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  1. #1

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    Default HTPC and upscaling

    I've had a second PC attached to my TV/HT for years and i was recently pondering purchasing a decent prog scan DVD for the Panasonic TH42PX50 i recently purchased. I've been trying to figure out if i need a prog scan dvd player if i play the dvds on PC. If the resolution is set 1280x1024 does the PC do the upscaling? or would it look better if i got a good prog scan DVD player?

    Was just curious what the more electronic savvy thought about this issue...thanks in advance =)

    Jason

    edit: misspelled HTPC in the topic =P

  2. #2
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    You would need to change the resolution on the PC to 1280x720 (assuming your TV's native resolution is 720p).

    As it stands, keeping it in 1280x1024, you would be sending the video signal with the black bars on top and bottom.

    An HTPC has the ability to look better than a prog scan DVD player... if you have the right hardware and tune it correctly.

  3. #3

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    I have no idea which of your suggestions would look best. But I would lean towards the progressive scan (480p) dvd player. With the right video card you could also hook up a pc at 480p, but I would not expect a visable benefit of that, over the dvd player (other than the convenience of an HTPC).

    For some background on some other choices, I have added the following.

    The Panasonic TH-42PX50U has a native resolution 1024 x 768, 1 HDMI input, 2 Component (Y/PB/PR) inputs, no vga, and Svideo/Composite don't do HD. HDTV signal Compatibility 480p/720p/1080i.

    The native resolution of 1024x768 is non-standard, so no matter what signal you feed it, it will have to be rescaled by the TV.

    For upscaled DVD, the easiest route would be an upscaling DVD player with an HDMI output. Note that newer dvd players more than likely won't output an upscaled image (greater than 480p) to component video.

    For upscaling PC hookups, it is best to have DVI or VGA inputs on the TV, a dvi to hdmi conversion cable might work for you, no guarantees. The video card will also have to be able to put out a standard HDTV resolution signal of either 720p (1280x720) or 1080i(1920x1080). Note that newer pc video cards won't output copy protected DVD video to component video greater than 480p (but you can get cheater software to get around this, like I did).

    PS. The above are the cliff notes. I got a Gateway 840GM three weeks ago, and upgraded the video with an ATI X800xl, to hook up to my Toshiba RPHDTV.
    Last edited by TheReaper; 10-02-2005 at 05:45 PM.

  4. #4

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    thanks for the responses guys, i'll monkey around with it a bit more and come back with any thoughts i might have =)

    Jason

  5. #5

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    i use my up-scaling oppo dvd player for $199 shipped from amazon. but you'd need to purchase a dvi to hdmi adapter.

    POLK SDA-SRS 1.2TL -- ADCOM GFA-5802
    PANASONIC PT-AE4000U -- DIY WILSONART DW 135" 2.35:1 SCREEN
    ONKYO TX-SR805
    CENTER: CSI5
    MAINS: RTI8'S
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    7.1 SURROUNDS: RTI6'S
    SUB: SVS PB12-PLUS/2 (12.3 series)

    XBOX 360
    WiiPS3/blu-rayTOSHIBA HD-A35 hd dvd

    http://polkarmy.com/forums/index.php

    Quote Originally Posted by bobman1235
    I have no facts to back that up, but I never let facts get in the way of my arguments.

  6. #6

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    i actually have an oppo player, but mine seems to have issues. it doesnt reliably play anything heh. so i contemptlating getting a nicer dvd player or just using the PC if it produces similar results...which it seems too. Although i dont notice any difference between the 1280x1024 and 1024x720 setting, as far as picture goes.../shrug

    Jason

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    mine has a few bugs. time for a new firmware upgrade. i'll keep my eyes open. otherwise, it is simplicity. get good picture quality.

    POLK SDA-SRS 1.2TL -- ADCOM GFA-5802
    PANASONIC PT-AE4000U -- DIY WILSONART DW 135" 2.35:1 SCREEN
    ONKYO TX-SR805
    CENTER: CSI5
    MAINS: RTI8'S
    SURROUNDS: RTI8'S
    7.1 SURROUNDS: RTI6'S
    SUB: SVS PB12-PLUS/2 (12.3 series)

    XBOX 360
    WiiPS3/blu-rayTOSHIBA HD-A35 hd dvd

    http://polkarmy.com/forums/index.php

    Quote Originally Posted by bobman1235
    I have no facts to back that up, but I never let facts get in the way of my arguments.

  8. #8

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    Ok, where to even start... Having just built a new HTPC, I will let you know a little of the software setup that you need to do what you are asking. Yes, you need a half decent video card, one that is capabile of outputing to your TV at your TV's native resolution. Don't output anything BUT the native resolution. So go look in the specs of your display and find out what that is. Does your TV support a DVI or HDMI connection (does your computer's video card?)? Or do they use VGA?

    All these make a difference. But that is actually the easy part. The hard part is setting up the software properly. There is one absolutely required piece of software called "ffdshow", which is free (as in GPL like linux). The other recommended piece of software is a compatible DVD player software. Since there are litterally thousands of ways to setup this software and what it can do in terms of video and image processing is just simply amazing I will not get into the details here, since it would take me hours and hours of typing. What I will do is send you to an article on basic setup and usage of this software and what it can do for you.

    The article will speak for itself with screenshots and help:
    http://htpcnews.com/main.php?id=ffdshowdvd_1

    And just to let you know, a properly configured HTPC with the correct hardware and software will utterly destroy even the best upscaling DVD players. The DVD players simply do not have the capabilities that are available in the HTPC. I didn't think that I would say it but the HTPC gives a visual quality that my Denon 3910 can not hope to match. Audio wise, it is on par, but gets beat by the Denon, mainly because the DAC's in my pre-pro are not as good as in the Denon (when I use the Denon, I can use its DAC's). But as I said, visually, the article above will speak for itself. You don't have the ability to do that on the upscaling DVD players...
    Last edited by Fallen Kell; 10-05-2005 at 12:31 AM.

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    Thanks Fallen, i think that link is what i was looking for. I'm tired tonight so i'm not gonna mess with anything tonight. But i'll give it a try. i didnt realize it'd be more complicated than just connecting it up properly. anyways, i'll give her a look thanks again.

    Jason

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallen Kell
    All these make a difference. But that is actually the easy part. The hard part is setting up the software properly. There is one absolutely required piece of software called "ffdshow", which is free (as in GPL like linux).
    Why would you need it? It seems to be just a codec package so one should not need it when playing DVD's. If your video card software does not support odd resolutions then you need to get PowerStrip.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sami
    Why would you need it? It seems to be just a codec package so one should not need it when playing DVD's. If your video card software does not support odd resolutions then you need to get PowerStrip.
    Powerstrip only changes the output resolution of your graphics card. Yeah, if you go to full screen mode the image will be "scaled" to whatever that resolution is, but it does it in the fastest, most efficient and least quality way when doing it (in other words, the coordinate system is simply changed using a matrix operation). There is no true image analysis as to what "should" go into the new pixels that are "created" when scaling an image to a higher resolution. It simply blows it up. "ffdshow" runs different algorithms that allow you to do actual image analysis and "interpolate" the data that is missing in the new pixel locations. This is why if you go look at the screen shots on the article that you see new details, like the fur on Sully in "Monster's INC", or the wrinkels on Yoda's face in the "Star Wars" scene. Those are details that are NOT in the origional material. A simple scaling of the image will not cause those details to suddenly be there, it will simply give you a blown-up fuzzy image of the origional data (much like if you go into MS Paint and zoom in on the image, because that is the exact same thing your video card is doing to your movie if you do not use something like ffdshow).

    Yes, there is other software out there that does similar things, like Nvidia's Pure Video (but this requires you to have an Nvidia graphics card that is at least a 6600, 6800, or 7800, and costs an added $15). Or you can use ATI's new AVIVO software, but that also means that you bought an AVIVO compatible graphics card from ATI (which only were announced 3 weeks ago, let alone are in retail stores).

    Will powerstrip rescale the image to your HD TV resolution, sure, but that doesn't mean in the least that you are getting what you could get out of an HTPC. It is like buying a 5.1 sound system, unbox it, eyeball placed the speakers in the room and then just plug them in, and never bothered to setup the crossover points or individual speaker sound volumn levels or distance and delay timings. Yeah you have it up and it gives you surround sound, but it sure doesn't sound like it should or could... Same goes with a HTPC, simply hooking it up is only the easy part, it is calibrating it that makes the difference.

  12. #12

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    So how do you use ffdshow with f.e. WinDVD? Is there a plugin or something? I'm not asking for myself as I'm using HTPC with CRT FP so there is no need to scale but I'm sure the others would like to know. There doesn't seem to be much documentation for it (a common minus for open source / free applications).

  13. #13

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    Yeah, documentation is a little light if you don't know where to go or who to ask. Ffdshow will work automatically with some players. The easiest way to know if it is being used is to load up ffdshow and go into the ffdshow configuration and enable the "OSD" option at the top which will add an overlay on-screen-display in the upper-left corner of any video content that the ffdshow filters are being applied to. Basically any software that uses Window's DirectShow components to play the video will be affected by the ffdshow settings. Other software may have plugins available.

    Just about everyone I know who are using ffdshow use zoom player due to the easy of use and the huge flexibility that zoom player gives the user for selecting specific codecs for decoding content. The best place I can say to look for information and post questions is in this thread over at avsforum:

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=447500

    A lot of the people who develop ffdshow read that thread, and many of the most knowledgible people on the subject have answered many questions on possible setup and configuration. From what I have read, people have used the WinDVD codecs from within ffdshow, so I believe that it is possible to use the rest of ffdshow to do live video post-production work from within WinDVD. Just simply run the ffdshow configuration and start up WinDVD. There are some new options in WinDVD that ffdshow can use. Look in this post:

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...D+DMO+abstract

    For the highlighted stuff on WinDvd and DMO. Some people had issues and needed to make a registry edit, which is detailed in the posts.

    Have fun and enjoy the added benefits. I will say that even you will see some benefits Sami on your CRT FP if your FP has higher resolution then 480p.

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