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Topic # 25305 18-Aug-2008 11:10
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Hi All,

I have decided to go down the HTPC path for a number of reasons and have been following a few of the threads in here to gain from others experience.

So many ways of skinning the cat that I think I am confusing myself.

I am wanting to get Sky Digital and Freeview in HD when possible, so not sure which tuner cards I will go with.  The HVR 2200 seems to be the better one from what I have read.

I have the right Sky card (NZ47XXX) to use the Jaycar card reader so plan to go down this path as well.

The question I have is around AMP and TV integration.  I have an oldish Sony STRDE545 amp which does the surrond sound etc for the lounge.  I don't really want to upgrade it just yet if I don't need to.
The TV is a 46inch Bravia X Series acting as a monitor - ie I don't use sound out of it.

The amp doesn't do HDMI, but the tv does.  Can I use HDMI on the PC to the TV for video and the onboard 5.1 channels to the amp for audio?  MOBO has yet to be decided on, as is the graphic card (and potentially sound card).

Or is there a better way?

I haven't been able to find a good FAQ on setting up an HTPC yet, but happy to be pointed in that direction if they exist.

Thanks.

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  Reply # 157873 19-Aug-2008 01:52
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graemer:
The question I have is around AMP and TV integration.  I have an oldish Sony STRDE545 amp which does the surrond sound etc for the lounge.  I don't really want to upgrade it just yet if I don't need to.
The TV is a 46inch Bravia X Series acting as a monitor - ie I don't use sound out of it.

The amp doesn't do HDMI, but the tv does.  Can I use HDMI on the PC to the TV for video and the onboard 5.1 channels to the amp for audio?  MOBO has yet to be decided on, as is the graphic card (and potentially sound card).

Or is there a better way?


From what I can gather that amp has an optical spdif input - you should use that instead mapping the 5.1 channels to the amp.  That way you can send dolby digital and DTS sound sources directly to the Amp for processing (instead of processing them on the PC and then passing 5.1, or even PCM)

A lot of MOBOs these days have either built-in optical SPDIF on the rear, or a header on the board for a add in.  Its probably easiest to just get a board with it built in.

There is a current thread in this forum on the intel dg45id board http://www.intel.com/products/desktop/motherboards/dg45id/dg45id-overview.htm - i have one that i havent yet had a chance to play with yet but the specs are pretty good, especially if you want integrated video and HD playback.  The board also has 8 channel (7.1) sound so you wont need a seperate sound card - you shouldnt really need a seperate sound card with any of the motherboards these days.

My current setup has a athlon 3500+ based board with onboard audio feeding an Onkyo amp via SPDIF and onboard video feeding a 42" plasma screen via DVI-D.  The TV volume is permanently set to zero.  My onkyo remote is programmable so i can control the amp and media center from one remote which is nice.




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  Reply # 157992 19-Aug-2008 13:51
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Regs:

From what I can gather that amp has an optical spdif input - you should use that instead mapping the 5.1 channels to the amp.  That way you can send dolby digital and DTS sound sources directly to the Amp for processing (instead of processing them on the PC and then passing 5.1, or even PCM)

A lot of MOBOs these days have either built-in optical SPDIF on the rear, or a header on the board for a add in.  Its probably easiest to just get a board with it built in.

There is a current thread in this forum on the intel dg45id board http://www.intel.com/products/desktop/motherboards/dg45id/dg45id-overview.htm - i have one that i havent yet had a chance to play with yet but the specs are pretty good, especially if you want integrated video and HD playback.  The board also has 8 channel (7.1) sound so you wont need a seperate sound card - you shouldnt really need a seperate sound card with any of the motherboards these days.

My current setup has a athlon 3500+ based board with onboard audio feeding an Onkyo amp via SPDIF and onboard video feeding a 42" plasma screen via DVI-D.  The TV volume is permanently set to zero.  My onkyo remote is programmable so i can control the amp and media center from one remote which is nice.


Thanks Regs,
That is what I thought (hoped) would be the case, but wound up confusing myself so wanted to get it clear.

Have done a bit of research on the dg45id and don't think it is for me.  Seems some people are having issues around it and I don't want to be part of that until I understand the ins and outs of what drives HTPCs.  At this stage I am thinking Intel DP35DP as it seems to be realtively stable and a popular option from others.
It has S/PDIF digital audio so that is a bonus and I am upgrading the graphics card in my desktop so will flick the old one into the new HTPC.


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  Reply # 158194 19-Aug-2008 23:53
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graemer: Have done a bit of research on the dg45id and don't think it is for me.  Seems some people are having issues around it and I don't want to be part of that until I understand the ins and outs of what drives HTPCs


out of interest, what sort of issues did you find that people were having?

graemer: I am upgrading the graphics card in my desktop so will flick the old one into the new HTPC.


i hope your "old" graphics card is going to be able to perform hardware acceleration for h.264 for your FreeviewHD otherwsie you might be buying two new graphics cards (although you could get away with a sub-$100 nvidia 8400 or 8500 card for this).





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  Reply # 158234 20-Aug-2008 09:15
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graemer: Have done a bit of research on the dg45id and don't think it is for me.  Seems some people are having issues around it and I don't want to be part of that until I understand the ins and outs of what drives HTPCs


Regs:
out of interest, what sort of issues did you find that people were having?


Have a look here on the AVS forum;  http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1050334&page=9
Heaps of information to wade through, but the main thing is that it doesn't support repeaters.  A poster works for Intel and has recently managed to get movement within Intel to look at addressing a couple of the big issues.

graemer: I am upgrading the graphics card in my desktop so will flick the old one into the new HTPC.


Regs:
i hope your "old" graphics card is going to be able to perform hardware acceleration for h.264 for your FreeviewHD otherwsie you might be buying two new graphics cards (although you could get away with a sub-$100 nvidia 8400 or 8500 card for this).



the old card is an Albatron 8600GTS (256MB) from last year.  I want to upgrade to 512mb in the games machine.  It supports Hardware Decode Acceleration, H.264, VC-1, WMV, MPEG-2 HD and SD movies, so should be OK I think.

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  Reply # 158258 20-Aug-2008 10:09
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your "old" graphics card should be fine by the sound of it.

as for the repeater bug - this is only a problem if you are passing hdmi hdcp through another device right?  like an amp with hdmi switching?  luckily thats not a problem for me as the HTPC is the only device I use for video output.  All the video circuitry in my Onkyo amp is wasted - i originally thought i would switch between physical dvd player and MCE pc, but after the physical dvd player sat there doing nothing for months on end i flogged it on trademe.

reading further along the thread there is talk about the audio feed via SPDIF being 'lossy'.  i guess i havent had enough experience with blu-ray/hd-dvd yet to have realized that SPDIF is outdated.  I guess this is a good reason to (now) have an amp with HDMI connectvity

gosh..  to think that when i built my first HTPC all those years ago (2) we were having major problems with some of the other advanced technologies.... like MPEG2 Tongue out 




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