Blu or Blu not, How do I try?

I am thinking about adding a blu-ray drive to my HTPC possibly during the upcoming father's day sells.

My current setup is: X2 4600, 7900GS (HDCP), 590 SLI, 2GB DDR2-800, 320GB Seagate, 500GB WD, Samsung 40" 1080P, Vista Ultimate 32Bit, HDHomerun, 550W NeoPower, Lite-on DVD-RW.

I have a couple of questions that can hopefully be answered through the vast knowledge of this forum. The first question is: will my system be sufficient for playing 1080P content smoothly? As the 7900GS is a few years old now it has been difficult to find benchmarks of it during HD playback. The 7900GS is HDCP compliant and supports purevideo, but not purevideoHD which I think means that it will accelerate MPEG-2, but not AVC or VC1 is that correct? The system currently has no problem playing back 1080i MPEG-2 encoded HDTV through the HDHomerun.

The second question I have is: Is 1080P content actually worth the added expense and storage? The reason why I ask is because I like to store my DVD collection on my hard drive, and switching to blu-ray will substantially increase my storage needs. Also vista media center does a very good job of upscaling DVD movies so much so that distinguishing between 1080i TV content and DVD content has been virtually impossible. Granted the content that I had available to compare was probably not the best HD demonstration, but still the DVDS look very good (Office Season 4 HDTV 1080i vs Office Season 3 DVD).

Which leads to the third question: Is there any 1080P content available (besides that on bit-torrent of course) that I can use as a blu-ray demonstration. I would really like to see what a blu-ray movie would look like on my setup (yes I have seen it in stores) before I drop the money on the drive.

Thanks in advance for all your help

As a side note, I may need to replace this DVD drive anyway, its an old model from my desktop and has been very finiky lately including no longer being able to burn DVDS. So the additional cost over replacing the DVD drive is only $100 for a blu-ray drive
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  1. I'm not a real video freek but i can barely see a diff between 720 and 1080 when sitting 10 feet away from the screen. While you do lose a little quality there are a lot of great ways to compress the video so it takes up much less space and at the same time it stays in HD.
  2. I just got a blu ray drive on impulse and it was stupid ... not enough movie out yet. Better to wait until price drops. Also, some movie where not filmed or processed in HD (thats what I think anyway) so you buy a Blu-ray disc to get a DVD quality. For your comp, I have a 2.4g core duo with a 8800gts, vista, 2 g mem and my cpu is at 20% when I play blu-ray. You should be fine with your set-up.
  3. 1080i is closer to 720p than 1080p I believe. . . I might be wrong. The 7900GS will not accelerate HD playback. You can get an inexpensive ATI card that does in the HD2xxx or 3xxx series. As you said, bittorrent is probably the best way to try out 1080p. Also, if you're unconcerned about 7.1 surround sound or 5.1 than you will be able to save a lot of storage space when backing up your blu-rays to your hard drive by only copying stereo sound.
  4. 1080i is closer to 1080 p... its the same resolution but it uses a dfferent signal.. thats why people want the p at the end... its better for movies and provides better quality in action sequences and what not
  5. i disagree. i think as far as quality of resolution it would go:
    1080i then 720p then 1080p. 1080i is really 540 mirrored/doubled is it not? "i" means interlaced which basically means half the lines of "p" and then those lines are mirrored. can someone confirm?

    as far as getting the drive. i would recommend waiting. upscaling is pretty dang good. unless you have lots of $ and want to be at the forefront. prices should continue to drop. i think someone at sony predicted blu-ray drive under $100 by the end of 2008 (although i'll believe it when i see it). and they do take up a lot of space. i would think if you are considering blu-ray you probably have some sort of surround (5.1 or 7.1)? But San Pedro is correct that only copying stereo decreases size. In my mind why watch HD in stereo? :) :)
  6. 1080i (interlaced) will run at the same resolution as 1080p (progressive) with the exception that the encoding updates first the even numbered lines in one scan and then the odd numbered lines in the next scan.

    You're more likely to notice 1080i over both 720p and 1080p in scenes with fast motion and high compression... the picture will look like it's "jumping" a bit during the motion.

    For still scenes there isn't a huge difference in the resolutions, but purists will always tell you to look for 1080p when you have a choice and a few more $$$ to spend. Also note that it's much harder to find 1080p displays on smaller monitors as it requires 1920(?) x 1080 to display those resolutions without having to do hardware rescaling.
  7. No 1080P content available beside bit-torrent huh... I cringe at the thought of dowloading 25-50 GB of data just to get a preview, and that's besides the legal ramifications. I do need 5.1 but not 7.1 so I could save some space that way. My reciever also does not support Dolby TrueHD or any other of the "HD" audio options so I could also remove those. I have thougt about getting a new video card, but right now I can only spend about $150 total so that means I can either get a blu-ray drive or a new video card, and if I don't get a blu-ray drive then I don't need a new video card. I also want to wait and see what happens with the new HD48xx and GT2xx before I get a new video card. I do some light gaming on the HTPC, so any videocard upgrade must also be a gaming upgrade as well as including HD hardware acceleration.
  8. 1080p is the actual pixel resolution...all 1080p tvs are 1920 x 1080 native resolution.
    Most 720p sets will have 1336 x 768 native resolution and with some magic..(electronics) can simulate a 1080 resolution. But it's still not true 1080.
    And as stated earlier most movies from old will never be 1080p because they never had the capability back then. The best you can get from them is film quality...and your guess is as good as mine on that!
    I'ld wait a bit on the blue ray drive as they will come down in price and more new movies will be shot with 1080p in mind!
  9. For those who are saying to wait because of price, what price point do you think would be acceptable for a blu-ray drive. You can currently buy one for $129.99 at the egg. I personally don't think $129.99 is unreasonable, if and its a strong if the increase in quality over DVD is substantial. From your comments above it appears that it isn't. So the question is then how much would you pay for the increased quality over DVD?

    * As a side note, I may need to replace this DVD drive anyway, its an old model from my desktop and has been very finiky lately including no longer being able to burn DVDS. So the additional cost over replacing the DVD drive is only $100 for a blu-ray drive
  10. Well, that's a 100.00 bucks! how many blue ray discs do you plan to purchase in the next 6 months?
    I'm waiting till the drives are around 60.00 bucks...There is lots of hd content on the internet and finding it isn't that hard as someone pointed to I never use that!
    There are even trailers on the movie sites in hd...check them out!
  11. I probably won't purchase too many, as they are still expensive, and I only purchase movies that I will watch many times. But, I will watch quite a few, I have a netflix subscription, so I will change my preference from DVD to Blu-ray. Do you have any links for HD movie trailers? Especially in 1080p?
  12. If you have a Hollywood movie on a Blu-Ray disc, and you have a modern TV that you're going to watch it on, it is irrelevant whether your player or your TV are 1080p-compliant or not. You will end up seeing the exact same picture.

    Case A: Hollywood movie on Blue-Ray disc, 1080p-compliant player, HDMI connection, 1080p-compliant TV:

    Movie is stored on the disc as 1080p/24 (1920x1080 resolution, 24 frames per second, each frame is progressive/full frame) --> 1080p/24 output on the HDMI connection --> 1080p/24 accepted into TV on HDMI connection --> 1080p/24 displayed on screen, each frame is progressive/full frame.

    Case B: Hollywood movie on Blue-Ray disc, 1080i player, 1080i LCD, DLP, or LCoS TV:

    Movie is stored on the disc as 1080p/24 (1920x1080 resolution, 24 frames per second, each frame is progressive/full frame) --> Blu-Ray player cannot output this signal natively, so it converts it to 1080i/60 by the Telecine process (also called 3:2 pulldown) --> 5 interlaced frames are created from every 4 progressive film frames --> 1080i/60 signal sent over HDMI --> TV accepts 1080i/60 signal as input --> TV recognizes that signal is a 1080i/60 signal that contains 3:2 pulldown content, and applies inverse telecine algorithm, recovering the 4 progressive film frames --> TV displays 1080p/24 signal on display, picture is identical to Case A.

    Virtually ALL modern LCD, DLP, and LCoS TVs can do inverse telecine like this. Further, LCD, DLP, and LCoS TVs always display a progressive picture anyway even if the inverse telecine algorithm is not applied due to the way their display technology works. The only TVs that display a true interlaced picture are rear-projection CRT and Plasma.

    Because of this little-known sequence of events, 1080p is actually a bunch of marketing hype that makes no difference in anything whatsoever. As long as your TV can do inverse telecine, you get the same picture as a 1080p TV.
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