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  1. Member
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    For many months now, I was pondering if I will get one of these HD media players. My intention is to simply play my collections of home videos - HD mpeg2, AVCHD, DV-AVI, mpeg1 & 2, avi, mwv, etc. to be played either on HDTV or HD projector. Today, I saw an inexpensive desktop with HDMI port. Around $400 with dual core. I wonder if HDMI's are created equal as in integrated or otherwise. I have an ATI All In Wonder video card with HDMI that I can use just in case.

    Do you think I will be satisfied with quality and convenience if I just get the PC and skip the HD media player? I know many of you guys have the WDTV and perhaps a PC or laptop with HDMI so you are in a position to compare. Basically, the question is do I still need a HD media player if I have the PC that is capable of HD output? Thanks.
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  2. WDTV Live will play all the types you listed except DV-AVI -- no DV decoder. Its upscaling is decent for progressive material, a simple bob for interlaced video. A computer with a decent graphics card will as well or better, is much more flexible, and can run a nice GUI like Boxee or XBMC. On the other hand the WDTV Live is 1/4 the price and its power consumption is quite low. It consumes about 4 in standby, 10 watts playing 1080p60. A computer will consume 10 times that.
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  3. Greetings Supreme2k's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    A computer will consume 10 times that.
    Probably closer to 50 times that, considering the cpu alone will generally consume 70-110 watts.

    Plus, the WDTV is very portable.
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  4. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I've used a watt meter and I've checked several of my PCs during operation. Most run about 130W average AC 120V power at the socket. My servers with nine hard drives run about 140W average. But they do use about 300W during startup as the drives spin up.

    I use a WDTV Live as I don't have to boot my PC just to watch a movie on my projector screen. Considering the WDTV costs about $120US and my PC is over $600US, I think it's a good alternative to a HTPC. But my HTPC will play anything. The WDTV will play most formats. I think the final decision should be based on your needs.
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    Also other advantages of small streamers:
    - start up is quicker unless you are running that htpc all the time.
    - streamers are usually silent.

    Disadvantge of WD:
    - very primitive GUI, you cant even set shortcuts making it a laborious navigation to files if you have lots of movies and a logical deep folder structure.
    -no menu or chapter support for SD or BD material. That is really a hassle with epsidoc dvd rips, eg tv series. lack of chapter support, and even lack of using moving chapters on the remote is hassle if you are used to that navigation aid.
    - no GB network connection and no esata which isn't a problem for streaming but is for transferring lots of large files to atached devices.
    - no DV-AVI

    the price advantage of streamers becomes more of an issue if you move to a nas or WHS server and have more than one TV since you can install them cheaply at several TVs.

    I would not limit your choices to WD though, the upcoming Syabas 200 looks very capable and Asus has some competitive units as well which do several things the WD unit does not.
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  6. Greetings Supreme2k's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by redwudz View Post
    I've used a watt meter and I've checked several of my PCs during operation. Most run about 130W average AC 120V power at the socket. My servers with nine hard drives run about 140W average. But they do use about 300W during startup as the drives spin up.
    I'm not talking about a 486 cpu

    Seriously though, what's the wattage while playing full HD?

    Originally Posted by RdM642 View Post

    Disadvantge of WD:
    -no menu or chapter support for SD or BD material. That is really a hassle with epsidoc dvd rips, eg tv series. lack of chapter support
    If you use an mkv container, you can have chapters. That's the one that I know for sure, but there could be others.
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  7. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Supreme2k View Post
    I'm not talking about a 486 cpu

    Seriously though, what's the wattage while playing full HD?
    This is from the PC in my computer details, using a Kill-A-Watt wattmeter I hooked up a couple of minutes ago.

    The PC is a Q9550 OC'd to 3.4Ghz, two 500GB WD black SATA drives, one 150GB WD 10K RPM Raptor for boot, a 60GB OCZ SSD scratch drive, BD ROM, BD burner, DVD burner, ATI 3870 video card used for HDMI/VGA output. The card has a 6pin power suppy connection. All power savings in the PC turned off.

    Start up = 237W max
    Idle after a couple of minutes: 153W
    Playing a HD MKV (converted from a BD rip) from a HDD = 163W
    Running Graysky's H.264 benchmark, 100% CPU on all cores = 220W max

    The server PCs have a dual core CPU ~ 2.5Ghz, on board video, lots of HDDs and fans and draw a bit less power.
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  8. My power consumption numbers are similar to Redwudz's. My Intel Q6600 with a Nvidia 8600 GT runs around 150 watts with software 1080p24 h.264 decoding, 140 watts with DXVA decoding. My dual core Celeron E3200 runs around 75 watts with software decoding (no DXVA available). These are measured at the wall with a Kill-a-watt and don't include the monitor.

    Regarding the WDTV Live's support of chapters in MKV, yes it "supports" chapters. But using them isn't as simple as pressing a next or previous chapter button like on a DVD player. You have to press Options, navigate to the chapters menu and press Select, then navigate to the chapter you want and press Select, then press the Options button again to turn off the Options menu. Don't now what chapter you're currently on and just want to advance to the next? Good luck guessing. What a pain in the ass!
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    Originally Posted by Supreme2k View Post
    If you use an mkv container, you can have chapters. That's the one that I know for sure, but there could be others.
    Only mkv and if use the skip forward and skip back on the WD remote those buttons don't work with chapters, they take you to the next title.

    What you have to do with WD and chapters in mkv is something like 20 keystrokes and that works only if you already know what chapter you are on .

    Example of skipping back chapter on SD dvd rip
    WD: You can't
    Most other players: hit skip or back on remote once

    Example of skipping chapter on BD rip:
    WD: You can't
    Most other players: hit skip or back on remote once

    Example of skipping from chapter 19 back to 18 on mkv:

    WD:
    22 keypresses to move one chapter
    1) call up info bar
    2) move four keystrokes to right
    3) select chapter menu
    steps 4 - 21) press down button 17 times
    22) hit enter
    now if you did not know you were on chapter 19 (and you have no way to know this unless you have time marks on chapters and you first call up play bar to find time) you may end up repeating this several times to navigate back a single chapter mark!

    Most other players: hit skip or back on remote once

    Seriosuly you could probably get to the linux command prompt and do it faster on the WD then the way they have it set up!
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Regarding the WDTV Live's support of chapters in MKV, yes it "supports" chapters. But using them isn't as simple as pressing a next or previous chapter button like on a DVD player. You have to press Options, navigate to the chapters menu and press Select, then navigate to the chapter you want and press Select, then press the Options button again to turn off the Options menu. Don't now what chapter you're currently on and just want to advance to the next? Good luck guessing. What a pain in the ass!
    yes, 20 or fourty keystrokes to move one chapter in mkv, and that is only mkv, for dvd rip it wont work at all
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  11. I find it MUCH easier to:
    Hit FF
    Hit skip once for each chapter or it that 10mins?

    I find that easier than the crazy options button
    tgpo famous MAC commercial, You be the judge?
    Originally Posted by jagabo
    I use the FixEverythingThat'sWrongWithThisVideo() filter. Works perfectly every time.
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  12. Originally Posted by stiltman View Post
    I find it MUCH easier to:
    Hit FF
    Hit skip once for each chapter or it that 10mins?
    It's 10 minutes from wherever you currently are.
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    Originally Posted by stiltman View Post
    I find it MUCH easier to:
    Hit FF
    Hit skip once for each chapter or it that 10mins?

    I find that easier than the crazy options button
    that is ten minutes. Chapter marks are often in useful places and are a convention.

    I did not list that and lack of menus as a make or break, but as a disadvantage and a (actually the) major complaint of WD users.
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  14. Member
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    Thanks guys for the suggestions.
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