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Old 22nd January 2008, 17:36   #1
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Default Help me build a Simple Home Theater PC

Guys, I am the proud father of a 2-year-old junior BHPian who loves watching (again, and again) all those movies produced by Pixar. I have the HD version of all those movies in my hard disk and my son is now using my PC as his personal theater. I am also a proud owner of a Philips 100 hz CRT HDTV (model: 29PT8836/94). The TV can do upto 1080p and it has several component inputs but NO HDMI or DVI.

As we all know, upconverting DVD players can upconvert only via HDMI, due to the HDCP constraints. Even if I manage to get a DVD player that can upconvert via component -like OPPO or HELIOS- these plyers are still incompatible with HD content. Besides, I am also in need for one more PC.

To cut the story short, I am planning to assemble a PC that can be connected to the aforesaid TV. Buttt, it will not be dedicated to watching Cars and Monsters Inc, it will be used as a normal PC also.

Reasons:
- a PC can play any video format, provided you've got the content in the HDD/USB
- ongoing BR/HDDVD format "war" is not an issue
- top end DVD players cost nearly 2/3 of a PC
- NO top end DVD player can match the video playback quality of Nvidia or ATI
- Nvidia 8-series has the best video decoder in the industry
- unlike a DVD player, the PC is user-serviceable and upgradable.
- most ASUS cards carry a HDTV cable (YPbPr) as a part of the bundle
Also considered the following:
- I do no timeshifting
- I am not a serious gamer either

So, I made the following draft spec:
CPU: Athlon 64X2 4400+ Rs.3900
MOBO: Asus M2NMX-SE or Msi K9N6SGM-V Rs.2500
RAM: Kingston 2GB 800 Mhz Rs.2200
card: Asus 8500GT Rs.3300 ?
HDD: Hitachi Sata2 250G Rs.2900
ODD: Lite-On 20X LightScribe Rs.1600
CAB: maybe Zebronics GeForce4 Rs.1650
Monitor, Keyboard, SMPS, speakers etc are already available and not a part of the purchase.

For now, I will live with onboard audio and standard PC speakers.

Guys, thoughts and inputs, welcome! Does anybody have any bad experience connecting Nvidia YPbPr out to a HDTV? Do you think any change needed in the above configuration or the proposal overall? pls talk back....

Mods, sorry for the loooong post.

Last edited by sandeepmdas : 22nd January 2008 at 17:38.
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Old 22nd January 2008, 17:55   #2
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Good config. You'd wanna add a proper soundcard and audio setup later. However do be aware that your TV will not actually display 1080p resolution. It'll just internally convert 1080p to something lower.
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Old 22nd January 2008, 18:50   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmdas View Post
. I have the HD version of all those movies in my hard disk and my son is now using my PC as his personal theater. I am also a proud owner of a Philips 100 hz CRT HDTV (model: 29PT8836/94.
I am facing the similar dilemma. I too have the philips 8836, awesome TV but the HD part of it is not at all put into use. I spent some time trying to gather some information regarding this and I found that there are some companies that manufacture Hard drive based players that can play out HD content. One such company is tvix. Home > Products > TVIX HD M-4000

They are still quite expensive, so I guess I will wait for some more time till the Chinese take over.

Your HTPC idea seems really cool! I am watching this thread very closely. Please do keep us posted once you get it going !!

Cheers!
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Old 22nd January 2008, 19:02   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmdas View Post
MOBO: Asus M2NMX-SE or Msi K9N6SGM-V Rs.2500
RAM: Kingston 2GB 800 Mhz Rs.2200
card: Asus 8500GT Rs.3300 ?
Have you looked at M2NPV-VM MOBO ?

It has better onboard GPU (GeForce 6150) that supports HDCP/HDMI and has component output. You might be able to avoid add on grafix card with this MOBO.

ASUSTeK Computer Inc.
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Old 22nd January 2008, 22:07   #5
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This will not help you at all. but just wanted to share with.

Sony India : HT-DDW1600/Bundle (HTDDW1600/Bundle) : Details

and i wil lbe picking up Sony India : HT-DDW685 (HTDDW685) : Details for 17800 withb/w pretty soon
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Old 22nd January 2008, 23:02   #6
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almost my spec but this the MOBO is what netfreak said. Not graphics card as I have on-board.

Your config looks ok but 2GB kingston @ 2200rs? Where in Tvm?

Wont it be better to get 2x1GB?

On-board sound is good and mines connected to a 6.1.
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Old 23rd January 2008, 00:16   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
However do be aware that your TV will not actually display 1080p resolution. It'll just internally convert 1080p to something lower.
Yes. Actually it was a typo from my end, my TV can go upto 1080i, and not 1080progressive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kvish View Post
I found that there are some companies that manufacture Hard drive based players that can play out HD content. One such company is tvix.
Cheers!
It is indeed a really nice package with such a small footprint; but I wonder whether it can playback HD via component. As you know, this is not a technical issue - the combined bandwidth of YPbPr cable is more than enough for that. This is a LEGAL issue with the crappy HDCP protection implemented by the Hollywood et al. Put simply this means any video signal that is better than 480p must be routed only thru HDMI.
The TV is awesome, and thats why (just like you) I am taking all these wanderings;
Quote:
Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
Have you looked at M2NPV-VM MOBO ?
Yes I did. It is Rs.4700 I learnt, and it is still a second option. A combo of 8500gt + Asus M2NMX-SE or Msi K9N6SGM-V will set me back for Rs.5800, but I will get for flexibility, modularity and possibly better playback, the 8500gt being dedicated hardware. Thats what I think as of now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by govigov View Post
and i wil lbe picking up Sony India : HT-DDW685 (HTDDW685) : Details for 17800 withb/w pretty soon
We saw a demo of this in last month, at Sony world TVM. The demo was impressive but mind you this was in an accoustic-friendly room. I dont remember the model number, but Yamaha also has a similar but slightly better sounding package for 23k i think. I saw the demo at QRS Karamana, TVM, in a pretty ordinary setting. Here's a photo of that room:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkdas View Post
Your config looks ok but 2GB kingston @ 2200rs? Where in Tvm?
Wont it be better to get 2x1GB?
JK, that is what I have in mind 2x1GB; 2GB system RAM.
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Old 23rd January 2008, 02:45   #8
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i would also second netfreak's choice. Besides the extra output features, its got Soundmax onboard sound, and compared to the two boards you have shortlisted, both of which have realtek sound, Soundmax sounds way better. As long as you plan to use the onboard , look for something with soundmax, or even better , sigmatel audio onboard.

Realtek make some very horrible onboards. In my HTPC, there is a pronounced buzz which doesnt go away till windows boots, and there left /right balance is not correct I'm only sticking with the onboard as my PCI slots are filled up by a TV tuner and WiFi Adapter
PS: why are you going for a HtiB? why not an analog amp+ floorstanders? Either Branded or thakaraparambu stuff. IMHO surround sound is overrated.
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Old 23rd January 2008, 15:33   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmdas View Post
but I wonder whether it can playback HD via component. As you know, this is not a technical issue - the combined bandwidth of YPbPr cable is more than enough for that. This is a LEGAL issue with the crappy HDCP protection implemented by the Hollywood et al.
Actually that box does not have hdmi out , and if they claim it gives out full HD content, it should play out on YpBpr.

Yeah HDCP is a pain, particularly for owners of this TV! The way HD wars are headed, looks like Toshiba may break open the HD-DVD to public themselves.
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Old 23rd January 2008, 17:03   #10
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Thumbs up Matches my PC Config.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmdas View Post
.
.
.
So, I made the following draft spec:
CPU: Athlon 64X2 4400+ Rs.3900
MOBO: Asus M2NMX-SE or Msi K9N6SGM-V Rs.2500
RAM: Kingston 2GB 800 Mhz Rs.2200
card: Asus 8500GT Rs.3300 ?
HDD: Hitachi Sata2 250G Rs.2900
ODD: Lite-On 20X LightScribe Rs.1600
CAB: maybe Zebronics GeForce4 Rs.1650
Monitor, Keyboard, SMPS, speakers etc are already available and not a part of the purchase.
.
.
.
Wow what a coincidence, a part of this is the config of the PC i am using presently.

CPU: Athlon 64X2 4400+
MOBO: Asus M2NMX-SE

MOBO + CPU @ 10K It was damn costly when it was released.

RAM: Hynix 1GB DDR2 Xion @ 800 MHz Rs 3750

HDD: Samsung
ODD: Benq DVD-RW Rs.1250
CAB: Mercury Black Rs 1250

Monitor, Keyboard, speakers etc are already available and not a part of the purchase.
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Old 23rd January 2008, 21:56   #11
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I will do a market research again on 26th Jan, and hopefully in a position to fire the BUY button by the first week of FEB. Hopefully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
Realtek make some very horrible onboards. In my HTPC, there is a pronounced buzz which doesnt go away till windows boots
Thanks for the inputs green, in fact my other PC -intel 946GZis mobo-is with Realtek audio and its not good. Not good at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
PS: why are you going for a HtiB? why not an analog amp+ floorstanders? Either Branded or thakaraparambu stuff. IMHO surround sound is overrated.
As of now I have absolutely no intention to go for any HTiB solution. I was just answering the post of govigov. All the demo listenings are made for a colleague.
By ref. thakaraparambu I think you are talking about that Sardarji's audio shop. We listened to a demo there, Dainty, Harrot whatever.
But the man knows what he is selling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kvish View Post
Actually that box does not have hdmi out , and if they claim it gives out full HD content, it should play out on YpBpr.
Maybe the playout can be via DVI. Both HDMI and DVI are bound to HDCP and you can convert DVI very easily to HDMI (HDMI == DVI+SPDIF). I am not sure but this is possible.
Neat package with excellent footprint, though.

Last edited by sandeepmdas : 23rd January 2008 at 22:11.
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Old 23rd January 2008, 22:23   #12
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Default Help me build a Simple Home Theater PC

Way to go

Will keep watching this thread, and maybe I too might try out the same.

Meanwhile check if you might get any tips that might help in one of the child-links from this page.

Microsoft Windows Media - Building a Windows XP-based Entertainment System
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Old 23rd January 2008, 22:42   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandeepmdas View Post
By ref. thakaraparambu I think you are talking about that Sardarji's audio shop. We listened to a demo there, Dainty, Harrot whatever.
But the man knows what he is selling.
I found their stuff slightly overpiced , and scored more in the looks department .. Very bling . SQ was ok, but you can get the same in plain black boxes for less .There are some local assemblers who do know how to put together something decent. I had my kit assembled by a guy called ajith - That was a few years ago . He used to have his office near HAC at genl Hospital . I bet there are others as well
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Old 23rd January 2008, 22:51   #14
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and have a look at this cabinet. Its what i have . Quite small, neat , and elegant !, and more importantly , readily available.
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Old 24th January 2008, 08:12   #15
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Default Home Theater PC

Some tips , not sure if it might be of any help to you.

Did you consider the new Graphics card's that have HDMI out's ?
Cause I think the ASUS card you are checking out does not have one.

See

ASUS - EN7600GT
ASUSTeK Computer Inc.

OR

NX7300GS-MD256EH
MSI -- MICRO-STAR INT'L CO., LTD.

Though you specified you are not a game fan, You can connect an X-BOX
game controller (game pad) via usb. I did the same for my laptop.
To get the best out of the X-BOX gamepad purchased this software called
'Pinnacle Game Profiler', Its worth the money cause it allows you to
map all the keys of the controller including force feedback.
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