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I was going to build a HTPC, but then it occurred to me that my office PC is just on the other side of a wall to my AV room. So I thought with some upgrade to my pc, I could have it serve double duty.


I have a Sharp M20X (DLP XGA projector). I would like to feed this through the DVI port (non-HDCP). This would require me to upgrade my aging Radeon 64mb DDR VIVO card. Is there any particular reason to go with an ATI or Nvidia based card? The card would need to be able to output to two of three devices connected (S-video, DVI and VGA). Is there any issue with running a 10m DVI cable?


I would also need to some way to control the pc through the wall. I have seen several IR receiving devices (IRMAN, TIRA, etc). What is the best way to interface my PC and MX-700 remote?


Next comes sound. I have an old soundblaster 5.1 card. Is there a digital out on that? It doesn't apear to have a standard coaxial or optical output. I have heard good things about the M-Audio revolution and I noticed it has a nice coaxial output. Does the card really matter if you are just letting the receiver do the decoding?


Last (for now) is the software dvd player. Is one better than another? I have PowerDVD 5.0 and it looks great on my computer. I also tried TheaterTek. I know there are several others. I also have an old Hollywood decoder card. How does this compare to the software decoders?


My system as it stands : 1.4 GHZ Athlon, 512mb DDR, 120gig WD 8mb HD, Radeon 7200, Soundblaster LIve 5.1, 16x Pioneer DVD.


Lastly will this be worth it? Will the complete digital path (with the pc doing the scaling) for the video be a big improvement over my denon 1600 (running component video)?


Thanks
 

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I have somewhat the same setup as you, and a component video DVD and the PC just blows the DVD player away. HTPC with DVI-out will blow even the most expensive component video DVD player out.
 

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I have a HTPC with DVI on a 9700proAIW, and I can say the picture looks sharper than my 1600 via component. However, the deinterlacing is much worse on video-based sources because all software DVD players do flag-reading. I don't think any of them look different video-quality wise, but they do differ greatly in usability and audio features. Why flag-reading is bad I prefer the 1600 picture.

Ratings of Software and Hardware Players


Speaking of sound, the Soundblaster uses a 1/8" minijack for digital out--there is a large thread here somewhere in this very forum if you search for it.


The Hollywood plus puts out a very soft picture. And 30' is pretty far so you'd need to buy high-quality cables.
 
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