I'm with you on the HTPC. I've done the same thing. I use a video card that passes the audio through the HDMI and I run that to the receiver for decoding and amplification. I may go to a seperate amp when I can and only use the receiver for processing. I'm looking forward to checking out the Asus HDAV1.3 audio card once it's out. The software I use on the PC upscales the video as nicely as any of the hardware processors I've aeen and the added processin g power of the CPU allows a Blu-Ray or standard DVD to begin play within 3-5 secound of closing the tray. Much nicer that waiting as long as 3 minutes from dedicated players.
33 responses Add your response
Hi Patrickp that's great! What type of video card do you use? I just upgraded / added a new HTPC with a QUAD core processor installed using a Geforce 256 bit 1 GB ram 8800GT Nvidia for video. Referencing my CPU usage, the PC cruises between 4% to 9% when playing Blu rays.
Maybe next year the true HDMI audio/ video cards will be reasonable enough for me to buy and go direct for both video and audio without the need of my SPDIF audio.
I'm quite happy with the results for now. Being able to up convert and change standard DVD viewing with a few adjustments is indispensable. You should try the GOM player as well. It has so many adjustments, it is almost confusing.lol
You can even slow or speed up the audio portion of a movie if it seems to be out of sync...very cool indeed!
I plan to network my entire home with the HTPCs and flat panels. This way I can play movies, music or internet broadcast at will in any room I have a TV mounted.
Netflix instant downloads viewing is pretty good on the setup as well. I never run out of any thing to watch..that is for sure!
I'm running a ati type hd4850 right now. Previously I was using a hd3650 with a passive cooler and I discovered it had issues passing audio trough the HDMI port so I had to swap it out. I'm into that one for about $150, a little more than I needed to spend on a video card but it also plays games quite well.
I do need to check out the GOM player, it sounds like it may be the way to go. I'm running PowerDVD right now. At the time it was one of the few programs that supported all the HD audio formats and did BD Live as well.
I have started down the whole house thing myself but as it turns out I'll likely just end up with it in the Master BR and the living room. I figure if I need anything else I'll just stream it to a laptop and move that whereever I am at the time. I only have one flat panel in the master right now and I'm leaning towards a projector for the living room. I also added a HDHomerun box to the network so I have HD broadcast TV anywhere I have access to my wireless network.
Yep, Netflix was one of the reasons I went with HTPC's also. I currenlty have all my music ripped in lossless along with the TV tuner, Blu Ray/DVD and netflix it pretty well takes care of everything. As a extra, email, surfing, and games.
We are in a minority right now but when everyone sees what can be done with HTPC's there will more of them out there. Blu-Ray on PC's was lagging a bit behind but it's there now. High def audio and high quality DACs & decoders are still more difficult to come by but they are on the way and a person can always stream to an audio receiver or processor for now.
The Asus Xonar HDAV will be 1.3a compliant, do all the HD decoding and have top of the line Burr-Browns. An optional card will allow the user to play with different op-amps by simply plug in sockets. That woukd be fun.
Holy smokes Patrickp!! You are definitley on game. Yup I'm in for around $160 on my video card as well.
I agree ..we are in the minority for sure! It is only a matter of time though.
I've got a panel in the master BR and the great room. I have 3 more to mount on the walls(kitchen, master bath and guest BR. It's kinda crazy I know...since I'm the only one in the house. lol.. makes for one heck of a bachelor pad though. ;-)
I always get comments from visitors about how cool it is to watch TV,surf the net, play music, video games and movies all from the same interface at the same time. They really get a kick out of it when I have 3 different movies and the TV broadcast playing on the screen in the great room at the same time. lol
BD is my preferred playback software for Blu ray. I tried the other two on the market. Both were over complicated IMHO compared to Cyberlink BD.
The card you mentioned sounds like a winner!Hopefully the video card makers will get this stuff rolling and make it more affordable for everyone.
Where's a good place too pick up one of those HDHomerun boxes?
I'll be back online Monday and I'll leave some additional information if you like. I have somthing I need to care care of right now so this one is short but I didn't want to leave you hanging of the HDHomerun. There are several sources but I got mine at Newegg. HDHomerun is fairly new so you may want to look through the forum first.
Sorry, but I had something I needed to deal with right away.
Impressing the women and audio video toys the same time . It just cant get any better than that! You must pick the right chicks! Ill bet the CPU isnt at 4% with all that going at the same time ; or possibly you have a quad of quads and your just hold out on me. I have one HTPC with a dual core 6600 and one with a quad 9450.
I used to be an engineer/programmer at Dell. Previous to that I owned a computer retail/consulting business. I know Dell isnt known for quality and performance anymore but I just a grunt doing what I was told. LOL
LOL...Patrick..I had a singer over the other day...she loved the setup of course.
I get the 4% to 9% when only playing Blu Rays. The usage goes up considerably when I have a Blu Ray and a couple of standard movies playing at the same time. The PC starts to run out of steam once I play 1 Blu ray and more than 2 standard movies at the same time. Mainly it is running out of memory more than the processing power I think. I only have 3 GBs installed plus the 1 GB video card.
I was bored tonight, so a tested the system by playing 13 standard AVI movies simultaneously. CPU usage 17% to 27% and memory hovering around 52%. Those Quad cores are something serious! lol
I play a fair amount of movies directly from my hard drives that are converted from DVD to AVI format..
Nothing wrong with the Dells. I love my XPS 410 HTPC and the XPS 420 HTPC even more.
I have 3 of them in the house. Two HTPCs and a laptop. ;-)
Two of mine are a Dual core(laptop and secondary XPS 410 HTPC) and the other a Quad 6600(main HTPC XPS 420). I know it is the lowest on the Dell's Quad core totem poll, but still a beast for what I do with it.
Thanks for the link my friend!
A singer? Nice catch Gmood1.
Thats still excellent performance on th PC.
I want to rip the movies I have to the HD also but I just haven't quite gotten there yet. I'll need to add HD space if I want to place them all on the computer. About how much space per movies is it taking? What software did you use to rip the movies?
I also have a laptop top but I usually don't sa anything about it. It's a clunker by todays standards. I guess I'll to to update it one day.
Very happy to help. Let me know if you decide to go that route and how it works out.
You can compress the movie down to 700MB if you like. The quality isn't quite as good as DVD.But it is as good as Netflix instant downloads. Take it up to 1.2 gb or so and add dlby digital or DTS to the mix. Here's one converter mydvdtools. I use ConverterXtoDVD to convert them back to DVD.
From time to time I'll burn them back to hard disk and put 5 movies on one DVD 4.3 Gb disk.
You can get a heap of movies on HD if you convert and compress them a little. It is very easy to get 400 movies on a 500Gb HD doing it this way. I have so many movies on HD I have a hard time finding a particular one I want to watch sometimes! lol
I will certainly let you know how it goes.
Yeah.. she's just a backup singer at the moment for a friend of mine that is the lead singer of a band, that just completed some tracks on Shania Twain's new album that is in the works. Infact they were just in the studios a week or so ago.
With the newer cards being released, You'll get all of the newest codecs by just plugging up an HDMI cable and using it with a processor or receiver that accepts the new formats.
Here's the info on the card Patrickp mentioned in a prior post Asus Xonar HDAV 1.3 sound cards released .
That's completely true. Theres also another possibility.
You could potentially plug the cards analog outputs directly into an amp or powered speakers (like the Paradigm Studio's) as long as you didn't need to switch too many additional sources. Alternately you could take the output of a video card, like some of the newer ATI's that are 1.3 compliant, and plug that into a receiver that can decode the new formats.
Some very cool things are happening right now.
PatrickP I didn't get to meet her unfortunately. I would have like too though. ;-)
It was my cousin's girlfriend(the lead singer of a local band) S.T. actually requested to be her back up singer for some of her new tracks. She basically came into town secretly and slipped out a few days later.
They couldn't get the tracks completed here because of recording equipment issues. So everyone went to a studio in Augusta, Georgia to finish up.
I agree she's a beautiful lady. Last I heard she was single again! ;-)
I want to think you gentlemen for the inputs here. I had just purchased a Dell XPS 410 and was looking to turn it into a HTPC when I found this thread. Any way I've added the LG with Blu-Ray and Hd-DVD ROM along with the Sapphire HD4850 1G and MSI Theater Pro 650 and everything is working perfectly. I love the picture I'm getting with this, I knew the Dell 2407 had a nice picture but WOW. Has anyone tried the room correction feature available with Windows Vista? I'm currently using the on board sound card connected to two McCormack MLD for volume control and three Micro Power Drives driving NHT Super Zero's and SW2 Sub in a small computer room. Anybody know when the Asus Xonar HDMA 1.3 Deluxe will be releasing here in the USA? I figure with its upgradable op-amp I should have a great almost all in one system.
Nicely thought out system you have there. I was reading a review of this card recently ASUS Xonar HDAV 1.3 Deluxe review. That is one action packed card!!
I can't wait for it to be released here in the states! This could be my Christmas present to myself! lol
Looks like they used a lot of high quality parts in the card. I would like to see how this thing sounds skipping a preamp or processor and going straight to amplifiers.
My guess is it won't sound too shabby. Price wise it doesn't seem all that expensive when you subtract a preamp/prepro and a Dac from the equation.
I'm thinking seriously about building a home theater room around something like this. Add a in ceiling LCD projector and a 100 inch screen with 7.1 speakers and amplifiers to drive them..I would be in hog heaven! ;-)
Gmood1 Thank you for the comments,
One of the reasons I went with the McCormack Mico Line Drive is because it's a passive preamp and I wasn't sure how Microsoft implemented their volume control, didn't know if they reduced bits to lower the volume if you know what I mean. Anyway this started out as a two channel system which I use a Micro Integrated Drive to power the NHT Super Zero's for the computer sound and my Grado RS-1 headphones. Then I came across a Micro Line Drive and a Power Drive and everything just started to evolve from there. I was thinking of using one of the small Denon receiver's with the Audyssey room correction when I found this thread and I'm starting to change my mind. I like the thought of being able to upgrade the op-amps to improve the sound. Plus if I wanted to use the Denon that decodes the new surround formats I would need the Asus card anyway for the HDMA 1.3 transfer. Well I have a couple months to work this idea up.
What software are you using to play your Blu-Ray's with I'm on the fence about which to use Power DVD Ultra or wait for the one that comes with the Asus I think is ArcSoft?
And yes this might well wind up in my listening/living room if it all pans out the way I'm visioning in my head but I'll have to get it right here in my computer/toy room first. I'm currently on the fence also as to wheather to go with a projection system or a large flat screen, still researching. Any inputs.
Robert at the moment I use PowerDVD BD software. It works pretty well.I plan to try the Arcsoft again when I buy this new card and see how it pans out.I tried the trial version. It has more features than my PowerDVD software, that I do know.
For everyday use I would use a large LCD flat panel. The projector in my case...would mainly be for movies and sports viewing.The bulb life just isn't long enough for me to use on a daily basis.
Gentlemen sorry for the late reply been pretty busy. If everything works with the Asus card my plans are to move up to a Dell 420 with the cable cards installed and convert it to my HTPC and run my living with it.
Sounds like we are on the same wave length with the projection system. My thoughts are to hide the flat screen in the wall and have a movable picture to cover it up, then have the large screen descend from the ceiling or something along that line.
I use a Dell 2407 and it works good for my small computer room. I would recommend at least a 30" monitor if your doing a small home theater with blu-ray. As much as I love all the real estate on my 24" monitor when using it as a computer monitor it gets small when watching blu-ray disks. Plus if I'm not mistaken the 30" Dell comes with two DVI connection points (not you will need to check).
Robert we're thinking a like my friend. I thought of mounting a in ceiling motorized screen. Have it to descend when I want to watch a movie. When it descends, it will come down in front of my flat panel. I'm still trying to figure out the most cost effective way to do it.
I've seen several homes setup in similar ways. I've also seen one fellow that had his flat panel hidden behind a picture that raises through a motorized system to reveal the TV..pretty cool in deed!
My Dell 20" wide screen monitor has one DVI and one HDMI connection.
Thanks Robert for the link! I've been salivating over this card! I'm so looking forward to its U.S. debut. Looks like there's a another HT card Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater 7.1 HDMI sound card on the block.
Your welcome, and yes I almost bought that one from Newegg. The only thing that stopped me was finding this thread and reading about the Asus card. Lots of good reviews on Newegg about the Auzen, the only bad thing is it dosen't decode Dolby True Hd and DTS Master Audio, that's one of the reasons I'm waiting for the Asus. I see Asus is finally putting the Deluxe up on their web site. Hope its not too much longer before this comes out.
I see from a earlier post your from down in Georgia? I'm from down around those parts myself. Morrow, Ga to be exact, just outside of Atlanta. Living in New Jersey right now though.
Hey thanks Robert for the info. That manual gives me a good head start on what I need to do. I look forward to your assessment of the card!
Holy smokes!!! Robert I've been reading over some of this manual. This card is unbelievable!!
Using Vista I can drag the speakers and/ or the listeners in different relative positions "virtually" using my mouse, in real time using the menu display. Drop them any where and the Xonar program will adjust the virtual 7.1 accordingly.
Man ..this is going to be fun!!! ;-)