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What are essentials for HD HTPC?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I can figure out the basics but the specifics are...

Hardware:
Why some video cards are better for htpc than others. What DRM really means in my living room.

Software:
What programs do you use for watching/recording HD on a HTPC.

Source:
How do you connect your sources? Use a tv tuner or what?

I have 4 computers in my house, I can use any of them as a HTPC but I dont know what exactly I could do or how to do it.

Thanks
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Crucial M4 128GB, 3TB HDD, 1TB HDD Samsung DVD-RW SATA Windows 10 64bit Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz 
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Dell S2716DG 1440P 144hz Gsync TN Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB 1080p Projector (110") Razer Black Widow Ultimate BF3 Edition (orange) 
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Asus Xonar DG Astro A40 V Moda Crossfade LP Logitech Z5300 
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Main Rig
(21 items)
 
   
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k @ 4.5ghz 24/7 MSI P67 GD55 Gigabyte GTX 1070 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance Blue 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Crucial M4 128GB, 3TB HDD, 1TB HDD Samsung DVD-RW SATA Windows 10 64bit Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz 
MonitorMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Dell S2716DG 1440P 144hz Gsync TN Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB 1080p Projector (110") Razer Black Widow Ultimate BF3 Edition (orange) 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair TX750 Corsair 400R Steelseries Rival Steelseries QCK+ 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Asus Xonar DG Astro A40 V Moda Crossfade LP Logitech Z5300 
Audio
Denon 1909 + 7.1 infinity surround 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
A6 3420 HD 6520G 8GB 500GB 5400RPM 
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15.6" 1366x768 Generic with numberpad 
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post #2 of 9
Each video card produces different image quality. Some are better than others. The industry standard benchmark for image quality is HQV: http://www.hqv.com/benchmark.cfm

Some video cards have hardware acceleration for different media formats. If you played a MPEG-2 movie on a system with a FX5200, 100% of the decoding would be done by the CPU. If you did that some on a HD3450, the CPU would be doing 1-2% of the work. The video card would be processing the video and doing a better job via hardware.

HDCP is the DRM of video. It keeps you from playing HD digital media at either high resolution or at all. You need a HDCP supported video card and display. Most newer video cards support HDCP and newer HDTV have HDCP support. However, not all PC monitors do.
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Intel X25-M 160GB + 3xRAID0 500GB 7200.12 Window 7 Pro 64 Acer H243H + Samsung 226BW XARMOR-U9BL  
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Once again...
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Intel X25-M 160GB + 3xRAID0 500GB 7200.12 Window 7 Pro 64 Acer H243H + Samsung 226BW XARMOR-U9BL  
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post
Each video card produces different image quality. Some are better than others. The industry standard benchmark for image quality is HQV: http://www.hqv.com/benchmark.cfm

Some video cards have hardware acceleration for different media formats. If you played a MPEG-2 movie on a system with a FX5200, 100% of the decoding would be done by the CPU. If you did that some on a HD3450, the CPU would be doing 1-2% of the work. The video card would be processing the video and doing a better job via hardware.

HDCP is the DRM of video. It keeps you from playing HD digital media at either high resolution or at all. You need a HDCP supported video card and display. Most newer video cards support HDCP and newer HDTV have HDCP support. However, not all PC monitors do.
Thank you, that helps a bit. Will have to start doing some more research on this subject. I plan on using it on my 42" Toshiba Regza LCD. Im sure if any of my video cards are hdcp supported it would have the be the 8800gt. I doubt any of the older ones would be but I could buy a new vid card.

I just have to figure out about a source. I dont have a ton of HD channels, I actually dont subscribe to digital, I have regular cable but because of the QAM tuner on my tv I get a few channels in HD. Been using my PS3 and expanding my blu ray collection for the majority of my HD.
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k @ 4.5ghz 24/7 MSI P67 GD55 Gigabyte GTX 1070 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance Blue 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Crucial M4 128GB, 3TB HDD, 1TB HDD Samsung DVD-RW SATA Windows 10 64bit Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz 
MonitorMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Dell S2716DG 1440P 144hz Gsync TN Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB 1080p Projector (110") Razer Black Widow Ultimate BF3 Edition (orange) 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair TX750 Corsair 400R Steelseries Rival Steelseries QCK+ 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Asus Xonar DG Astro A40 V Moda Crossfade LP Logitech Z5300 
Audio
Denon 1909 + 7.1 infinity surround 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
A6 3420 HD 6520G 8GB 500GB 5400RPM 
MonitorKeyboard
15.6" 1366x768 Generic with numberpad 
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Main Rig
(21 items)
 
   
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k @ 4.5ghz 24/7 MSI P67 GD55 Gigabyte GTX 1070 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance Blue 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Crucial M4 128GB, 3TB HDD, 1TB HDD Samsung DVD-RW SATA Windows 10 64bit Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz 
MonitorMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Dell S2716DG 1440P 144hz Gsync TN Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB 1080p Projector (110") Razer Black Widow Ultimate BF3 Edition (orange) 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair TX750 Corsair 400R Steelseries Rival Steelseries QCK+ 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Asus Xonar DG Astro A40 V Moda Crossfade LP Logitech Z5300 
Audio
Denon 1909 + 7.1 infinity surround 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
A6 3420 HD 6520G 8GB 500GB 5400RPM 
MonitorKeyboard
15.6" 1366x768 Generic with numberpad 
  hide details  
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post #4 of 9
Well for starters, whatever video card you have, wether it uses onboard HD video decoding(prefered), or offloads it to the CPU, it MUST be HDCP compliant. Secondly, you must use either a DVI/HDMI cable to go to the TV. Your TV must also be HDCP compliant. If any of these are not met, the signal will be degraded to 480p/i.

In regards to your first question, some video cards have onboard HD decoding chips, which makes them more desirable for a HTPC. When looking for a HTPC video card, your looking for Avivo for ATi, or Pure Video 2 for Nvidia. If the video card does not have this, then the decoding process will be offloaded to the CPU.

Your second question, i am not familiar with, so someone else will have to put some input on that.

If you are taking a video source of TV, the only HD video that you can recieve is OTA HD from your local stations(FOX, NBC, ABC, etc). Hopefully sometime this year, there will be some ways to get more HD from the cable/satellite companies.

HTH
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by will25u View Post
Well for starters, whatever video card you have, wether it uses onboard HD video decoding(prefered), or offloads it to the CPU, it MUST be HDCP compliant. Secondly, you must use either a DVI/HDMI cable to go to the TV. Your TV must also be HDCP compliant. If any of these are not met, the signal will be degraded to 480p/i.

In regards to your first question, some video cards have onboard HD decoding chips, which makes them more desirable for a HTPC. When looking for a HTPC video card, your looking for Avivo for ATi, or Pure Video 2 for Nvidia. If the video card does not have this, then the decoding process will be offloaded to the CPU.

Your second question, i am not familiar with, so someone else will have to put some input on that.

If you are taking a video source of TV, the only HD video that you can recieve is OTA HD from your local stations(FOX, NBC, ABC, etc). Hopefully sometime this year, there will be some ways to get more HD from the cable/satellite companies.

HTH
heh, I get abc,nbc,cbs,fox but I also get WB,espn,mtv,fx in hd as well

Ok so I understand a must for HDCP tv and video card, but what content are you going to be playing with this? Stuff thats on the computer I assume?

I will be hooking the computer up via DVI and the sound will be optical audio to my surround sound.
Main Rig
(21 items)
 
   
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k @ 4.5ghz 24/7 MSI P67 GD55 Gigabyte GTX 1070 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance Blue 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Crucial M4 128GB, 3TB HDD, 1TB HDD Samsung DVD-RW SATA Windows 10 64bit Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz 
MonitorMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Dell S2716DG 1440P 144hz Gsync TN Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB 1080p Projector (110") Razer Black Widow Ultimate BF3 Edition (orange) 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair TX750 Corsair 400R Steelseries Rival Steelseries QCK+ 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Asus Xonar DG Astro A40 V Moda Crossfade LP Logitech Z5300 
Audio
Denon 1909 + 7.1 infinity surround 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
A6 3420 HD 6520G 8GB 500GB 5400RPM 
MonitorKeyboard
15.6" 1366x768 Generic with numberpad 
  hide details  
Reply
Main Rig
(21 items)
 
   
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k @ 4.5ghz 24/7 MSI P67 GD55 Gigabyte GTX 1070 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance Blue 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Crucial M4 128GB, 3TB HDD, 1TB HDD Samsung DVD-RW SATA Windows 10 64bit Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz 
MonitorMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Dell S2716DG 1440P 144hz Gsync TN Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB 1080p Projector (110") Razer Black Widow Ultimate BF3 Edition (orange) 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair TX750 Corsair 400R Steelseries Rival Steelseries QCK+ 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Asus Xonar DG Astro A40 V Moda Crossfade LP Logitech Z5300 
Audio
Denon 1909 + 7.1 infinity surround 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
A6 3420 HD 6520G 8GB 500GB 5400RPM 
MonitorKeyboard
15.6" 1366x768 Generic with numberpad 
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 9
You need HDCP for BluRay.
Once again...
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i7 920 [4.28GHz, HT] Asus P6T + Broadcom NetXtreme II VisionTek HD5850 [900/1200] + Galaxy GT240 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaw X [1632 MHz] 
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Once again...
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i7 920 [4.28GHz, HT] Asus P6T + Broadcom NetXtreme II VisionTek HD5850 [900/1200] + Galaxy GT240 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaw X [1632 MHz] 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Intel X25-M 160GB + 3xRAID0 500GB 7200.12 Window 7 Pro 64 Acer H243H + Samsung 226BW XARMOR-U9BL  
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Antec Truepower New 750W Li Lian PC-V2100 [10x120mm fans] Logitech G9 X-Trac Pro 
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post #7 of 9
Either HD you download off the net, or HDDVD/Bluray.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Are there legal ways to download HD off the net?

Also I guess I wouldnt need it for blu ray, thats why I have my PS3
Main Rig
(21 items)
 
   
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k @ 4.5ghz 24/7 MSI P67 GD55 Gigabyte GTX 1070 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance Blue 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Crucial M4 128GB, 3TB HDD, 1TB HDD Samsung DVD-RW SATA Windows 10 64bit Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz 
MonitorMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Dell S2716DG 1440P 144hz Gsync TN Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB 1080p Projector (110") Razer Black Widow Ultimate BF3 Edition (orange) 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair TX750 Corsair 400R Steelseries Rival Steelseries QCK+ 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Asus Xonar DG Astro A40 V Moda Crossfade LP Logitech Z5300 
Audio
Denon 1909 + 7.1 infinity surround 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
A6 3420 HD 6520G 8GB 500GB 5400RPM 
MonitorKeyboard
15.6" 1366x768 Generic with numberpad 
  hide details  
Reply
Main Rig
(21 items)
 
   
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k @ 4.5ghz 24/7 MSI P67 GD55 Gigabyte GTX 1070 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance Blue 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Crucial M4 128GB, 3TB HDD, 1TB HDD Samsung DVD-RW SATA Windows 10 64bit Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz 
MonitorMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Dell S2716DG 1440P 144hz Gsync TN Hanns G 23" 1080p 60Hz Epson Pro Cinema 9500UB 1080p Projector (110") Razer Black Widow Ultimate BF3 Edition (orange) 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair TX750 Corsair 400R Steelseries Rival Steelseries QCK+ 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Asus Xonar DG Astro A40 V Moda Crossfade LP Logitech Z5300 
Audio
Denon 1909 + 7.1 infinity surround 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
A6 3420 HD 6520G 8GB 500GB 5400RPM 
MonitorKeyboard
15.6" 1366x768 Generic with numberpad 
  hide details  
Reply
post #9 of 9
Of course there are. There is HD content out there, although wether or not anyone wants to watch it... that is another story.
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