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Old 20th May 2009, 01:23   #1
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Default The Quest for Hi-Definition

When I got my 50 inch Plasma TV in late 2006, HDTV was not exactly in my horizon. The brochure said that the TV is HDTV ready (720p/1080i), and I thought by the time HDTV signals comes our way, my kids will be in college. In other words I didn't pay much attention. I also got a DVD player free with the TV that up converts the signals to 1080i, but we all know up-converting is not the same as real HD.

Anyway, my family has enjoyed this TV immensely since then and we have no complaints.

Recently I started looking at plasma TVs for a relative and I was shocked to see that the 50 inch plasma is available at half the price I paid and it is full HD, that is 1080p. The 42 inch full HD plasma is less than 1/4 the price I paid. Damn, this can't be happening. And I also saw that they were playing 1080p signals on the display TVs and the effect was mind-boggling.

But what really caught my attention was that they were playing HD signals. How were they playing them... from a multi-media hard drive player.

Ok, my TV can only play 720p/1080i, but right now I only have up-converted signals from the DVD player. But if a multi-media USB hard drive can get me the true 1080i signal, nothing like it. So, I started searching and ended up buying the Western Digital HD Media player.

WD TV HD Media Player ( WDAVN00 )

I ordered it from Theitdepot - Western Digital WDTV HD Media Player (WDAVP00BP) and it arrived in just 3 days.

Today, for the first time I was able play true 720p and 1080i from sample videos that came with the WD media player. It has no hard drive, but you can conenct any USB key or hard drive. Today I just plonked in a 4GB pen drive and viewed the videos. It looks quite amazing, may be not as great as 1080p I saw in the shop, but as of now I have no choice but settle for 1080i.

So I finally have HD signal. But I have two more problems to deal with.

1) My wife wants all our DVDs purchased since 10 years copied into a USB drive so that she can watch any video just using the remote, no more flipping through DVD boxes. All my DVDs are legal and most have 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS encoded audio. The WD media player does have a optical audio out which can be connected to the A/V receiver for decoding 5.1 dolby digital or DTS. How do I copy them into hard disk without loosing original video and digital audio tracks?

2) How do I get more hi-definition content to play in my TV? What are the legal sources of hi-definition content, like MKV files, etc?
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Old 20th May 2009, 09:04   #2
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Samurai, you paid about 1000/- extra for the WDTV. You could have got it for about 7200/- inclusive of shipping from Lynx Chandigarh Largest Electronic & Computer Superstore

There are no legal sites (other than Apple Store) to get hi-def videos.

If you are ready to risk voiding your warranty on the WDTV, you can make use of the 3rd party firmware which enables you to connect the WDTV to a network using a USB-LAN adapter (300/- on ebay) and save yourself the trouble of loading the movies on USB and then viewing them on the WDTV. I have a WHS (Windows Home Server) and it streams all the digital content to the various media extenders and WDTVs we have at our place. I have access to over 2TB of digital media at the click of the remote.

The WDTV is capable of reading iso files. So you can create an image of all your dvds using poweriso or daemon tools and then the WDTV will be able to play them. You won't loose any quality.

There won't be a problem in playing even 1080p on your tv. The WDTV will output 1080p and you tv will automatically downscale it to 720p. Atleast that is the case with my Samsung 32" LCD which is HDTV Ready (720p + 1080i).

Last edited by Rehaan : 20th May 2009 at 23:30. Reason: Team-BHP does not advocate piracy. Please keep such content off the forum. Thanks.
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Old 20th May 2009, 09:25   #3
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Hey SumitB, as always you are a treasure trove of gadget information. I hadn't really expected somebody with first hand info on WDTV.

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Samurai, you paid about 1000/- extra for the WDTV. You could have got it for about 7200/- inclusive of shipping from Lynx Chandigarh Largest Electronic & Computer Superstore
Well, there is always someone else selling for cheaper prices. Thanks for the link, how good is their service experience?

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There are no legal sites (other than Apple Store) to get hi-def videos.
Can that be copied to USB hard drive and played on WDTV? Would I run into license glitch while running from WDTV?

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Originally Posted by SumitB View Post
If you are ready to risk voiding your warranty on the WDTV, you can make use of the 3rd party firmware which enables you to connect the WDTV to a network using a USB-LAN adapter (300/- on ebay) and save yourself the trouble of loading the movies on USB and then viewing them on the WDTV. I have a WHS (Windows Home Server) and it streams all the digital content to the various media extenders and WDTVs we have at our place. I have access to over 2TB of digital media at the click of the remote.
Wow, this is huge. How reliable is that? Can it handle all the formats originally supported by WDTV?

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The WDTV is capable of reading iso files. So you can create an image of all your dvds using poweriso or daemon tools and then the WDTV will be able to play them. You won't loose any quality.
I suppose this includes 5.1 audio tracks too, then I can easily copy all my DVD to hard disk and play it on Home theatre just like before. This is great... (running out of smileys)

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There won't be a problem in playing even 1080p on your tv. The WDTV will output 1080p and you tv will automatically downscale it to 720p. Atleast that is the case with my Samsung 32" LCD which is HDTV Ready (720p + 1080i).
I have set the WDTV to ouput 1080i for now. Which is better 720p or 1080i, which has smoother viewing experience?
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Old 20th May 2009, 09:42   #4
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How do I copy them into hard disk without loosing original video and digital audio tracks?
It isn't much of a pain. There are many applications out there that can rips DVDs, a few are,

DVD Rip - a full featured DVD copy program written in Perl. It automates the entire DVD-to-hard-drive backup process for you.

RipIt4Me - Is a tool that helps you handle ARccOS or other DVDs messed up by structure based copy protections.

DVDFab Decrypter - Is all-in-one DVD copying/converting/burning software. In just one or two steps, you can copy any DVD to DVDR/PSP/iPod/etc. You’ll need to use this one if you want to rip HD DVDs.

We get R5 DVDs in India. And unfortunately, it isn't anywhere near High Definition. The picture quality compared to US DVDs are 8/10 and the audio 7/10.

Last edited by Rehaan : 20th May 2009 at 23:28. Reason: Team-BHP does not advocate piracy. Please keep such content off the forum. Thanks.
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Old 20th May 2009, 09:50   #5
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Hey SumitB, as always you are a treasure trove of gadget information. I hadn't really expected somebody with first hand info on WDTV.

Well, there is always someone else selling for cheaper prices. Thanks for the link, how good is their service experience?
Lynx India will only sell the product. WD have their own RMA centers. They take care of the warranty. The owner of Lynx, Amarbir, is a helpful fellow who is available over his mobile anytime. Treats the customer as a king and goes out of the way to get the issues solved.

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Can that be copied to USB hard drive and played on WDTV? Would I run into license glitch while running from WDTV?
Sourcing hi-def content from Itunes Store is one thing. Playing it on WDTV is completely another thing. WDTV will NOT play DRM protected content.

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Wow, this is huge. How reliable is that? Can it handle all the formats originally supported by WDTV?
The streaming though LAN using the USB-LAN adapter will play everything WDTV plays over the USB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I suppose this includes 5.1 audio tracks too, then I can easily copy all my DVD to hard disk and play it on Home theatre just like before. This is great... (running out of smileys)
Yes, your DVDs will play as it plays on a player. Includes every menu and FBI warning!!

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I have set the WDTV to ouput 1080i for now. Which is better 720p or 1080i, which has smoother viewing experience?
1080i/720p is a matter of preference. See what looks better on your TV. I find 720p to be better compared to 1080i. Somehow I see flickering when using 1080i.
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Old 20th May 2009, 15:18   #6
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Sourcing hi-def content from Itunes Store is one thing. Playing it on WDTV is completely another thing. WDTV will NOT play DRM protected content.
They are actually encouraging piracy by doing that.

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1080i/720p is a matter of preference. See what looks better on your TV. I find 720p to be better compared to 1080i. Somehow I see flickering when using 1080i.
Obviously, it will flicker, it is interlaced. I guess I'll stick to 720p then.
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Old 20th May 2009, 15:27   #7
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They are actually encouraging piracy by doing that.
Cheap internet and exorbitantly priced Blu-Ray Players and Discs are other reasons for piracy to gain popularity. With the Itunes Store, another problem is that you can only play the downloaded content a fixed number of times.

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Obviously, it will flicker, it is interlaced. I guess I'll stick to 720p then.
That is correct. I am waiting for my new residence to come up and once that happens, I will upgrade to a 1080p DLP with a 120" Screen. No more 720p/1080i for me then!!
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Old 20th May 2009, 16:51   #8
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Samurai, you paid about 1000/- extra for the WDTV. You could have got it for about 7200/- inclusive of shipping from Lynx Chandigarh Largest Electronic & Computer Superstore
I bought it for Rs. 6500/- from eBay about two months back. It's a great gadget. Now all my movie collection is on my two 1 TB HDDs, and they are plugged into it through a USB hub. A movie jukebox???

\N
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Old 21st May 2009, 19:21   #9
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The only legal source of HD movies for me is from torrent. Its literally impossible to source it from any retailer. Chances are that they might be selling pirated copies. Very few places have genuine stuff, like the shop Crossworld.

Last edited by aaggoswami : 21st May 2009 at 19:26.
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Old 22nd May 2009, 01:43   #10
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I recently hooked up my computer to my LCD TV to experience WALL-E in HD, and I'll be damned if the effect wasn't impressive.

All I used was old fashioned VGA cable, the same one you need to connect your desktop computer to the monitor. You also have a VGA port available on most laptops. Anyone looking to get HD content on their fancy new TV the cheap way can thank me for it

PS: Last I heard, 'Sun' or some other DTH service provider had started the first HD service in India. Not sure about the availability across India though.
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Old 23rd May 2009, 10:03   #11
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All I used was old fashioned VGA cable, the same one you need to connect your desktop computer to the monitor. You also have a VGA port available on most laptops. Anyone looking to get HD content on their fancy new TV the cheap way can thank me for it
But connecting a computer to your plasma/LCD TV in the living the room is not practical for everybody. I used to have a dedicated HT room in addition to living room TV until recently, but while renovating we have switched back to being one TV home. The whole HT setup is moving to the living room, the HT room will become my home-office/guest-bedroom. With growing kids it is important to make sure they have life outside of TV, having two TV wasn't helping.

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PS: Last I heard, 'Sun' or some other DTH service provider had started the first HD service in India. Not sure about the availability across India though.
It is available, one channel in Tamil and another in Telugu at a price of 100 bucks per channel per month. If we can get movie channels in HDTV that's something.
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Old 23rd May 2009, 13:31   #12
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The only legal source of HD movies for me is from torrent. Its literally impossible to source it from any retailer. Chances are that they might be selling pirated copies. Very few places have genuine stuff, like the shop Crossworld.
Where do you find legal torrents?
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Old 24th May 2009, 01:18   #13
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I download my HD stuff from torrent sites. Play it on my laptop which is connected to the LCD via HDMI cable.

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Old 24th May 2009, 02:18   #14
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But connecting a computer to your plasma/LCD TV in the living the room is not practical for everybody.
Ofcourse. Like I said, it's 'cheap'!!

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The whole HT setup is moving to the living room, the HT room will become my home-office/guest-bedroom.
Can I be that lucky guest ?

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It is available, one channel in Tamil and another in Telugu at a price of 100 bucks per channel per month. If we can get movie channels in HDTV that's something.
Wow, 100 bucks per channel? For some Tamil & Telugu Channels ?

No thanks. The only channels I'd REALLY want in HD are Discovery and Nat Geo.

Last edited by d3mon : 24th May 2009 at 02:20.
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Old 24th May 2009, 16:26   #15
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Now to find that toslink-to-toslink cable to connect the WDTV to my A/V receiver. Clearly not available in my rural setup. Does anyone know some online store that sells toslink cable.

Damn, I did have a toslink cable which I was previously using, but I switched over the coax sometime back. But I can't find the toslink cable I discarded.

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Can I be that lucky guest ?
What! Who are you stranger?
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