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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would I be expecting too much from a HTPC if I wanted to replace my aging DVD player and CD player with a HTPC that would perform better?


I'm sure this has been asked before and my brain hurts from reading all the info on HTPC's here. I'm actually researching myself into a frenzy and have purged all that is not required in order to keep enough brain cells free to maintain breathing and I'm feeling kinda faint as it is.


There seem to be a zillion different combinations and things to consider. Here are my requirements as far as I can remember.


1. DVD video playback on par with a decent stand alone DVD player.

2. Digital audio outs so my AV receiver can process the digital audio signals

3. CD Audio playback on par with something like a Sony ES player (analog outs possible here?)

4. Ability to pass a HDTV signal for processing (if I ever get HDTV)

5. I intend to create a CD jukebox with this system also but that's easy

6. DVD-A?

7. SACD appears to be a no go period...is this true?

8. I'd like to be able to capture video for TiVo functionality


Is there one video card that will do all I need? One sound card?


My current TV doesn't have DVI or anything fancy. I'm currently using S-Video but could go comp. I suppose. I intend to upgrade sets in a year or so...maybe DLP at that time.


Thanks for any suggestions to help me regain my footing. My head hurts.


Darren
 

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All possible. Right now for DVD-A you need an Audigy soundcard I believe. If you're only using SVideo you won't see any real video improvement over a STB. PVR functionality is available with a variety of cards and software... I like the WinTV250/350 with SageTV.


-MP
 

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It is absolutely possible to get the things you desire by using an HTPC. Here's one recommendation for hardware in order to accomplish what you are wanting:
  • Any ATI or NVidia video card 64MB or greater
  • Zoltrix Nightingale Pro 6 sound card (SPDIF optical in and out...cheap at less than $50)
  • myHD MDP-100 or MDP-120 HDTV tuner card
  • BIG hard drive (80 GB+, depending on how much timeshifting you want to do)


The ATI and NVidia cards will give you great video performance and allow for a multitude of tweaking to get the picture "just right". As for sound, I always recommend the Zoltrix card as it has the "big bang for the buck" niche. It has true fiber optic SPDIF output along with an input, thus allowing you to simply connect a fiber optic cable from the card directly into your receiver, letting it do the job of processing the audio. This also works well for replaying CDs, as it sends the digital signal directly out the SPDIF.


The myHD card will give you OTA HDTV decoding capabilities along with Tivo-like timeshifting features directly to your hard drive. It will capture both analong and digital feeds. A huge hard drive is a must if you plan to do a lot of timeshifting or ripping of CDs and DVDs. If memory serves me correctly, myHD states that the average is 8GB per hour for an HDTV feed to be recorded.


The only thing that you would need if you decided to go to a component output as opposed to a 15-pin VGA would be some sort of transcoder or dongle. I believe that ATI makes a component dongle for their higher-end cards, but I've never used one so I can't help you a lot there.


It's really not that hard to get a computer integrated into a home theater environment. The hard part of an HTPC is making it work and be controlled as though it isn't a computer, but a big, powerful remote.


If I've given any misinformation or have omitted something, someone please chime in.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Dagmandt
.......


My current TV doesn't have DVI or anything fancy. I'm currently using S-Video but could go comp. ....
I assume you have a regular TV. You should see some improvement by simply using component (not composite), rather than s-video. However, do not expect any (major) improvement concerning picture quality when using an HTPC together with a regular TV. Be warned that getting an HTPC to work at peak performance is not plug-and-play (as you can tell by the posts in this forum). It actually takes a lot of effort and it only can really shine when paired with an appropriate display. If you want to use a HTPC mainly for video rather than audio, I would suggest to hang on until you have a better display available- you mentioned “in a year or soâ€. Today’s HTPC hardware will be superceded by cheaper and more powerful hardware in a year anyway…


However, it’s is a fun hobby after all.. - in particular with the right display. :)

_______

Axel
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Axel
I assume you have a regular TV. You should see some improvement by simply using component (not composite), rather than s-video. However, do not expect any (major) improvement concerning picture quality when using an HTPC together with a regular TV. Be warned that getting an HTPC to work at peak performance is not plug-and-play (as you can tell by the posts in this forum). It actually takes a lot of effort and it only can really shine when paired with an appropriate display. If you want to use a HTPC mainly for video rather than audio, I would suggest to hang on until you have a better display available- you mentioned “in a year or soâ€. Today’s HTPC hardware will be superceded by cheaper and more powerful hardware in a year anyway…


However, it’s is a fun hobby after all.. - in particular with the right display. :)

_______

Axel


Yes, I have a 61" Toshiba CRT set. I can go component for improved picture right now but just haven't done it yet :) The reason I'm considering the HTPC option is because I need a new CD player and could benefit from a new DVD player. I don't necessarily need a better picture from a DVD player, just as good as what a stand alone player would provide for me. In other words I don't want to go backwards with picture quality by going with a HTPC for displaying DVD on my CRT set.


Darren
 
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