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  1. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    Hello All,

    I recently bought an HDTV (Samsung 46" 630 model) and an upconverting dvd player cause I'm too cheap to go blu-ray just yet. In order to get the HD experience I got an xbox360 hd-dvd drive for $35 and a couple dirt cheap HD-DVD's.

    I'm going to connect the drive to my PC and use the HDMI out (I'm using the Gigabyte 780g board) for video and the optical audio out (spdif pass-through) to my receiver for audio.

    Now I'm not going to lie to you, the actual PC display looks like garbage on the tv via hdmi, but thankfully I'll just be using it mostly for games and movies. It looks decent at 1366x768, but at 1920x1080 the text on the desktop is blurry and distorted..but i digress...

    I want to get some opinions on what the best software player for these hd-dvd movies would be? Everything is HDCP compliant in the chain so I shouldn't have any issues there. Since my receiver only handles DD5.1 and DTS5.1 I'll be limited to passing that out of my computer..

    just thought I'd get some feedback from the people here...also if anyone knows of a good way to calibrate my video for optimal viewing I'm interested in that as well.
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  2. Member
    Join Date: Mar 2002
    Location: CA,USA
    Search Comp PM
    WinDVD still plays HD DVD,Nero Showtime and PowerDVD only plays Blu-ray.
    You might consider the Memorex BD player,it's cheap($180USD) and can play video from it's USB port.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: Freedonia
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    There are no free solutions. Your choices are limited to WinDVD and PowerDVD. Both have huge drawbacks. I know that neither currently allows you to rip HD DVDs and play the rips from your hard drives. PowerDVD in fact stop supporting HD DVD playback in versions greater than 7.1 I think, but I've seen hacks that can make more recent versions do it. My understanding is that the current release of PowerDVD is fully capable of HD DVD playback, but the "geniuses" at Cyberlink just turned it off for some unknown reason.

    PowerDVD was rather infamous in that any random HD DVD movie might or mignt not play with any random version of PowerDVD. So one movie might play fine with 6.5, 7.0 and 7.1, another might only work with 6.5, another might only work with 7,0, another might work with 6.5 and 7.1 and not 7.0 and so on. I have no experience with WinDVD so I don't know if it was the same or not. I also don't know if the current WinDVD supports HD DVD playback or not, but a previous release did.

    Both PowerDVD and WinDVD have completely caved in to Hollywood and each release of their programs gets even less friendly than the one before it. Neither's current release supports playing BluRay rips from the hard drive, neither supports the ability to take screen captures because (I am NOT kidding here) prior to the first ripping programs when Hollywood really and truly believed that BluRay and HD DVD would never, never, ever be able to be ripped, they actually got worried that somebody might use the screen capture option to take millions of frame captures and string them back together into an unencrypted copy. Of course that "solution" did nothing to deal with audio so even if you could figure out how to string millions of screen captures back into a movie, with no sound what use is it? Even though HD DVDs and BluRays can now be ripped, the option to do screen captures is STILL forbidden in both programs to the best of my knowledge.

    I said this in another post today, but in my opinion PowerDVD peaked at version 6.0, the last version that came out prior to HD DVD support, and it's all been downhill since then. I cannot recommend that your purchase either WinDVD or PowerDVD. And note that I believe that you will not be able to purchase through normal channels the old versions of PowerDVD that could play HD DVD, so you will have to buy those old versions on some place like Ebay or find some alternate means of getting them. The current WinDVD does claim to support HD DVD (I just checked), but whether you'll like it or not or it will actually play all your HD DVDs is a good question. I have no idea. I guess if you just have to do this, you'll probably find it best to give WinDVD a shot as at least the current release says it supports HD DVD, but you're probably still not going to like it very much. The last WinDVD version I tried was 7.0 and I thought it was inferior to the previous 6.0 release.
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  4. Member ron spencer's Avatar
    Join Date: May 2005
    Location: Ish-ka-bibble
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    arcsoft tmt plays hd dvd and BR from hard drive...quite nice
    'Do I look absolutely divine and regal, and yet at the same time very pretty and rather accessible?' - Queenie
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    I'm assuming it also plays from disc drive properly?
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  6. Member wulf109's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2002
    Location: United States
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    I have two versions of PowerDVD on my computer. 7.3 plays HD-DVD from the disk and Blueray from the disk. I use powerDVD 8 to play Blueray,it won't play HD-DVD. I had PowerDVD 8 first and added 7.3 to get HD-DVD playback.
    I also have PowerDVD 6.5 on my backup computer and it plays HD-DVD from the HD and the disk,but no Blueray.
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    I tried the arcsoft tmt but it doesn't seem to be utilizing the hardware acceleration at all as the cpu stays above 90% and I get very choppy playback. When TMT isn't open my cpu is at 0% so there's nothing else choking up the pipeline.

    I disabled the cool n' quiet, made sure i had 512mb allocated to the card, and even oc'ed it from 500 to 800mhz but no love.

    I'm going to see how widvd9 plus does...
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  8. Member 1st class
    Join Date: Aug 2004
    Location: Charlotte
    Search Comp PM
    Consider this alternative:WinDVD Plus Blu-Ray costs between $80-90, whereas, you can buy a Western Digital WDTV for $99. The WDTV will play HD-DVD rips with a minimal amount of processing, and you already have the Xbox drive to make the rips. DVDFab for HD-DVD is free and will rip all the HD-DVDs that are out there. Add to the fact that the WDTV will play almost any HD content that you can download and will give better picture quality than your aging HTPC with less noise, it is a cost effective solution.
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    Originally Posted by festmaster
    Add to the fact that the WDTV will play almost any HD content that you can download and will give better picture quality than your aging HTPC with less noise, it is a cost effective solution.
    *GASP*!

    I know that a dedicated hardware solution would be best, I'm just a little upset b/c the whole reason I went with the AMD platform instead of the faster c2d/intel is because this 780g was supposed to handle full HD content with ease.

    If I'm going to spend more money thought I'd probably get a PhenomII and radeon 4830 so I would have the performance I need and more flexibility than the WD TV would offer. It is definitely a good suggestion, though.

    It would also serve another purpose of giving me much better video editing/rendering performance.
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  10. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    Oh just another note, I tried win DVD 9 and it seemed to utilize less CPU but the video was flashing like crazy and seemed to be like skipping back and forth..very weird. When I tried playing it from the hard drive the flashing was gone but it was playing at like 8x speed and of course that made the CPU spike again...
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  11. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    I've done some more searching and it appears getting hardware acceleration from the integrated graphics requires that I jump through hoops and click my heels 3 times. Certain drivers/software packages/etc. have to be used for it to actually utilize the video hardware.

    more tinkering tonight!
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  12. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    So after playing musical drivers and installing every supposed hd dvd player known to man I've found that the catalyst 8.10 drivers and PowerDVD *almost* work.

    I can tell the graphics HW is doing it's part while the movie is playing as my cpu sits at about 15%, and when watching in a window it is flawless...

    ..however! when I switch to full screen the video is still very smooth, but every once in a while there will be a "blip" on the screen..either a quick flash or it looks like the video skips ahead and then corrects itself immediately...it's a bizarre phenomenon and I'm quite sure it has everything to do with poor drivers/software...I could grab a 4830 for $99, but I'd still have the awful ATI drivers to worry about....
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  13. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    I know I'm probably talking to myself by now but I found for my setup the best combination is:

    Catalyst 8.9 drivers (beleive me I've tried a lot of them!)
    Power DVD 7 Ultra

    At first the only way I could get flawless video was keeping it in a window..as soon as I went to full-screen mode it would get real jerky/blocky/flashy/etc. from time to time. Last night I was watching Transformers which is supposed to be a pretty demanding hd-dvd and I watched it windowed for about 10-15 minutes then switched to fullscreen. For the first few minutes I was getting occasional glitches, but then it just started working perfectly..I watched for a good 20 minutes with no noticeable "blips"...the wide panning shots, fast action shots...everything was perfect..and the cpu never got above 40%.

    I went back down to windowed and of course it looked beautiful...then switched back to full-screen and got maybe a couple glitches before it went back to looking good again...

    I closed it out and exited the catalyst control center which was just an icon in the system tray. I also exited my AVG Free system tray icon. I then re-launched powerDVD and tried again in full-screen. This time it seemed to be working! I'm going to try it again tonight from a fresh boot. If this works then I'll just turn off my modem and close out the AVG before watching a movie..easy enough...but we shall seeeeee.
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  14. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
    Join Date: Sep 2002
    Location: AZ, USA
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    Presently with my Phenom II HTPC, playing back Blu-ray uses about 16 - 28% CPU and RAM usage is about 1.5GB, nothing disabled. Motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H with 4GB DDR2 1066 RAM. CPU OC'd to 3.3Ghz. BD ROM is a Sony BR-5100S. OS: Vista 32 Ultimate. Vista rating is 4.4 Graphics and 4.2 Gaming. ATI Catalyst version is 2008.0923.2139.36956

    This is with the onboard ATI 3200 video at 1920 X 1080 or my monitors native 1680 X 1050. DXVA Checker shows DXVA enabled. http://bluesky23.hp.infoseek.co.jp/dxvac/DXVAChecker_1.10.1.0.zip Playback is with PowerDVD 8 HD.

    Playback is smooth at either resolution. I think running 4 cores makes a big difference with playback, though I haven't tried this setup with a dual core CPU. When I had a Phenom 9500 I did have playback problems, but I've made a lot of changes in the system since, so it may have worked.

    With my other Intel computer, I got a ATI 3870 card and have had no playback problems with it. The 4800 series is probably overkill unless you are also using it for gaming. The 3870 did give me a Vista rating of 5.9 in both graphics ratings.
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  15. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    I was thinking of getting the 4800 series card just because of the newer hardware features in the video department... and it's $99 so very reasonable for all it offers. If I do want to do some gaming later on on my big beautiful LCD I'd have the option as well .

    Visually though the existing 3200 looks awesome with the HD Transformers I watched last night. With the CPU only spiking at 40% I don't think it's necessarily a limitation to my viewing experience (although I would definitely love a Phenom II in there :P ). It has something to do with something different that takes place when the video is in full screen mode vs. being in windowed mode. I can stretch the window out to fit across the whole screen with just seeing the borders/controls along the edges and it's still perfect...Based on what I've seen though the hardware is certainly capable..there's just something I may can't quite identify.

    Upgrading my hardware could very likely compensate for whatever this issue is, but I'd rather try to get this working as advertised. After my tests tonight I should know whether or not turning off the AVG is a workaround.
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  16. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
    Join Date: Sep 2002
    Location: AZ, USA
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    That's a good price on a 4800. I paid about $130US for the 3870, but I got it locally at BB as I needed it 'now'. I would have had problems with it in the HTPC, partially because of lack of space and some cooling problems. It does run hot, about 50C+ most of the time.

    I primarily use the Intel box for HD playback, so no problems with the HTPC and the onboard video as it will only get occasional use for Blu-ray.
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  17. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    well my testing will have to be delayed..last night I booted up the machine, closed out the catalyst control center and AVG resident shield and started up the planet earth HD DVD...the first screen (the warning screen about copying it) came up then the application froze. I went to task manager to try and kill it but then the whole computer locked up and rebooted itself!!! I went into safe mode and scanned it with AVG and now I'm scanning with the malwarebytes anti-malware application. Other than that I'm a little concerned as to why computer would lock up so hard and then reboot itself!! It's never done anything like this before...
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  18. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    OK so the new algorithm is:

    Unplug internet connection and boot pc
    disable AVG control center
    launch AnyDVD HD to defeat copy protection
    Play the movie using PowerDVD 7 ultra

    booya!
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  19. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    well that seemed to work with transformers and planet earth but now I got TMNT and it stutters when panning *sigh*.

    I just might give the radeon hd 4830 a try.
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  20. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    For giggles I threw a 60gb hard drive in my PC and loaded vista business x64...only installed sp1 and the newest drivers, then tried powerDVD again..when it failed I tried windvd9 and got a slideshow...Media player classic didn't work either with the .EVO files ripped to the hard drive. So the issue has to be the driver or the integrated video .
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  21. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    I got tired of messing around and the cost/frustration of trying to get the playback in the computer was more than I care to deal with right now. I got a toshiba HD A-30 hd dvd player off craigslist for $75 and I'm done :P.
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  22. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    I thought I was done.....

    After watching the TMNT HD DVD..ok my son was watching it but I enjoyed bits and peices as well...I put in another group of kid shows for him to watch (we're in the process of putting new floors in and I needed him pacified while I took my bedroom apart and tore out the carper)..

    about 1.5 hours into the DVD it started acting all glitchy..I put my hand on the top of the player and the left side was smokin hot!. This isn't the first time I've run into a situation like this. I promptly removed the gimply little exhaust fan they had in there and replaced it with a slim CPU fan. I cut a hole in the top of the player and mounted it directly over the hottest processor (the one with burning heatsink. Now the old exhaust fan slot and the slits along the side act as intakes for the enhanced airflow inside the case. Now it can run forever without feeling even a little warm.

    The noise is increased a bit but it's in a cabinet so I don't hear it..The cabinet will also be fitted with a pc case fan for exhaust and a discreet hole under the amplifier to keep everything cool in the av cabinet.
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  23. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
    Join Date: Sep 2002
    Location: AZ, USA
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    My media center is very tight. I have my HTPC on the bottom and the surround amp sits on top of it in the same shelf. They heat each other. The HTPC only has a 1/2" clearance on either side. The amp has about the same and about a 1/2" on top. The front and back are open. They actually run fairly cool, considering. The DVD players have a bit more space, so no problem there.

    If all those were enclosed in a cabinet, I would have a problem.

    BTW, I couldn't play MKV HD or Blu-ray till I upgraded the video card on the one PC and upgraded the CPU on the other. It takes a lot of processing power for HD. I use PowerDVD 8, which I throughly dislike, for BD playback as it seemed to work correctly, just very slow to start a BD playback. It seems DRM is most of the blame.
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  24. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: United States
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    yep..after upgrading the video card and processor, then getting an HD drive I would have spent just as much as getting a standalone combo bluray/hd dvd player.

    My plan is to keep the hd dvd player and wait a while in the hopes that cheaper blurays will come along..perhaps when the players and burners are affordable I'll convert my HD DVD's over.
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  25. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
    Join Date: Sep 2002
    Location: AZ, USA
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    That's taking the easy way out.

    I figure for my setup:

    $140 video card
    $100 BD ROM
    $80 AnyDVD
    $80 Power DVD
    _____________
    $400

    Frustration and effort to get it all to work.... Priceless.
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