I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for a video cards for a home theater type setup? I want to upgrade my computer and was curious to know what the best componets for such a setup would be. just a note as well that this video card would have to be PAL compatible as i do own some R2 DVD titals.
Sound Card: Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2 or Equivalent that supports 5.1 sound($125)
Do you already have speakers? If not:
Speakers: Klipsch Promedia 5.1 THX Surround Sound ($375)
(If you want a Dolby DTS Digital Decoder, you could get the Logitech Z-680 THX 5.1 includes DTS Digital Decoder. The decoder is separate on the Klipsch system and costs about $160 extra. Klipsch sure do have awesome sound though.)
I just wanted to note that an ALL-IN-WONDER card will do you very little good if you don't plan to run your cable TV signal through it. All-In-Wonders also add TV signal viewing functionality stuff like timeshifting and channel selection. You can also capture video with them and edit it.
But if all you want to do is watch DVDs on your home theatre and play games, any plain-jane Radeon with TV-out will run DVDs just fine, and have DVD motion compensation built in for really great playback.
If you have an HDTV, you can buy a dongle to output HDTV component signals for only the Radeon 8500, or 9500/9800 series cards. Otherwise you'll have to use the SVHS output, which isn't as good but is still OK.
The dongle doesn't come with the All-in-Wonder cards, unfortunetely. You have to buy it separately regardless of the Radeon you buy.
If you want a remote control, the Remote Wonder that DOES come with Radeon 7500, 8500, and 9700 Pro All-In-Wonder cards *is* absolutely fabulous though, and they're not too cheap separately, so it might be worth it buying an All-in-Wonder if you value the remote like I do.
I don't have an all-in-wonder, so I bought the remote separately, myself. It's really very good. The remote doesn't use IR signals , but radio to communicate with it's reciever, so you don't have to point it at anything and you can use it through walls. It's very cool playing MP3's on your home theatre system and changing songs from another room in the house with it.
I have the AIW 9700 PRO and it is the best package as far as cable and software are conerned that I have ever seen (for a video card). I have several machines. I have a Game Theater XP with the original Klipsch 5.1s and a PowerColor 9700 PRO and that setup is sweet. I also have the Audigy 1 EX and that runs into my Onkyo setup and kicks some but as well (as far as MP3s and music editing are concerned). You cannot go wrong with the Radeon AIW stuff, but make sure you get at least an 8500 to leave you some room to upgrade in the near future. (I usually upgrade every other generation for this stuff and it usually doesnt kill my finances to bad)
Yeah, I'll second the M-Audio Revolution. It's like a pro audio card at a dirt cheap price. It supports everything you need to play and create, and it sounds better that creative crap.
As for video, go with either the 8500 or the 9700 AIW if you want TV capture. Or if you're nuts for nvidia (which very few people are in the post FX era, then get a Compro Personal Cinema) If you don't want the cable capture, then pretty much anything with S-Video out will do the trick.
With speakers, the sky's the limit. You could get a home theater amp/reciever and some good Cambridge Soundworks speakers if you care about quality, or you could get some computer speakers that are surround sound if you aren't. It just depends on the money. The one thing to make note of in audio equiptment is that audio equiptment does not get outdated like video cards do. If your speakers sound good now, then there won't be speakers coming out in 2 years that sound twice as good. With sound you get out what you put in.
No, the card only has to be PAL compatable if your TV uses a PAL signal. If your MOVIE is in PAL, you're player program will still send the video to the video card, where it's VGA (not PAL nor NTSC). And from there, the card will convert it to a TV signal. So you need an NTSC card for an NTSC TV, or a PAL card for a PAL TV, the encoding of the video has no bearing on the output of the card.
OK, I suggest a Radeon AIW 7500 unless you're into serious gaming.
<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
I run the AIW8500DV and its great... I got this card last summer so I missed out on the 9700 release. Anyway it's great and I've had no problems with it. To the guy running the 9700AIW I have nothing to say to you... Hopefully soon I will muster the cash to get myself one of those
To err is human... to really screw things up you need a computer!