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Thinking of upgrading my HTPC (BluRay and Windows 7)

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Skeeter, 14 Mar 2010.

  1. Skeeter

    Caporegime

    Joined: 8 Mar 2007

    Posts: 37,148

    Location: Surrey

    Hi

    Im thinking of upgrading my HTPC from its current DVD/Vista setup to Windows 7 and Blu Ray.

    Firstly, does Windows 7 have proper BluRay functionality either inbuilt in Media Centre, or is there some software available that can plug in properly? Most drives seem to come with software...

    Which leads me onto my second question, Which BDROM drive would you recomend? I dont need to burn, just to play DVDs and BDROMs.

    Thirdly, My HDTV is actually a monitor, meaning while it is 1920x1080 resolution, the HDMI mode isnt that special when connected to my HTPC, so I use DVI or VGA instead. Does BluRay work over DVI/VGA? Or does it need HDMI to work?

    Finally, do you think my C2D E4600 (2.4Ghz), 2GB DDR2 and ATI HD3450 will be up to it?

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: 14 Mar 2010
  2. Grimley

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Nov 2007

    Posts: 7,371

    Location: Deepest Darkest Essex!!

    I dipped my toe into the HTPC waters a while ago, there are others on here that know a lot more than me so I can give you a couple of pointers.
    Arcsoft Total media Centre will integrate into W7 media centre, as W7 does not have blu-ray playback built-in (It may do one day but not right now)
    for blu-ray playback, both your monitor & need to be compatible, this progamme will tell you
    http://www.cyberlink.com/prog/bd-support/diagnosis.do

    if not try using anydvd hd.

    TBH for the price of a BD-rom & the software required, you can buy a standalone blu-ray player, I went down that route in the end as the HTPC didnt playback blu-rays that well, I used Cyberlinks software which has been unstable in all builds I've used.
     
    Last edited: 14 Mar 2010
  3. Skeeter

    Caporegime

    Joined: 8 Mar 2007

    Posts: 37,148

    Location: Surrey

    Wow, when did BluRay players get so cheap? £120 buys you a half decent sony with some bundled disks!

    I might not bother then as it does look like getting BluRay on Media Centre is a bit of a faff. Still going to upgrade to Windows 7 though as my Media PC is my TV/PVR unit and used for a lot of ripped DVDs and music and other stuff. BD Rom playing will go to another device. If only Microsoft had done it properly :(
     
  4. Grimley

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Nov 2007

    Posts: 7,371

    Location: Deepest Darkest Essex!!

    AFAIK Microsoft were backing HD-DVD when it was around. No idea if MS will incorporate native bluray playback into W7 with service packs or future OS's like they did with DVD. probably due to all the DRM/HDCP & other anti-piracy measures that the hollywood studios demand these days.
     
  5. Skilid

    Mobster

    Joined: 20 Sep 2006

    Posts: 2,515

    Location: Hampshire

    I wouldn't personally bother with blu ray on a computer. I always found with all the ones i've used, every second or so there is a judder from somewhere on the screen. It does it everytime the hard drive ticks or something.

    I've tried 4 different setups with different screens etc and they all have done the same. Get a seperate blu ray player imo.
     
  6. Skeeter

    Caporegime

    Joined: 8 Mar 2007

    Posts: 37,148

    Location: Surrey

    Cheers. Ive decided a seperate device is the best bet. I (stupidly) thought that by now Microsoft would have proper BluRay support in Windows... but alas it appears no.

    Still got Win7 comming as Vista is annoying me and I got it cheap. Ill look for a seperate BR player.

    Cheers.
     
  7. Skilid

    Mobster

    Joined: 20 Sep 2006

    Posts: 2,515

    Location: Hampshire

    I recommend the Sony BDP-S360 as a budget player. I'm very happy with it.
     
  8. Pawnless Endgame

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 May 2004

    Posts: 11,434

    Location: Sunny Stafford

    I've been semi successful with a PC set-up:

    I ordered the Verso Avenger from OcUK, which is a Shuttle case with Phenom II 550, 4GB RAM, terabyte HD, an ATI HD 4850, an LG blu-ray drive, loaded with Windows 7 HP 64-bit. Windows 7 already has a codec for DVD so it picked up my DVDs fine. I tried it with a blu-ray disc, which didn't work, so I assumed that I needed to shell out for some software. I needed something fast, so I went into town (Stafford), and all I could find was Win DVD. It cost a bomb too... £50!! So I bought it, installed it, popped in a BD disc, and to my dismay, it threw up the following error "your display environment does not support protected content playback". After a bit of Google, it turned out that my monitor was wrong, at 1600x1200 4:3. I guess it was my fault for not realising, but I still feel that I should have been warned at some point when attempting blu-ray playback.

    After more Google, I opted to install a trial of Anydvd HD, and that worked a charm, using Media Player Classic as my front-end. The beauty of it is, that even though my monitor is 1600x1200, I can print screen (using F5) at 1920x1080, so it's obviously capturing the hardware level rather than software. Unfortunately, my Anydvd HD trial has ended and I'm not going to pay €80 (effectively £80) to register it, especially when the license only runs for 2 years. I'm instead going to eventually buy a 1920x1080 monitor and use my £50 Win DVD, and the damn thing better work this time lol :)

    Btw, my HD 4850 only has 2xDVI outs (coloured red instead of white). Will this be ok, or am I snookered?
     
  9. Grimley

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Nov 2007

    Posts: 7,371

    Location: Deepest Darkest Essex!!

    Your HD4850 should be OK. When you buy your new monitor check the specs of it 1st to see if it is HDCP ready or compatible. All links in the chain must be compatible for the HDCP to lift its restrictions (Even the monitor cable can be at fault!). If you clicked on the link in my 1st post in this thread, the downloaded programme will tell you. Apologies If you've this already.
     
  10. Pawnless Endgame

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 May 2004

    Posts: 11,434

    Location: Sunny Stafford

    Thanks a lot Grimley. If my HD4850 only has DVI-out, is there a converter cable that can convert DVI to HDMI so that I can link it to an HDCP-ready monitor? Thanks again.
     
  11. Banny

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,880

    Location: Hook

    Didn't your ATI card come with one, thought they all did.
     
  12. Grimley

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Nov 2007

    Posts: 7,371

    Location: Deepest Darkest Essex!!

    You want one of these if you did not get one with your card. If you bought a retail card. pic in the link below

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/HD_2900_XT/2.html

    That & a HDMI cable.
     
  13. Pawnless Endgame

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 May 2004

    Posts: 11,434

    Location: Sunny Stafford

    Grimley & Banny, no I didn't get the converter included, but thanks for the link. I've just taken these photos for you to show you what I did get with my HD4850:

    ▼ This is the box. As you can see, it's the XFX version.

    [​IMG]

    ▼ Here are the cables. The little one at the top is actually a DVI-to-VGA converter only! On the left is a 2x molex-to-4pin converter and on the right, I'm not sure what it is but I think it's used for projectors?

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Grimley

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Nov 2007

    Posts: 7,371

    Location: Deepest Darkest Essex!!

    Hmm. Looking at the XFX site it does not say if your card comes with the adaptor I said. It may tell you on the box or the instructions. There's 5 versions of your card on the site, so there's no way of knowing. The adaptor isn't that expensive, just search for ati dvi to hdmi adapter.
     
  15. dlthorpe

    Gangster

    Joined: 8 Jun 2004

    Posts: 306

    For codecs i recommend this...

    SAF