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Thread: Feedback on a complete HTPC system

  1. #11
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    Re: Feedback on a complete HTPC system

    Quote Originally Posted by theacoustician View Post
    What exactly is that supposed to mean, x264 not H264? x264 is a GNU H.264 encoder. H.264 is the standard to which x264 encodes. Furthermore, x264 isn't a decoder, so recompiling MPlayer for that doesn't really make sense (unless you're talking about encoding).

    Now, I can definately see how compiling MPlayer from scratch could definately win you some improvements on playback, since you can set all the relevant advantageous settings for your system. Great idea, hadn't thought of that one yet. Full disclosure on CoreAVC : that's not free software. If you're going to "apply the patch", you need to purchase the codec from CoreCodec first. It is however, the best decoding codec I've come across, so this is again another good suggestion.
    I thought that x264 encoding actually resulted in a slightly non standard file because of some of the optimisations it made? I could be wrong though - my understanding of the two is limited. Are you saying that if you have a graphics card with onboard H264 decoding support it can handle something encoded with x264 as well?

    Sorry about the slip with Core AVC - you're right, it does mean buying the Windows codec pack first (and having a Windows machine to install it on at this stage) but I'd recommend it as a way forward for more efficient playback if you can.

  2. #12
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    Re: Feedback on a complete HTPC system

    Quote Originally Posted by pasta514 View Post
    how about a motherboard with onboard graphics? GeForce 7100/7150? or AMD 690? but sounds like ATI support for linux is poor, so I'll assume avoid the ATI/AMD options, right?
    Nvidia 7000/7150 should be good. I have an onboard 6150 driving a 720p set just fine (although it did take some xorg/nvidia setting tweaks).
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  3. #13
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    Question Re: Feedback on a complete HTPC system

    Newlinux - what tweaks did you need to make to xorg/nvidia settings for the onboard 6150? What were the issues you had?

    I've got onboard 6150 as well (using the ASUS m2nPV-VM mobo) so I'm curious as what you needed to change.

  4. #14
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    Re: Feedback on a complete HTPC system

    Quote Originally Posted by brundles View Post
    I thought that x264 encoding actually resulted in a slightly non standard file because of some of the optimisations it made? I could be wrong though - my understanding of the two is limited. Are you saying that if you have a graphics card with onboard H264 decoding support it can handle something encoded with x264 as well?
    There was an issue with x264 making non-compliant files because it could make motion vectors with an absolute value larger than 512. The resultant files still played in most software decoders and almost all hardware decoders, but there were a few that got tripped up by this. It was corrected a few months back, so anyone using x264 since rev. 663 is making spec compliant files. Make no mistake though, x264=H.264 or at least that's the goal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X264). I can understand where you might have gotten your notion though, since it was first uncovered by CoreAVC users trying to play back files made with x264. CoreAVC makes most of its performance gains off being very strictly complaint with the H.264 standard and building off that.

    As for what I meant about the display is this : all decoding for H.264, regardless of the encoder used to make that file, is strictly done in software under Linux. It is purely a CPU task as there is no GPU involvement or hardware decoders to be had. So, as long as your graphics card or onboard graphics chip can display a resolution of 1920x1080@60Hz and you have a processor fast enough to decode the file, you should be able to view the video. Obviously, that's a bit of a simplification, but a good general rule. An example? The newish Mac Minis. They've got a C2D and a vanilla Intel onboard graphics chip. There are several reports that it plays 1080p 264 content perfectly. If there's an issue with decoding files made with x264, either re-encode the file with an updated version of x264 or find a software decoder that's a bit more lenient than CoreAVC.

  5. #15
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    Re: Feedback on a complete HTPC system

    Quote Originally Posted by JustInterested View Post
    Newlinux - what tweaks did you need to make to xorg/nvidia settings for the onboard 6150? What were the issues you had?

    I've got onboard 6150 as well (using the ASUS m2nPV-VM mobo) so I'm curious as what you needed to change.
    I think my issues were specific to my set. The biggest hurdle I had was tearing, which nothing seemed to fix at the time, until I switched to using RTC timing and bumping up the frequency mythfrontend could access.

    http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php...display_timing

    Just seemed to take a while to get the picture right (get the right settings), whereas my tv connected to my 6200 pretty much worked fine out of the box. It's possible thatt if I had connected the systems up to the opposite TVs I would have had the problems with the 6200. When I had the 6150 connected to a computer monitor it pretty much just worked.
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  6. #16
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    Re: Feedback on a complete HTPC system

    newlinux - ahh ok. Thanks for the link!

  7. #17
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    Re: Feedback on a complete HTPC system

    Thanks for the feedback and the extra info about hardware suggestions. If I set up a regular comp as a "Backend & Regular Desktop" and have this as the primary backend as well. (Will only surf, torrent leech etc on this one and have some FireWire 800 disks connected to it).
    Then I set up the specified comp as a "Combined Backend Frontend" with backend slave. Will it record locally or to the backend comp?
    Can I move recorded files to the primary backend after copying a dvd for example?.

    Oh and currently I have 2 External 1 TB Western Digital MyBooks running on windows with ntfs. Can I just plug these in and they work or do they need to be completely reformatted into something linux likes and then copy over the files or can I do something in between?.

    edit: typos

  8. #18
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    Re: Feedback on a complete HTPC system

    I wouldn't use NTFS, especially if you are using this drive for recordings are large video files. You can use it for read and write with a driver in Linux (by default you can only read from NTFS filesystems in most Linux distros), but XFS is a much better filesystem for larger files and for Linux (better stability, no need to defrag). Or even ext3. You can still share these with windows just fine via SAMBA/CIFS if you connect them up to a linux box.
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  9. #19
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    Re: Feedback on a complete HTPC system

    Quote Originally Posted by newlinux View Post
    I wouldn't use NTFS, especially if you are using this drive for recordings are large video files. You can use it for read and write with a driver in Linux (by default you can only read from NTFS filesystems in most Linux distros), but XFS is a much better filesystem for larger files and for Linux (better stability, no need to defrag). Or even ext3. You can still share these with windows just fine via SAMBA/CIFS if you connect them up to a linux box.
    EXT3 drives can also be read and written to directly from Windows if you use the EXT2IFS driver. I tend to use EXT3 in preference to FAT32 for shared drives because of the availability of large file sizes.

  10. #20
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    Re: Feedback on a complete HTPC system

    Quote Originally Posted by brundles View Post
    EXT3 drives can also be read and written to directly from Windows if you use the EXT2IFS driver. I tend to use EXT3 in preference to FAT32 for shared drives because of the availability of large file sizes.
    That's really only necessary if the drives are connected to the windows machine (most likely in a dual boot scenario). I was talking about if the drives are connected to a Linux machine. Then it is the network protocol of how the drive is shared that allows windows to access it (SAMBA/CIFS) and drivers aren't needed. When he said plug these in I assumed he was pluggin them into a Linux box, but I could be wrong.

    I would never use FAT32 - too many failings and limitations (particularly the 4GB filesize limit when it comes to HTPCs). In dual boot situation use FS-driver with ext3 or use NTFS-3G in linux for NTFS.
    Linux & MythTV 4 Life
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