building an HTPC

Discussion in 'AnyDVD HD (Blu-ray issues)' started by the-russ, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. the-russ

    the-russ Member

    I am just finishing up my home theater. 8) I must say I am loving life.

    I have been reading this forum for a few hours and I from what I read, with anydvd HD, I can store my movies on a HTPC and they are 50g a pop. Is that right? 10 moveis per 500g drive? That isn’t a lot...

    Is there any software that people are using that will allow you to search movies by different criteria like the Kaleidescape?

    What do you recommend for a video card and audio card? I have a Yamaha rxv-3800 receiver so I think all I need is to send a raw audio signal.
     
  2. kdssrugby

    kdssrugby Well-Known Member

    Depennds on your budget. For a video card, the ATI 2600 series is cheap but excellent for HD playback, but not great for gaming. If you want power, go for the Nvidia 9600 or 8800GT.

    As for Audio, thats a little trickier. A Creative X-FI card will be good (you can buy either a SPDIF output adaptor or 7.1 analog cables). Since coaxial and spdif doesn t have the bandiwidth to transport the full modern codecs, they're not optimal. Analog is the best option for now.

    Though if money is no issue, buy a Auzentech x-fi prelude. That'll give you all the options you need (digital and analog) + they'll be releasing an HDMI extension board which will allow you to pass the full resolution audio to your Yamaha, though you ll have to wait a few months
     
  3. Nova935

    Nova935 Well-Known Member

    http://forum.slysoft.com/showthread.php?t=10482
    Check out this thread I started a while back. It shows other AnyDVD forum members HTPC specs.
    http://forum.slysoft.com/showthread.php?t=8321 Also check out this thread where I was given advise on a video card. I decided to go with a 8600GT which I found on the web for about $130 US. It works flawlessly with nvidia purevideo acelleration enabled w/ PowerDVDHD version 3104a while viewing HD DVD`s and Blu Ray DVD`s. I manage to get about 16-20 HD DVD movies or 12-15 Blu Ray movies on a single 500 GB hard drive. Most HD DVD movies average 12-35 GB per movie and Blu Ray is about 20-50GB per movie. I would look for a M/B with has at least 6 SATA connectors (1 for a SATA Blu Ray drive and the remaining 5 SATA connectors for 5 internal SATA drives for additional storage). I also use a SATA drive hot swap enclosure which fits in a spare 5.25 DVD drive. That way I can fill additional hard drives with movies and swap to another drive if I want to watch a particular movie that is not on one of my internal hard drives. Hope this helps. Nova935
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  4. the-russ

    the-russ Member

    KDS: do I understand you correctly that I am not going to be able to get the full blown audio right now? That kinda stinks. But when you rip the bd it add all the audio correct?

    Thanks nova for the input.

    What about disk space and an easly searched UI. at 50g a movie is it worth having your entire colection on a HD?
     
  5. Jong

    Jong Well-Known Member

    The average disc right now, in my experience, is 20-30GB, not 50GB. And that is with extras. If you remux to get things down a movie is typically 15GB-25GB.

    I am sure there are exceptions, and my discs may not be entirely typical, but I certainly would not say the average is anything like 50GB.
     
  6. Nova935

    Nova935 Well-Known Member

    With most HD DVD or Blu Ray movies costing around $25-$40 each, backing up ALL my movies to harddrives is protecting my investment. These disc`s can be damaged easily and become unplayable. I have all my original disc`s put away in storage after backing them up and watch them off my harddrive`s. I have been using Hitachi Deskstar 500GB harddrives which can be found new on Ebay for around $100-$125 US. The cost of the harddrives are nothing compared to having to replace the actual disc`s if damaged.
    $125= Harddrive / 15 to 20 Blu Ray movies @ $30 each =$450-$600
    I currently have 10 x 500GB and 1xTB hard drive and am still buying additional drives for more movies.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  7. the-russ

    the-russ Member

    At the moment threre is not a fast enough option to send the full audio to the receiver?
     
  8. kdssrugby

    kdssrugby Well-Known Member

    Hey russ, exactly right.
    at the moment you cannot get a full 24bit 96khz signal (which is the spec for True HD, DTS-MA etc). The reason is that there is a HDCP equivalent for audio. The only secure way to transfer this is via HDMI 1.3. Right now no computer has a 1.3 connection so Powerdvd downconverts the signal to 16bit 48 khz.

    At the moment, the best sound can be had via analog connections. Spdif and coaxial unfortunately cannot transfer that much information at the required speeds so if you select that as your output, powerdvd/your computer will downconvert the signal to standard DTS or dolby digital which those connections can handle.
     
  9. Jong

    Jong Well-Known Member

    It is nothing to do with HDMI 1.3. HDMI 1.3 has the same throughput as 1.1 and fully supports content protection. It is only needed if you want to send the HD codec bitstreams to an amp for decoding, as only 1.3 supports the protocols to do this.

    However, sending the bitstream is not the recommended way of sending HD audio. The recommended way of sending HD audio to an amp for both Blu-ray and HD-DVD is pre-decoded via PCM over HDMI. This is so different audio stream eg. Picture-in-picture commentaries, can be mixed together, as is supported with the new formats. If you send bitstreams to the amp you could not do this without doubling the bandwidth to send two separate audio streams. This preferred method of sending HD audio is fully supported with HDMI 1.1. The problem of doing this on a PC has nothing to do with HDMI 1.3, it is the lack of a secure audio path on the PC. Namely that nearly all current HDMI audio implementations, on XP especially, are unable to ensure the audio cannot be copied on the PC once it is decoded.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  10. the-russ

    the-russ Member

    So i just spent a ton of $$$ on my theater. If I put all my disks on my hard drive will the audio sound inferior to when I play it on my PS3?
     
  11. kdssrugby

    kdssrugby Well-Known Member

    Thanks for clarifying Jong, I was a tad bleary eyed last night after writing an exam. Though when I said he was exactly right, I was referring to post #4. Out of curiosity, why do you prefer to use PCM over Bitstream? I know you said it 2x bandiwidth, but does it affect the quality/syncing? (I ve never actually had a player capable of hi def audio so my knowledge is purely academic)
     
  12. ocgw

    ocgw Well-Known Member

    The quality of your HT sound is more a function of your amp, & speaker selection than the format of the sound imho

    ocgw

    peace
     
  13. kdssrugby

    kdssrugby Well-Known Member

    Good point ocgw, if your using $100 home theatre in a box speakers, no matter what sound card or amp you have, it won t be the best. Technically the sound won t be quite as good on a pc since it down rezzes the sound, but most people can t hear the difference.
     
  14. the-russ

    the-russ Member

    Ok, Then I am going to try it... I use a PC3 as my BR player. What software do people use as a UI for their HTPC? IS there a way to controll teh PC with a remote?


    I really love my theater. I have 7.2 monitor Audio speakers (Silver Series), a 106" drop down Da-Lite Screen, PS3, Yamaha RX-V3800 Receiver, and a Vidikron model 65 1080p projector. However, I am changing the projector to a Marantz 15 because the throw was mis calculated. I love wathcing movine in there.
     
  15. kdssrugby

    kdssrugby Well-Known Member

    Man, I wish I had that kind of setup! I personally prefer Powerdvd since it works ok for me, and I ve never tried TMT (arcsoft's Total media theatre). If you do go for powerdvd get version 8 for the best sound, though if you have HD DVDs you ll want to find the hack that enables hd dvd playback for it. I should note that apparently TMT does not downsample the hi def audio (from what I ve heard) but for whatever reason Powerdvd s downsampled audio sounds better. Go figure.
    As for a remote, cyberlink sells a remote on their store which will give you all the functionality you need, including the coloured buttons.
     
  16. lgwise

    lgwise New Member

    HTPC setup

    My recomendation for an htpc setup is as follows (it's what I have). I have a main office pc running vista home premium. The motherboard has 6 Sata connectors and an ad on 2 port sata card as well. One sata port is for the LG super blu drive and the other 7 ports each have a green power 1 terabyte hard drive attached for a total of 7 terabytes on that pc, each drive is full of blurays and hddvds. I also built 2 other dedicated mediacenter pcs with both pcs having 6 sata ports as well and they are both in mediacenter htpc cases that can house 6 hard drives each for an additional 12 terabytes among those 2 pcs giving me a potential of 19 terabytes among 3 pcs. The office pc runs my movies server and client edition while the 2 dedicated mediacenters run my movies client version to access the movie collection. I only use my movies for blurays and hddvds as well as some wmv-hd videos I have. all 3 pcs have powerdvd 7.3 ultra and anydvdhd as well as daemon tools. One Mediacenter pc has 2 sata ports connected to 2 1 terabyte drives as well for regular dvds. All 3 pcs have their respective names eg. officeVista, BedroomVista, Livingroom Vista but they each have the same user name and password as the main user and all 3 pcs drives are shared over a gigabit network so each pc can access each other's drives. The 2 mediacenter only pc's have a second user account called "officeVistaRemoteuser" so I can log in remotely to either pc from the main office pc and install programs or do maintenance etc. from one central location as well as not disturb anyone using the mediacenter PC while I do maintenance to it. This setup works perfectly for me. I currently have a collection of 250 and counting blurays and HDDVDS viewed from any of the 3 pcs via Mediacenter using My Movies Plugin working with daemon tools, anydvdhd, and PowerDvdUltra. I also enabled the DVD gallery in all 3 pc's and have the "DVD Gallery" option on all 3 pc's to browse and watch dvd's from my ripped collection which has a total of 500 and counting dvd's. All 3 pc's have a tv tuner card connected to its own directv receiver and The public recorded tv folder on each pc is shared so I can watch recorded tv from any of the 3 pcs on any one mediacenter. The same goes for music. it's all centrally stored on a hard drive and shared to all 3 pc's. I gave up on using xbox 360's as extenders as I wanted to be able to watch DVDs, blurays, hddvds etc. from all 3 locations and 2 dedicated htpcs and a main office pc have worked like a charm for me. If anyone wants a setup like this and has questions, feel free to ask me as I work from home and Mediacentering is my Hobby. I plan to own every bluray and hddvd that i like and be able to watch it in any of my 3 pc's at any given time. Of course, each pc is connected to a 52" 1080P set and when friends come over they are blown away when they see I can watch recorded tv and have a DVD gallery and a bluray\HDDVD collection and Music as well all at my fingertips from the couch.
     
  17. ocgw

    ocgw Well-Known Member

    What case are you using for your main office PC? I just bought this 1
    http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/product/Chassis/fulltower/mozart_tx/MozartTX.htm

    Can you record premium channels from DirectTV?

    I am planning to use a simular setup in my house, should my simple $50 Linksys 10/100 4 port router cut it?

    to the-russ: I'd be willing to bet those speakers of yours w/ plain-jane DD 5.1 will blow 99% of ppl away lol

    ocgw

    peace
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2008
  18. kdssrugby

    kdssrugby Well-Known Member

    ocgw, that is one over the top case, are you gonna get the 7" screen with it as well (ridiculous I say)
     
  19. lgwise

    lgwise New Member

    My main office Pc is an Antec 900. It is very spacious and with that Huge fan on the top sucking all the rising hot air out it keeps very cool, It also has fans in the front blowing air over the hard drives and as that air gets to the rear it rises and is expelled through the top rear and top. I have 7 hard drives in that case and one lg super blue drive. It has space for 2 more 5.25" drives. As far as your 10/100 router is concerned, I had a 10/100 d-link 4 port router before and it did fine when watching recorded tv or dvd's over the network and also hddvds and blu-rays. I upgraded to a netgear gigabit switches because a lot of times when someone was watching movies on one of the mediacenters I'd be on the office computer and wanted to transfer blu-ray/hddvd ISO's (25-50 gigs) over the network to another pc's hard drive and that's when the performance would lack. The mediacenter displaying the movie would stutter and skip while the transfer over the network was happening and the transfer speed would be about 2-5 mb/s so it would take forever. With the Netgear gigabit switch I can transfer files at 40-65 mb/s and still watch movies on both mediacenter pcs at the same time without issues. Hope this helps.
     
  20. hlkc

    hlkc Well-Known Member

    I've an Antec 4U server mount with 4X 500G HDD inside and with additional 2 eSATA controllers, I have total of 8X 500G in my HTPC server/client for my HTPC room. In additional, I have a 5TB (expandable to 8TB) RAID 5 server that do all my back up and stream video contents to my rest of house except my HTPC room.

    I am looking to upgrade my HTPC from Antec 4U box to Origen S21T box and new MB such as Asus Maximus Extreme and new GC to something like 9600GTS...

    Regarding the audio set up, please refer here.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2008