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-   -   HTPC's and bluray (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/htpc-systems-software/15104-htpcs-bluray.html)

biff February 21, 2009 08:45 PM

HTPC's and bluray
I'm discussing my HTPC setup on an audio forum and was told

"I'd skip the BD setup and concentrate on the unit for a music server....HTPC's are not yet at the point of successfull playback of high def video on a consistent basis...and even worse on loseless HiDef surround formats. Visit the AVS forum on HTPC's and you'll read what i'm talking about."

I didn't think it would tax a reasonable system too badly let alone it just not being possible. So any truth to this comment?

cadaveca February 21, 2009 08:59 PM

Yes, there is some truth to it. Finding proper software to run HD-DVD/BLuray is an issue, as is the VGA you use. I actually find that I get better image quality from my PS3/Sony BD player than from my PC, and in order to get HD-audio, you need a add-in soundcard that supports the formats(ie, a soundcard that has HDMI-out on it).

The PowerDVD that came with my bluray drive works fine, but becasue I use an ATI card, colour is not accurate due to the CCC software.

lowfat February 22, 2009 01:52 AM

There is some speculation out there that HD Audio tracks aren't being decoded properly with PowerDVD. I don't know if it is true or not, but PowerDVD 8 is both DTS-Master, and TrueHD certified, so I don't know how they could get away with it not being able to play them back properly. But I can tell you it sounds absolutely beautiful on my system.

If you do have a receiver that can decode the HD audio tracks then grab an Nforce 730i board. They can do 8 channel uncompressed LPCM.

BTW The version of PowerDVD 7 that comes with the LG GCC-H20L doesn't support multi-channel analog. So either you need to use digital or upgrade the software.

cadaveca February 22, 2009 08:50 AM

Yeah, you cannot play bluray at all without updating the software, due to DRM.

And after playing on PC , and then a proper amplifier, even updated, no, PowerDVD is NOT playing HD-audio...it wasn't until I got the Xonar HDAV that I was gettig HD-Audio...the D2X can do uncompressed LPCM, but does not have teh "key" to allow HD-Aduio, and neither does the N-force board, unfortunately. I wish there was a cheaper way to do it...but there isn't at this time.

biff February 22, 2009 09:11 AM

Ok I think you're stating to lose me a bit with all the standards... The HTPC as it stands right now is an E3110 on a Asus P5E-VM HDMI with 2GB PC6400. I was going to use the on-board video since I won't be gaming. For audio I'm planning to take an optical over to my HK AVR-235 and use it's DAC. I will only be using 5.1.

I bought that mobo because the manufacturer, as well as several reviewers claims that it can do 1080p with ease and is the best mobo for HTPC use (back when). So from what I understand what you're saying, if I buy the BD drive and buy the software I still may not be able to play BD properly?!

cadaveca February 22, 2009 09:15 AM

No, the video portion will be fine, once you update the software(newer discs require newer "keys", and hence the need for an update)...it's just that you won't get the HD-audio stream...you still the SD 5.1/7.1 or whatever...

biff February 22, 2009 09:24 AM

OK, but you mention that you're getting HD audio using the Xonar HDAV. So is it something special about that card that allows HD audio. I figured I'd want a better SC anyway.

BTW what is SD vs. HD when it comes to audio?

cadaveca February 22, 2009 10:21 AM

HD-audio is ONLY transported to devices VIA HDMI, and that is why the HDAV has HDMI in the first place. All the proper "handshakes" need to take place in order for the HD-audio stream to be broadcast from the disc...

The difference...I cannot describe, effectively, how the sound is different...it's clearer, crisper, more "airy"...it doesn't sound like you've got surround...it sounds like you are there in the movie...

Hd-audio just has more information, and little-to-no compression. I could list off the specs of all the HD-audio formats, but that's not effective enough to relate the real difference.

As I mentioned in the Sony amp review, even stereo HD provides more "depth" than a "regular" 5.1 track...just like how headphones can be just as effective for tonal placement. The two channels carry so much more sound info that there is just no comparison.

biff February 22, 2009 11:09 AM

I've done a little reading more research and it appears that the DAC in my receiver may not be the best quality... though others tell me it's just fine. But it doesn't have HDMI anyway. I can do it through the analog outs on the daughter board for the HDAV can I not? TBH I'd rather take analog out from the PC anyway so I have more options on how to setup my system. I'm primarily worried about audio quality for music playback but I don't want to skimp on the HT SQ If I can help it. I'm a little worried about noise from the PC getting into analog out but considering the HDAV is almost 3 bills they F'n better have that under control.

cadaveca February 22, 2009 11:17 AM

Yes, that should work just fine. I looked at it this way...$600 for an amp with HDMI and DTS-Master/Dolby-HD, or $300 for the audio card...the ONLY way to get the HD-audio is to use the analogue outs, or the HDMI connection(The HDAV, being an HDMI deivce, has the nessecary "token" to get the HD-audio off of the disc). The daughter board is intended for just such situations...for amps with analogue inputs, but no HDMI. If you have an HD-capable reciever, then the cheaper HDAV would be the proper choice...

As far as I understand it though, you'll still have to use the HDMI-out on the HDAV to connect to you monitor, in order to keep the DRM chain intact.

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