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7 posts

Wannabe Geek


Topic # 31727 28-Mar-2009 15:27
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Long time reader, first time poster :)

Like many others here I'm starting an HD HTPC project (feels like a career) and since I haven't built a PC in about 10 years it's a rather daunting task, given the sheer number of options available...

I'm currently using an S1 TiVo with the NZTiVo image recording from a SKY STB, but now that I have a full HDTV it doesn't really cut the mustard. It's hooked up to a 40" LCD and a 5.1 receiver, coupled to a 2.4GHz video sender for TV in the bedroom (I didn't go for XBMC as the TiVo UI is the accepted interface in my household!).

To comply with WAF requirements and ease the migration phase, I need a video card capable of outputting both 1080p HDMI (living room TV) and s-video/composite (for the video sender) simultaneously. I don't even know if this is possible let alone bearable downscaling to PAL on a 20" CRT. Eventually I'll have some sort of extender in the bedroom to avoid nasty viewing conflicts.

So... I've decided (heh - that's a new word) to base the build around a case - an Antec Fusion V2 with 430w PSU and inbuilt VFD. I'm so indecisive even that took me a couple weeks!

Now I have my flash looking case, still in its box, sitting in my living room doing absolutely SFA. Rather than make a career out making some hardware decisions (esp. price vs function), I thought I'd use the power of the intertubes and put it to the masses.

Price plays a big factor as I'm wanting best bang for buck... Oh, and I'm predominantly a Linux user, breaking my sans-windows policy (again another WAF improvement).

* Intel or AMD? I hear some say the new Intel Core2 processors give you more bang for buck, I've never used AMD although I wouldn't mind giving it a go.

* ATI or Nvidia? Most of you seem to be favoring the Nvidia cards, I've been through the pain of ATI on Linux machines, and when Linux solutions become more viable I'd rather not limit my options.

* IGP or discrete GPU? I can't seem to find a mobo with suitable IGP and compositie/s-video out - does such a thing exist (780G or 8200/8300?). According to this table at missingremote the 8200/8300 is capable of "advanced" HD deinterlacing if you pair it with a Phenom processor, but on price point it's cheaper to get a discrete card and an Athlon CPU.

If I go for a discrete GPU (like an 8500) do they come with compositie/s-video out (is this what the mfrs mean by TV-out??) and is it possible to run both HDMI and TV simultaneously? Which brand??

* Tuner... uh oh..? So I want to record Freeview and Sky at the same time - I'm prepared to use the Sky STB if I can controll the IR & get a card that would encode the analog (composite) output. Getting this to work reliably using TiVo is already a challenge, I'd need something just as stable. The alternative is I get a DVB-S or combo card - has anyone had much luck decoding Sky on an HTPC? What about HD?

I think that's about it, I guess all the other bits are a relatively easy choice (HDD, RAM etc). I can't believe how much things have changed, and even with such a number of choices it is hard to find the gear that does the job.

Any comments / criticism appreciated, and again I apologise for hitting such a thrashed topic :)

Matt


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  Reply # 203925 28-Mar-2009 22:45
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I think decoding sky on the HTPC sounds quite complicated, and you need a special card reader along with the appropriate type of card.  I've read about it sounds very hard.  You might be better using an IR blaster and using S-video in on the HTPC.

I have a 780G (ATI) motherboard, it can do HDMI and VGA simultaneously via the IGP (HD3200) and I'm pretty sure you can get VGA->S-Video adaptor.

If you want to use an extender for TV, you might want to go for GBPVR and use PopCornHour with that.  As far as I'm aware there is no extender for MP other than another stand alone PC.

For tuner a lot of people use HVR2200, this gives you analog and digital TV. watch 2 different muxes at once (ie 2 or more channels at once in MP or 2 channels at once in GBPVR)

You should probably just price up a system and ask for opinions as your topic is so broad.

Most people feel that Nvidia gives you better hardware acceleration of Freeview HD DVB-T TV, but I feel that ATI is just as good with the current drivers available now.




HTPC: Intel i3-2100 / 12GB RAM / AMD HD7750 / 480 GB SSD / 58TB Storage / MediaPortal / MadVR / Win10
AVR: Pioneer Elite SC-LX87 220W 9.2 Ch AVR
Speakers: Wharfedale Jade 7 Fronts / Jade 2c Center / Jade 5 Rears
Subs: iNuke 3000dsp 3000W proamp with 4x 15" JBL Sealed Subs
Display: Samsung 60" UA60H6400 LCD TV
Accessories: Gefen HDMI Detective with splitter




7 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 204865 2-Apr-2009 10:59
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Thanks for that. I think I might give Sky on the box a miss until I'm comfortable with FTA content.

Here's what I've been considering so far:

MOBO: Asustek M3N78-EM mATX
VIDEO: Will see how the on board 8300 performs, otherwise I'll look at something like a Leadtek WINFAST PX8500 GT
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+, dual core, socket AM2, 2.4GHz
TUNER: Hauppauge HVR2200 (thanks for the recommendation)
RAM: 2GB DDR2 - recommendations please!
HDD: 500GB-1TB, whatever I have left in my budget after all of the above :)

So my questions are:
Any other recommendations for an 8500GT, perhaps with TV out?
If I get a card with TV out, is it possible to display the same picture over TV out as the 1080p picture over HDMI/DVI? I know composite/s-video is limited to 576i so I would expect some loss of detail, if this is at all possible.
Any advantage in the mobo with integrated 8300 (eg SLI), if I end up getting a discrete video card?
Is 2GB enough RAM for HTPC?
Any reason why I wouldn't get an HVR3000 over the 2200? They are cheaper and support DVB-S.
Is the CPU fit for purpose?

Thanks again, I know I'm asking pretty broad questions and lots of them, it's all rather new to me so I appreciate your patience :)
Of course I will be more than willing to reciprocate once I've got a working system (can't have the blind leading the blind now!).

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  Reply # 204964 2-Apr-2009 18:28
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As long as 8300 supports hardware acceleration of h264 you should be fine, i am not familiar with this card/nvidia cards. Do a search.  Get a card that can output 24Hz/50Hz/60Hz @ 1920x1080 (if your display is compatible).  Most encoded movies are 24Hz, so if you have 24Hz it's smoother than watching at 50Hz.  You need to switch to 50Hz for Freeview (which is PAL 50Hz signal).  Latest SVN and MP 1.0.1 support auto changing of refresh rates depending on what content you are viewing.

HVR2200 can be low profile and uses PCI-E, whereas HVR3000 i think is standard PCI and is full profile card.  I'm not sure if HVR3000 is dual tuner or not.  HVR3000 comes with IR receiver/remote.  My version of HVR2200 didn't have remote.  Lots of threads on geekzone from hvr3000 users.

I have an AMD4200+ CPU and it works fine, about 5-15% CPU useage when doing hardware acceleration of 1080P videos.  If I was to go back I might get something a little bit faster for 1080P h264 videos that are not compliant with hardware acceleration (H.A).  I get about 60-80% CPU useage if the 1080P video doesn't support H.A. using the PDVD8 codec, this introduces a tiny bit of stutter.

If it is just an HTPC only computer then i don't think you need very flash ram.  I have DDR2-800 speed and it works fine.

Most cards should support clone view, via the TV out.  Not sure if this will slow things done having to output two signals or not.  Not sure if this effects hardware acceleration or not.




HTPC: Intel i3-2100 / 12GB RAM / AMD HD7750 / 480 GB SSD / 58TB Storage / MediaPortal / MadVR / Win10
AVR: Pioneer Elite SC-LX87 220W 9.2 Ch AVR
Speakers: Wharfedale Jade 7 Fronts / Jade 2c Center / Jade 5 Rears
Subs: iNuke 3000dsp 3000W proamp with 4x 15" JBL Sealed Subs
Display: Samsung 60" UA60H6400 LCD TV
Accessories: Gefen HDMI Detective with splitter


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 205001 2-Apr-2009 21:25
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Hi rockingstarfish!

I went through this 6 months ago so I know what you mean it can be very confusing! lots of choices


I use the HVR-3000, Its a hybrid tuner which means it can tune either a satellite, Digital UHF channel or a analoge channel at a time (single tuner).


I have a IGP chipset (nvidia 8300) and found that it didn't quite keep up with HD decoding (I was just using samples downloaded as I can't get DVB-T) so maby if you want to get a IGP board be prepared that you may have to get a better card if it can't handle it ;)


Good Luck!


57 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 205057 3-Apr-2009 07:45
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With the 8300, according to this site it does everything except full MPEG2 decode acceleration.
http://www.missingremote.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2564&Itemid=230&limit=1&limitstart=1

But according to nVidia it does everything.
http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_43029.html

/shrug

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  Reply # 205132 3-Apr-2009 13:42
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MPEG2 H.A. isn't really important since it hardly uses any cpu anyway.  a 4600 cpu has plenty of room to decode mpeg2 using software.




HTPC: Intel i3-2100 / 12GB RAM / AMD HD7750 / 480 GB SSD / 58TB Storage / MediaPortal / MadVR / Win10
AVR: Pioneer Elite SC-LX87 220W 9.2 Ch AVR
Speakers: Wharfedale Jade 7 Fronts / Jade 2c Center / Jade 5 Rears
Subs: iNuke 3000dsp 3000W proamp with 4x 15" JBL Sealed Subs
Display: Samsung 60" UA60H6400 LCD TV
Accessories: Gefen HDMI Detective with splitter




7 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 208067 20-Apr-2009 08:34
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Thanks heaps for the help!

I ended up getting:

MOBO: Asustek M3N78-EM with Nvidia 8300 IGP
VIDEO: Currently using IGP
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ (hit a sweet spot for a retail box incl. cooler... about the same noise level as TiVo) :)
TUNER: Hauppauge HVR2200 (the HVR3000 can only do one thing at a time)
RAM: 2GB DDR2 800 kamakuza brand
HDD: 1TB WD Caviar (green)

The PureVideo doc states the IGP supports everything including H.264 acceleration and "MPEG-2 Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing" - I don't know if that helps deinterlace the MediaWorks / TV3 signal. Apparently the card is "Third Generation PureVideo HD" and uses the same core as the 8400GS if that means anything.

Aaaaaaaaaanyway I was prolly being a bit ambitious expecting to have a working HTPC running W7b and still comply with WAF, the interface is nice but the build I had threw a crapload of "assertion errors" (the last windows error I ever saw was in kernel32.dll) so for stability reasons I threw XP on it.

The HVR2200 even came with Cyberlink PowerCinema including H.264 codec, so I thought I'd be away laughing with MediaPortal... only it stops responding on My TV and I can't see a picture in the box. I was able to scan for channels in the server config.

Things seemed to be OK with PowerCinema, all channels OK apart from TV3 being a bit choppy (I suspect this is a HA issue? CPU is <15% when in a window but unkown in fullscreen, guess I could have the VFD display system load).

I stopped the Cyberlink services that may have been interfering (3 services from memory, a task scheduler, background widget and some realvideo hoodamadooda) and restarted TVservice but still no luck. Is there any way I can uninstall PowerCinema but keep the codec? Or extract the codec somehow from the installation CD? And where do I go for all my other video codecs (divx et al)?

I'll have a troll through the MP logs and post a new thread if I need help with that...

Thanks again, geekzone is fricking awesome :)

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  Reply # 208222 20-Apr-2009 20:35
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I recommend you get the MPC-HC stand alone video codec.  It pretty much does everything.  That way you don't need to instal ffdshow which IMO you should avoid if possible.

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=170561

Goto stand alone filters (either 32 bit or 64 bit, i recommend running XP with 32bit)

Then download MPC_VideoDec.ax

Copy to c:\windows\system32

Type "regsvr32 mpc_videodec.ax" to register

Type "regsvr32 /u mpc_videodec.ax" to unregister

Personally I recommend you get

Cyberlink PDVD8 2217aU
MPC_VideoDec.ax
MKV Splitter -> http://haali.cs.msu.ru/mkv/
and codecs that come with Mediaportal install

Shouldn't need any codec packs or any other codecs than above unless you want realaudio/quicktime/flac which you should install the stand alone filters for not codec packs.




HTPC: Intel i3-2100 / 12GB RAM / AMD HD7750 / 480 GB SSD / 58TB Storage / MediaPortal / MadVR / Win10
AVR: Pioneer Elite SC-LX87 220W 9.2 Ch AVR
Speakers: Wharfedale Jade 7 Fronts / Jade 2c Center / Jade 5 Rears
Subs: iNuke 3000dsp 3000W proamp with 4x 15" JBL Sealed Subs
Display: Samsung 60" UA60H6400 LCD TV
Accessories: Gefen HDMI Detective with splitter


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