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  Reply # 188387 9-Jan-2009 13:16
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raftcomm: .......... I dont have a coffee table since i have 2 kids below the age of 5 and they scale these tables with ease so no point having it. Wink


I don't know what height your TV will be, but just be wary of the combination of little kids, sharp toys and the plastic screen of an LCD TV.




Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.



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  Reply # 188563 10-Jan-2009 13:37
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Thanks for the heads up. Will definitely monitor it for a few days. If it proves too dangerous, i might just go for the wall mounted solution.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 188880 12-Jan-2009 01:16
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for me, 2m is definitely far too close for 46". but judging by other's comments, it's definitely not a problem. it just a matter of getting used to it. just make sure it's full hd ans fed by a good signals/sources as 2m is very close viewing distance, so any artifacts will clearly showing in that distance and will definitely be annoying ! :)



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  Reply # 188933 12-Jan-2009 11:17
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Well its my first day with the 46" and with the 2m distance, its simply great! I didnt feel overwhelmed by the size at all.

The cables im using are shocking so its definitely time to upgrade those. Still using the standard composite connections to the sky decoder. The S-Video connection is really bad for the PC now. Used to be ok on the CRT.

Coming from a CRT, the pixellation is a little more obvious when viewing channels in SD but its still alright.

Time to use the HDMI ports and Sky HDi.

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  Reply # 188954 12-Jan-2009 12:47
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Personally, I would find 46" at 2m a bit much. I have less-than-perfect eyesight but find that 40" at 3.5m suits me just fine. However, the important thing is what you like, and congrats on a new setup which you are obviously enjoying.

Upgrading the cables is definitley a good idea. I couldn't really tell the differnece between composite and component on my old (25") TV, but sure can on the new (40") one. However, as a warning - some sky boxes can on only handle composite, while others are better. Before you upgrade the cables from composite make sure that you have a Sky box that can output in a better format. Sky will swap you up to a newer box (but I think there is a small charge for this). The newer decoders (I have the small silver one - Pace 230 as I recall) can output over component. I found Sky (on the 0800 number) were quite good about talking about what I wanted to do, and the relative merits of the (around 5) types decoders they used, and identified the one that was best for what I wanted. There was a short wait from memory as they didn't have any of that type in stock (I think they were trying to re-use some of the older composite only decoders that had been returned to them, or still had a large inventory to use up, or something). But a week or so later the guy rocked up in his van, was interested that it was an install order that specified which decoder model as "virtually no one does that", plugged in the decoder I wanted and the upgrade was done. HUGE inprovement. Also, personally I think the Monster cables are a huge rip-off and I would advise avoiding them for the upgrade, you can get decent component cables for much less.




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  Reply # 189208 13-Jan-2009 13:58
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However, as a warning - some sky boxes can on only handle composite, while others are better.


Thanks for the info. My sky box can only handle composite as i looked at the rear. Probably will stick with the composite connection for now as its alot of changes for very little improvement into component. The only other alternative was to upgrade to mySky but its quite abit more in terms of cost as i was told to not only do the upgrade but it needs an additional $10 for a HD card before i can see HD on the TV ($49 installation, $15monthly and $10 for HD card installation). Also, based on the threads, not all sky channels broadcast in HD. The channels i frequent most are the Documentary channels and sometimes the movies.

I did upgrade my connection to the PC to the VGA cable instead of the S-Video. HUGE improvement in terms of the display. Its just like how it looks on your desktop / laptop. Media Center and the desktop in general was so much clearer. Will probably stick with that until i get a better graphics card that has a HDMI output.


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  Reply # 189628 14-Jan-2009 20:45
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You cant tell by looking at the back what it will output, since they all go via the horrid scart plugs - jump into the spanner menu and then scart setup and see if component is listed there.

Sky will send out a scart to component cable either free or for a small amount depending who you get on the phone, and its an ok quality one. No audioquest but a hell of a lot better made then the cheapies off trademe for the same amount.




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  Reply # 189913 16-Jan-2009 00:17
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raftcomm: I did upgrade my connection to the PC to the VGA cable instead of the S-Video. HUGE improvement in terms of the display. Its just like how it looks on your desktop / laptop. Media Center and the desktop in general was so much clearer. Will probably stick with that until i get a better graphics card that has a HDMI output.


I wouldn't stress too much about getting HDMI for your HTPC.  Having used both VGA and HDMI on my 46" Samsung for Vista Media Centre running at 1920x1080 native (HDMI 1.3 with Deep Colour suported), I can honestly say I prefer VGA.  I can see very slight gradient banding on the blue wavy light effect on the Media Centre background display when connected via HDMI that isn't there on VGA - it looks smooth via VGA while still having the same colour depth.

So yes, you get audio over the same cable with HDMI, but if you're after an increase in visual clarity don't expect much difference with HDMI and it may even be a (albeit very small) step backwards.  If you're using a short-run shielded VGA cable, that ought to be pretty excellent.

Oh, and if you're going to get a new graphics card anyway, do ensure you get one with onboard h.264 decoding capability (for Blu-ray and FreeviewHD) - your Media Centre will thank you.

CJ

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  Reply # 189923 16-Jan-2009 04:28
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Our couch is about 2 1/2 metres from our TV stand.. we're looking at possibly getting a 52 inch HD LCD... Bigger the better I reckon ;)



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  Reply # 189966 16-Jan-2009 11:32
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Oh, and if you're going to get a new graphics card anyway, do ensure you get one with onboard h.264 decoding capability (for Blu-ray and FreeviewHD) - your Media Centre will thank you.

CJ


Ah yes great advice! It would have been something that i would have overlooked. Is this the type of upgrade that is needed for all future desktops in order to play back Blue Ray? ie: A Blue Ray drive AND a graphics card capable of decoding it?

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  Reply # 190043 16-Jan-2009 19:01
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raftcomm: Is this the type of upgrade that is needed for all future desktops in order to play back Blue Ray? ie: A Blue Ray drive AND a graphics card capable of decoding it?


Well, I guess it depends on the power of your PC.  New high-powered PCs can decode VC1 and h.264 codecs in software and still perform OK.  Judders may be noticeable in high-bandwidth scenes or if the PC is doing other processor-intensive tasks at the same time.

My feeling is that dedicated media centre PCs are not generally super-powered (in order for them to run quietly and unobtrusively) so I recommend to my clients who are considering hardware upgrades to get components that can do this in hardware.  This takes the codec processing burden off the CPU and gives it to the graphics card, which is better equipped for this task (hence my tongue-in-cheek comment that your media centre will thank you!)  It won't take much Google-ing for you to find reviews of graphics cards with this ability dropping CPU load from 90+% when watching a Blu-ray movie down to around 30%.

If you decide to do this, I recommend the Nvidia Geforce 8500 cards if you have a dedicated media centre PC (lower-specced so runs cooler and quieter), or the 8600 range if you have a part-time media centre/gaming machine.  These are inexpensive cards and should be considered the 'minimum' if you are after hardware that can decode Blu-ray and FreeviewHD content natively.

CJ

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  Reply # 190053 16-Jan-2009 20:52
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Friends have a 50" LCD at about 2 metres from their couch, not to far away but any closer and you may get eye strain and you will certainly notice the "watercolour" effect with SKY and other low resolution video. If you find you are getting headaches, try turning off "movie Virtual Frame increaser smoothness"(I'm not sure what they called the final product) and also expriment with DNiE

I had my 42" about 5 metres away in the lounge but it seemed far too small after only couple of weeks. I did have a 32" LCD as a pc monitor breifly and I loved but found it got very warm on my face! I'm back to a 24" monitor now and it looks tiny.



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  Reply # 190530 19-Jan-2009 14:06
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My feeling is that dedicated media centre PCs are not generally super-powered (in order for them to run quietly and unobtrusively) so I recommend to my clients who are considering hardware upgrades to get components that can do this in hardware.  This takes the codec processing burden off the CPU and gives it to the graphics card, which is better equipped for this task (hence my tongue-in-cheek comment that your media centre will thank you!)  It won't take much Google-ing for you to find reviews of graphics cards with this ability dropping CPU load from 90+% when watching a Blu-ray movie down to around 30%.

If you decide to do this, I recommend the Nvidia Geforce 8500 cards if you have a dedicated media centre PC (lower-specced so runs cooler and quieter), or the 8600 range if you have a part-time media centre/gaming machine.  These are inexpensive cards and should be considered the 'minimum' if you are after hardware that can decode Blu-ray and FreeviewHD content natively.

CJ


Thanks for the recommendation. Will certainly keep in mind when looking at the graphics card from now on. Its definitely money well spent if the hardware takes off the load from the CPU.

Unfortunately i didnt plan very well when i got the dedicated Media Centre. I basically went to the computer store and got them to put together a PC based on the specs i gave them. The biggest thing i overlooked was the CPU fan. So instead of being quiet as you mentioned it should be, it almost sounds like a jet taking off in my living room. It is sitting next to a floor standing speaker so it tends to overshadow the CPU fan but still noisy nonetheless.


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  Reply # 192078 26-Jan-2009 09:51
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raftcomm: The biggest thing i overlooked was the CPU fan. So instead of being quiet as you mentioned it should be, it almost sounds like a jet taking off in my living room. It is sitting next to a floor standing speaker so it tends to overshadow the CPU fan but still noisy nonetheless.

Unfortunately that's a pretty common thing to happen!  It's hard getting the right balance of speed vs quietness - it's got to be powerful enough to decode HD content but not so powerful that it takes expensive amounts of cooling to get it quiet enough so you can't hear it in the 'softer' movie scenes.

Actually, there could be some fortuitous timing here. (And apologies for an off-topic message, however since you are the OP, perhaps you won't mind too much.)  On Friday I just had a client change their mind on some specs of their new media centre, and I had ordered in a special CPU cooler for them.  So I have a surplus unopened Noctua NH-C12P (review at FrostyTech) CPU heatsink/fan that we don't need immediately, which I had been going to put into a HTPC case for them.  The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA775 and AMD AM2/AM2+ sockets, if these happen to be what you have.  If you'd like to chat about it more, maybe send me a PM.
Otherwise, all the best for your media centre journey!

CJ



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  Reply # 192093 26-Jan-2009 11:28
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The cooler is compatible with Intel LGA775 and AMD AM2/AM2+ sockets, if these happen to be what you have.  If you'd like to chat about it more, maybe send me a PM.

CJ


Email sent. Getting a quieter fan was always something i was always keen on, if its within budget of course.

FYI, im not a Moderator on the forum. Just a common member like everyone else. Smile

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