advantage of producing much smoother pans.


Unless the video processor in your tv is exceptional, DScaler from the DirecTivo s-video out should be a lot better. This is how I am currently running my DirecTivo while I try to figure out how to add an SDI out to it. I'm in a little different situation than you are because I am doing front projection and the processor in my projector (plv-60ht) is terrible but the picture from DScaler is at least 2 times as good as the Tivo plugged into the s-video in on the projector.


You can get a lot more info on SDI just by doing a search on it but in short it takes the digital video signal from the dvd player before it has ever undergone any conversion to analog or processing and outputs it. This allows DScaler to process the cleanest possible digital signal and as a result gives the best results.


Thanks,

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I must have fallen asleep for a few months and missed a lot of new stuff :)


I think the popular opinion is that the line-doubler in the Mitsubishi RPTV's is not that good, but comparing the $5-10K price of the external scalers, I think it does pretty good.


At the moment I'm leaning towards going for the dscaler route. I could even try this with my non-progressive external dvd player right? I'll leave SDI out of the picture for now since the input card is $600 and you have to customize a DVD player(?).


So it looks like I need to buy:

-video card (Radeon 8500?), $110

-input capture card (wintv?), $100

-component to RGBHV transcoder (for my STB), $200

-RGBHV auto-switch (for my STB/HTPC), $200


Do any video cards have component out yet? That would save me a transcoder.
 

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Hey,


Sometimes I feel like setting up my HTPC to just use Dscaler and then providing it with an external player but there's a couple of reasons to use software DVD players.


1) Never see a layer change. A good friend of mine has a Sony S7000 which was a great player in it's day but layer changes are real clumsy on it. If layer changes are that bad on other players as well there's no way I will consider giving up software DVD.


2) Macrovision. See the Dscaler FAQ about the purple stripes issue. If the external player you have passes the macrovision protection to Dscaler then Dscaler has to do some heavy processing to get rid of it. Either way you signal is damaged goods.


3) Region Coding. This hasn't been an issue for me since all my DVD's are region 1 but it's nice to have the flexabilty of a software solution that provides for other regions playback. I realize there are custom STB's that do this as well so those would get around this issue.


If you are building a PC capable of running Dscaler and you have a Radeon in there, I would recommend getting the other gear needed to run software DVD.


-Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Brian Hampton


If you are building a PC capable of running Dscaler and you have a Radeon in there, I would recommend getting the other gear needed to run software DVD.
What other gear are you referring to? I do have a SB live currently running digital to my receiver. I had a DVD at 480p running from my HTPC to my TV a while back. Then I decided to switch to Win2k and never got everything running again. Then I stole the Radeon out of the HTPC for use in my main PC. So I'm just trying to get the video card(s) decided upon.


I'll stick with software DVD decoding for now, the Strategic Defense Initiative can wait :)


Thanks!
 

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To quote you...


"Then I decided to switch to Win2k and never got everything running again"


That Win2K is something great isn't it? I guess the other gear I meant was a DVD rom drive, a sound card (sblive unless you want to upgrade it) and DVD software.


Good Luck,


Brian
 

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This may not be a concern for you but another very nice feature of the dscaler route is the user interface. You can basically leave dscaler running on the pc and no one (wife/girlfriend) has to know that they aren't just using a regular dvd player.


A couple of tips.


The tivo will really benefit from some of the filters that dscaler has. Try a lot of combinations of them for the best picture. You may find that you don't have enough processing power to run them all or some of them might not help the picture.


In the long run you will want to make sure your dvd player is chroma bug free. The Panasonic mpeg decoder that is used by many machines is free of this problem.


Over the s-video you may have macrovision problems. I believe there are some tricks to getting past this on dscalers site. You can also buy a modification for many dvd players that bypass the macrovision. These mods are
 

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Or you can buy Apex AD-1500 DVD player for less than $90 and flash it to remove macrovision and region protection.

Anyhow, Is it possible to use DSCALER to impove DIVX movies that are being played on the computer itself or does it only work with video that goes through tuner cards video input?

Another question, do you guys mostly use DSCALER with HDTVs that have VGA input? Does it make sense to use DSCALER to impove video that comes in trhough video-in port and then output it through S-Video out(Geforce2mx) to the non-HD TV. I guess Video-out does reduce some quality, so would this be better than just connecting dvd to tv directly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Any idea how the quality of my DirecTivo through dscaler (to 1080i) would compare to the quality of my HD STB which upconverts/scales(?) DirecTV to 1080i?


Right now it doesn't look a lot better I don't think (I'm talking standard channels not HD of course).


I just thought of this and its making me think its not worth the trouble to go through all of this. I really like one box solutions, the idea of running everything through the HTPC (for dscaler), then through a transcoder, then through an auto-switch... Maybe I'll just keep waiting for the perfect product that does everything I want in one nice box :)


** Do any video cards output component video??? ** This will save me a lot of hassle I think.


Regarding Win2k, I'd much rather run win2k than reboot win95 every couple hours. Thankfully I'm at the point where all the machines I use on a regular basis are win2k nt or xp.
 
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