Archive

Archive for the ‘television’ Category

Hackintosh HTPC part 4

March 3, 2009 2 comments

In Part 3 I briefly touched on screen settings, and ended up using the analog output of the HTPC at 1920×1080, 59.9Hz. Picture quality was good, and to my surprise the pixels output by the video card were perfectly mapped to the ones on the TV. I used the free monitor setup displays at http://tft.vanity.dk/ for testing, and applied setting for colour and sharpness that had been previously been set using a Home Theatre setup DVD.

The setting that made the biggest improvement here was sharpness. On my TV, a Samsung 46A656, the default setting was 50 on all inputs. I had assumed this meant no sharpening but a quick run through the test cards on the setup DVD showed this to be anything but neutral. A black pattern of lines on a grey background showed very bad white edges around the lines, indicating too much sharpening. Dropping the sharpening to 10 gave a much better image, and the colour setting was dropped to 42 from 50 using other tests. Read more…

Advertisements

Hackintosh HTPC part 3

February 5, 2009 7 comments

In part 2 I detailed the motherboard, processor and ram picked for the HTPC. The plan was to initially use the spare Nvidia 7300GT card and replace this dependant on space available in the final case. I had a spare Tagan 480w PSU and a midi tower case as a temporary home, and the 500Gb hard drive from the hackintosh (replaced with a new 1Tb).

The build was straightforward so I won’t dwell on that. The first choice was how to install Leopard. The 500Gb hard drive had the hackintosh install on it so I chose to boot this first and see what happened. It wasn’t much of a surprise when this started up fine as it had previously been working on an intel chipset motherboard. The only thing that didn’t work was audio, so the next choice was do I keep the install and remove unnecessary software/files or do a fresh install? Read more…

Hackintosh HTPC part 2

January 31, 2009 5 comments

Having decided to build a hackintosh HTPC in part 1, the next step is picking hardware. This would normally include a display and this project is no different. The display this time though is an LCD television instead of the usual LCD monitor.

I had a short list of potential TV’s and the top was occupied by a couple of Sony models, the 40V4000 and 40W4000. The decision on which to go for would depend on what deals were available as the spec is similar, with the 40W4000 being a 10 bit panel (instead of 8 bit) and adding some multimedia features. Next on the list were Samsung’s 6 series models. A local retailer had an older Samsung 46″ 5 series and a Sony 40L4000 (a cut down 40V4000) hooked up to a Vista PC through a KVM switch, running at something like 1366×768 resolution. I increased the resolution to 1920×1080 and to my surprise the Sony showed an unsupported display mode message while the Samsung looked fantastic. Read more…

Hackintosh HTPC part 1

January 21, 2009 4 comments

For the past few year’s I’ve used an Xbox running Xbox Media Centre to play video files on a TV, streamed from first a Windows machine then a Synology file server. This setup is easy to use and picture quality is fine on a standard definition set. Mrs Basshead has recently become a lot more convinced of the need to upgrade to High Definition after watching a 40 inch Samsung 6 series for a while, so the second requirement (after buying a suitable LCD TV) is a HD capable media streamer. Read more…

Apple and Microsoft to adopt Blu-Ray?

March 10, 2008 Leave a comment

Blu-Ray LogoFT.com reports that both Apple and Microsoft are in talks with Sony to add Blu-Ray drives to their hardware. Does this mean we may finally have an easy method of storing and transporting the High Definition video we’ve been shooting for the past couple of years? Apple’s iMovie HD was released in 2006, and only allowed burning to Medium Definition™ DVD. Now the latest format war is over can we have an industry standard High Def disk? Just to keep us going until we all have super fast internet and modern media delivery systems so disks aren’t needed.

It’s a HD future

February 20, 2008 2 comments

Blu-Ray LogoSo it finally looks like the HD format war is over. Blu-Ray is the winner of a battle that no-one wanted, and it now has to convince the generally uninterested public to pay more for movie disc’s and players. The price will drop like normal once sales ramp up, but is there any point to taking the plunge now?

I recently saw a Ratatouille Blu-Ray disc playing on a Sony 46 inch LCD. Until that moment I was unconvinced by HD, but that combination was stunning. I haven’t seen the same material on an upscaling DVD player so I can’t compare the quality, but even Mrs Basshead was impressed.

On our trip to Lakeside last weekend Mrs B wandered into the Sony store to have a look at the LCD TV’s and I stood outside watching the same 46 inch screen showing HD content from the BBC. I’m not sure if it was a live broadcast or a recorded demo, but the quality was not impressive. The BBC HD logo in the top left corner of the picture was a mass of compression artifacts, as was the whole picture. Does this mean broadcast HD is just as bad as regular Digital TV picture quality? What I mean by this is digital’s lack of bandwidth when it comes to rapid picture changes like flashing light or fast camera movement. Try watching a music show when multi coloured spotlights are strobing to see a picture going blocky due to an insufficient data rate.

I always felt a bit ripped off when cable and satellite TV went digital, it seemed like an excuse to sell new equipment with no improvement in quality. Hopefully HD isn’t going to be an excuse to sell lots of expensive equipment, but the quality would have to be a lot better than what the Lakeside Sony store was showing to make me pay out.

Categories: movie, television Tags: , ,