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161 posts

Master Geek


Topic # 57933 1-Mar-2010 14:20
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I know, for HTPC enthusiasts this a dumb question but stay with me for a moment.

I'm at a transition stage where I'm trying to decide how to upgrade my basic home theatre from a DVD player and receiver to one where I can browse the internet and record multi-channels TV and play recorded media.

I see two ways of going. An all in one htpc with/or separate/ Bluray player or the discrete path with separate pvr, BR player, Home-server like a WD World External hard-drive, along with a Western Digital WDTV Live HD Media Player or the likes.

So finally, to my question, does the Bluray player in a htpc have to have HDCP to play, or to put it another way if it doesn't would the other components such as the receiver and hdtv recognise that and refuse to play the disc?

Please feel welcome to comment with your thoughts about my question and the whole idea of discrete or htpc especially in light of the new micro computers on the market such as the Asus Eee Box EB1501 which is rumoured to be bringing out a Bluray version.

 

Robin

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  Reply # 303298 1-Mar-2010 14:46
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Technically no you don't need to use a HDMI cable to get the proper output from a PC Blu-ray player. Software such as AnyDVD-HD strips out the HDCP encryption and allows you to use, for example, a DVI-HDMI adapter cable to connect from your PC to your HDTV.

In this type of arrangement you would need to connect your PC to your surround sound system manually as well, using digital or analogue cables.

Many new computers and motherboards have HDMI on board though, so it's quite possible to build a rig that has native HDCP support without having to consider the "workarounds".

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  Reply # 303329 1-Mar-2010 16:06
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Depends how much time and enthusiasm you have. If you love tinkering and don't mind having to "fix" a media centre of reasonably regular basis then a Media centre can be a fantastic device which will blow anything you can buy out of the water.
However if you are a person that just expects your devices to just work then a media centre is not for you, go for separates if that is the case.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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  Reply # 303337 1-Mar-2010 16:24
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I don't know if that's a fair statement about fixing it fairly regularly. If you're new to things it can certainly take some time to get used to everything and you do need to play around with a lot of different settings and configurations to figure out the best way to get it to work for you. However once you get to that point things pretty much chug along smoothly without needing much intervention.

Just bear in mind it's a computer, it needs the same regular maintenance checks a normal computer does, but as long as you're on top of all that then it can be a great experience.

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 303462 1-Mar-2010 21:22
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So finally, to my question, does the Bluray player in a htpc have to have HDCP to play, or to put it another way if it doesn't would the other components such as the receiver and hdtv recognise that and refuse to play the disc?


My understanding is that if your graphics solution has an HDMI out, then you have hdcp.

If you don't have hdcp, then I believe the software player will not play a blu-ray at full-rez.

The all-in-one HTPC does give a lot of flexibility, at the cost of lots of things that can go wrong. If you want to DIY it, at the cost of a fair bit of time, the end result is very nice.

- bluray
- pc games
- music
- hdtv
- pvr
- photos
- internet video




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Master Geek


  Reply # 303505 1-Mar-2010 23:03
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Great, thanks for your comments! I'm actually quite excited about setting up a htpc especially now that so much of the hardwork is played natively thru onboard hardware and windows 7, but on the other hand I wouldn't want to spends weeks of frustration sorting out! :-(

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  Reply # 303519 1-Mar-2010 23:40
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Be aware that there is no native playback support for Blu-ray in Windows Media Center. You need to use a 3rd party application. Most of these now have support for launching the playback from the Windows Media Center menu but they still technically run in third-party applications.

I've tried a few and for me the best option was TotalMedia Theatre. You can also use Cyberlink PowerDVD. PowerDVD usually comes with drives out of the box but the non-paid version is crippled in terms of resolution playback and audio support. I'd recommend investing in TotalMedia Theatre but the choice is up to you, and testing them out if half the fun of building yourself :)

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  Reply # 303521 1-Mar-2010 23:43
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Dont forget a PS3 is a great bluray player, streaming media player and may eliminate the need for a PC altogether




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  Reply # 303570 2-Mar-2010 09:12
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gehenna: Be aware that there is no native playback support for Blu-ray in Windows Media Center. You need to use a 3rd party application. Most of these now have support for launching the playback from the Windows Media Center menu but they still technically run in third-party applications.

I've tried a few and for me the best option was TotalMedia Theatre. You can also use Cyberlink PowerDVD. PowerDVD usually comes with drives out of the box but the non-paid version is crippled in terms of resolution playback and audio support. I'd recommend investing in TotalMedia Theatre but the choice is up to you, and testing them out if half the fun of building yourself :)


Second that TMT is a great option although trialing it is a bit limited due to licensing restrictions placed on Arcsoft ie. cannot playback Dolby Digital HD.

There are various ways to get 20 or sometimes even 30% off the cost of TMT so don't go paying full price.








Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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  Reply # 303625 2-Mar-2010 12:26
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gehenna: I don't know if that's a fair statement about fixing it fairly regularly.

Wow, I'd love to have your HTPC then!!!


Just bear in mind it's a computer, it needs the same regular maintenance checks a normal computer does, but as long as you're on top of all that then it can be a great experience.

This contradicts your statement above somewhat.  I suspect "regular maintenance" is what Nety was referring to.

I've run a Windows based HTPC for a couple of years now and it certainly hasn't been a "set up once and leave" kind of affair.  It does need regular TLC as does any PC.  And they generally aren't off the shelf solutions with a majority being custom built so the variations are large which makes trouble shooting that much more complex.

In saying that I'm going the extra mile by decoding Sky (legally!!) within my HTPC and that itself presents a whole new raft of issues challenges!  Overall I agree it blows anything else out there out of the water, but you do need to be dedicated to it.

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  Reply # 303654 2-Mar-2010 13:24
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gehenna: Technically no you don't need to use a HDMI cable to get the proper output from a PC Blu-ray player. Software such as AnyDVD-HD strips out the HDCP encryption and allows you to use, for example, a DVI-HDMI adapter cable to connect from your PC to your HDTV.


By the way HDCP can work fine over DVI-HDMI. Both the 8500GT I had and the GT220 I now own have HDCP working over a DVI-HDMI cable going to two different Sony TV's.
However AnyDVD HD does allow you to play blurays from any region and get past the various locked actions ie skip the copyright warnings.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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  Reply # 303676 2-Mar-2010 14:28
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Oh that's interesting Nety, there was a component in my old rig that wasn't HDCP compliant, I always assumed it was because I was going DVI-HDMI, but it must have been the GPU itself now that I think about it. Still, AnyDVD HD was one of the best purchases I've made (along with TMT). No regrets :)

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  Reply # 303681 2-Mar-2010 14:37
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Yes I agree that AnyDVD is a great product.  I managed to purchase it before they went to yearly subscription, so I have lifetime updates for no further cost.

I must check out TMT one day.  I was using the Power DVD blu-ray plug in thingey, but that was less than ideal...

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  Reply # 303683 2-Mar-2010 14:45
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TMT has much nicer and cleaner WMC integration, and works very well with the WMC remote too.

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  Reply # 303691 2-Mar-2010 15:06
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Regular maintenance is subjective as well. Set it up, leave it alone.

I have not done any maintenance for a while now(3 plus months), everything is working well and I can't be bothered updating anything at the moment so will just leave it as is.

Put it to sleep at night, start when required and it works. No problems.

You don't have to install every software update, or new version of something straight away.




Home Server: AMD Ryzen 2700, 64GB, 56TB HDD, HP Smart Array P420, Define R5 Case, 10GbE, ESXi 6.7, NextPVR, Emby Server, Plex Server, 2 x HDHomerun.
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  Reply # 303697 2-Mar-2010 15:28
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Yeah my point there is that, like a car for example, it's best to keep an eye on things in regular intervals so that any potential problems that are lurking in the background can be addressed early in the piece. It may be as simple as having a quick look at the event logs once or twice a month, or running CCleaner every quarter. Nothing major.

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