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Old 10-14-2005, 09:02 AM   #1 (Print)
Verne
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Watching downloaded video - TV Out or burn to CD/DVD?

I've been thinking for a while now that watching video files on my 15" LCD computer monitor is a bit daft when I have a nice 32" Sony TV sitting next to it. What is the best method of viewing them on my TV? Should I get a graphics card with TV out or burn them onto CD/DVD? Just wondering what people on here do. If burning is preferred can rewritable media be used?

My DVD player packed up recently so I'll be buying a new one soon. If TV out is the way to go what are good cards to use?

Any other advice people have on this would be appreciated.
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Old 10-14-2005, 09:18 AM   #2 (Print)
pauljs
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Radeon Graphics cards can be software tweaked to allow you to connect them RGB to Scart. The quality would then be great but you also need a cable.

You could buy one of the many media player devices.

If you wanted to burn to DVD you may have to convert some of your files. Re-writeable playback depends on the player
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Old 10-14-2005, 11:34 AM   #3 (Print)
Sneals2000
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TV out from a video card is possibly the worst possible way of doing this in quality terms.

Radeon VGA to RGB SCART cable and Powerstrip in 1024x576 or 768x576 mode is much better, though burning to DVD using Nero or TMPGEnc may be easier if your DVD player replays DVD+/-R video OK.
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Old 10-14-2005, 12:07 PM   #4 (Print)
pahunt
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As an example of a slightly different solution, I've been using the Pinnacle Showcenter with the SwissCenter software for a while now and it works very well for me.

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Old 10-19-2005, 09:58 AM   #5 (Print)
Verne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pahunt
As an example of a slightly different solution, I've been using the Pinnacle Showcenter with the SwissCenter software for a while now and it works very well for me.


That looks like a very good solution. Not too expensive either. Can you give me any more info on how you've been using it? What sort of file formats. What works and what doesn't etc. I'm mainly interested in video but the music and photo capabilities are a bonus. Also, what's the remote like? I assume you can fast forward/rewind at various speeds?
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Old 10-19-2005, 10:08 AM   #6 (Print)
dagap
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I prefer to burn them to dvd-rw and play them on my TV via a Philips DVP642 DVD player.

Consider such a model for your new dvd player... most everything I download can just be copied as a file onto the disc and played as-is. No need to render or write in dvd format... just copy the .MPG or .AVI and play.
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Old 10-19-2005, 11:32 AM   #7 (Print)
pahunt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verne
That looks like a very good solution. Not too expensive either. Can you give me any more info on how you've been using it? What sort of file formats. What works and what doesn't etc. I'm mainly interested in video but the music and photo capabilities are a bonus. Also, what's the remote like? I assume you can fast forward/rewind at various speeds?


File formats that it supports are listed on this page.

As for general comments, on the whole it works very well but there are some things that could be improved. For instance the remote is not the most responsive in the world (although to answer your question it does allow different fast forward/rewind speeds). My biggest niggle with it is that it doesn't save your position if you exit halfway through a video in the same way as Tivo does, you have to remember where you were and find it again next time. I haven't really used the photo or music side myself so I won't comment on those aspects, although there are a few other forum members who own one of these if my memory serves me correctly, so they might be able to help there.

Overall I would certainly recommend it and the SwissCenter interface is updated fairly often and so new features are being added all the time.

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Old 10-19-2005, 11:36 AM   #8 (Print)
Verne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagap
I prefer to burn them to dvd-rw and play them on my TV via a Philips DVP642 DVD player.

Consider such a model for your new dvd player... most everything I download can just be copied as a file onto the disc and played as-is. No need to render or write in dvd format... just copy the .MPG or .AVI and play.


Thanks for that. Seems like that model is only available in the US. The DVP5100/05 is available here and has the same functionality.

The ability to play re-writable media is something I am looking for so that is good.
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Old 10-19-2005, 01:48 PM   #9 (Print)
Ashley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pahunt
File formats that it supports are listed on this page.

<snip>

My biggest niggle with it is that it doesn't save your position if you exit halfway through a video in the same way as Tivo does, you have to remember where you were and find it again next time.

<snip>



My ShowCentre running the Pinnacle s/w remembers the position. You have to go to Movies/Resume

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Old 10-20-2005, 04:40 AM   #10 (Print)
pahunt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley
My ShowCentre running the Pinnacle s/w remembers the position. You have to go to Movies/Resume


You are correct, I had forgotten that the Pinnacle software added that feature but to be honest I hated the Pinnacle software so much that I changed to SwissCenter somewhile ago and hadn't looked back since! I might have to go back and try the Pinnacle software again at some point though, the last one I tried was the 1.71 I think and it kept crashing on my PC, has it improved much since then?

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Old 10-20-2005, 05:30 AM   #11 (Print)
Ashley
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Haven't tried the SwissCenter s/w. Might give it a go. My Pinnacle s/w went thru' a phase of requiring reinstalling to keep it running but seems at the moment to br stable.

I like the direct file access that the Pinnacle s/w now has. Does the SwissCenter have that? Their webpage seems rather short on detail.

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Old 10-20-2005, 06:23 AM   #12 (Print)
pahunt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley
Haven't tried the SwissCenter s/w. Might give it a go. My Pinnacle s/w went thru' a phase of requiring reinstalling to keep it running but seems at the moment to br stable.

I like the direct file access that the Pinnacle s/w now has. Does the SwissCenter have that? Their webpage seems rather short on detail.


The way Swisscenter works is that you point it to a folder (or folders) on your PC and there is a scheduled task that runs that refreshes the database to reflect the contents of the folder. Is that what you're after?

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Old 10-20-2005, 07:47 AM   #13 (Print)
Ashley
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Not really.

On the Pinnacle s/w you select on the PC the folders that can be viewed, then mark them as sound, pictures or videos. Then on the ShowCenter you can select any file in those folders in the category required.

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Old 10-21-2005, 09:06 AM   #14 (Print)
Verne
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Been trying to find out some more info on the Showcentre. Can't seem to find a basic explanation of how this thing works though! The minimum spec of the PC required suggests that it needs to do a lot more than just have the files on its hard disk. A DirectX 7-or higher-compatible graphics card and soundcard are needed. Why is this? Doesn't the Showcentre handle the display and sound to the TV?
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Old 10-21-2005, 12:01 PM   #15 (Print)
Ashley
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The PC part of the s/w can be used to play videos and sound. So I expect the sound card and DirectX graphics card are required for that.

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Old 11-07-2005, 06:31 AM   #16 (Print)
Verne
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Does anyone know where I can get a Pinnacle Showcenter from? Having a bit of trouble tracking one down. I've had an order in with savastore for over a week now but they are out of stock.
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:03 AM   #17 (Print)
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dabs?
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Old 11-07-2005, 10:11 AM   #18 (Print)
Verne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manolan
dabs?


They don't have any in stock either. They have 9 on order though. Are these things usually so hard to get hold of?

I haven't used either of these sites before (Savastore & Dabs) but from what I hear they are both pretty good.

It is roughly the same price on both.
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Old 11-07-2005, 01:19 PM   #19 (Print)
manolan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verne
They don't have any in stock either. They have 9 on order though. Are these things usually so hard to get hold of?

I haven't used either of these sites before (Savastore & Dabs) but from what I hear they are both pretty good.

It is roughly the same price on both.


Same at www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk.

Have you thought of the Buffalo LinkTheater (http://www.buffalo-technology.com/p...6&categoryid=18 or http://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/Sho...?ProductID=2245)?
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Old 11-10-2005, 08:50 AM   #20 (Print)
Verne
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Originally Posted by manolan


I hadn't heard of the Buffalo before, cheers. All of these devices seem to have there plus/minus points.

I'm now considering a modded Xbox running XBMC. It seems to be a good solution and not too expensive. Don't have an Xbox currently but I'm sure I could pick one up quite cheap with the Xbox 360 on the horizon.

Anyone using this solution care to comment? Is it easy to set up and use?
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:04 AM   #21 (Print)
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Have an XBox running XBMC. Simple to set-up if you are happy with FTP and home networking. Excellent UI and plays pretty much everything. Very good with stuff like fast forward and rewind on all files, and happily copes with iTunes music servers (though only non DRMed stuff) Neat feature is replay of 24p Divx as 25p - avoiding judder.

Only downside is that interlaced MPEG2 (i.e. off-air DVB-T, DVDs of TV shows etc.) is de-interlaced to 25p (not 50p) and thus juddery or blurry. This is a major limitation for me - might not be for you if you are mainly watching progressive stuff, such as 24p stuff.
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:19 AM   #22 (Print)
Verne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sneals2000
Have an XBox running XBMC. Simple to set-up if you are happy with FTP and home networking. Excellent UI and plays pretty much everything. Very good with stuff like fast forward and rewind on all files, and happily copes with iTunes music servers (though only non DRMed stuff) Neat feature is replay of 24p Divx as 25p - avoiding judder.

Only downside is that interlaced MPEG2 (i.e. off-air DVB-T, DVDs of TV shows etc.) is de-interlaced to 25p (not 50p) and thus juddery or blurry. This is a major limitation for me - might not be for you if you are mainly watching progressive stuff, such as 24p stuff.


You're getting a bit too technical for me I'm afraid. I primarily want to use it for watching downloaded TV shows, mostly stuff broadcast in the US before it reaches our screens. It's interesting you mention judder. Some of the shows I've downloaded and burnt to CD-RW recently have displayed judder when watched on my DVD player. They are in xvid format. Would XBMC fix this or is it the downside you mentioned?

Cheers.
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Old 11-10-2005, 11:37 AM   #23 (Print)
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With my downloaded good quality material I use TmpGenc to convert to DVD compatible MPEG2 (takes about 2-3hours per hour source), then write to disk with Ulead MovieStudio. Works fine. Youy can batch up in TmpGenc and leave running.

With "not so bothered about quality" stuff I just let Ulead do it overnight to disk.
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Old 11-11-2005, 09:26 AM   #24 (Print)
Sneals2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verne
You're getting a bit too technical for me I'm afraid. I primarily want to use it for watching downloaded TV shows, mostly stuff broadcast in the US before it reaches our screens. It's interesting you mention judder. Some of the shows I've downloaded and burnt to CD-RW recently have displayed judder when watched on my DVD player. They are in xvid format. Would XBMC fix this or is it the downside you mentioned?

Cheers.


If you are downloading US shows in Divx or XVid format - then they are often in 24fps and not interlaced.

The XBox will be an excellent solution for replay - especially on a 4:3 TV. Last time I used it with a 16:9 set it wasn't perfect at coping with widescreen material on a widescreen display - though this may have changed.

The judder you have seen is almost certainly a poor 24 to 25 frame conversion, where one frame is repeated every second. XBMC doesn't do this, it speeds the 24 fps video up to 25 fps - you will notice a pitch change but will get smooth motion.
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Old 11-11-2005, 09:27 AM   #25 (Print)
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Another tip for converting XVids/Divx to DVD is the DIKO front-end for a whole bunch of programs. These also do the 24fps to 25fps speed-up trick, which TMPGEnc doesn't, and they usually get the 16:9 stuff right and master it anamorphically rather than letterboxed 4:3 (though this does depend on the precise ratio of the source)
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Old 11-14-2005, 08:53 AM   #26 (Print)
Verne
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Thanks for the tips guys. I had a go at using DIKO over the weekend with limited success. I think I need to read up on it a bit more so I understand what it is I'm trying to do. There are a lot of options for a novice like me.

Does anyone know how the Pinnacle Showcenter and Buffalo Link Theatre handle the 24fps problem?

Lastly, is there an idiots guide somewhere that explains all these different formats?

Cheers.
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