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View Full Version : So what happened to the bright new digital age then. Same as free nuclear power ?



bobbasrah
21-01-2012, 18:12
Finally hacked off at being pushed into yet another storage issue for the DVD player alongside the VCR, cassette, etc., the notion for HTPC coincided with a screwed up desktop about 18 months ago, and so began a journey into media which centred on one central theme... HTPC

All modern media (sorry vinyl lads) is digital and can be stored efficiently in a computer, and what happens to the audio and video can be farmed to areas specific to that task. ie - No DAC, DTS, RGB, HDMI, or anything else required on the optical drive, just a data stream to convert to a more compact file on the hard disk, no regional issues and no security that cannot be circumvented.:eek:

Gone are the dedicated CD, Minidisc, Laserdisc, DVD, SACD, BD, along with the raft of measures to ensure media could not be copied, regional coding, licensed onboard decoding, etc. All that was demanded by the media industry in dictating how and where the product was used, is no longer of relevance, which is quite liberating.:cool:

Besides the obsession of having new toys, and a tidy rack of boxes, it surprises me that so few here are not on this particular trail?:rolleyes:

prestonchipfryer
21-01-2012, 18:25
Having read your post Bob, are you suggesting that all media should be freely available (gratis)? Just wondering.

John

bobbasrah
21-01-2012, 18:31
Having read your post Bob, are you suggesting that all media should be freely available (gratis)? Just wondering.

John

Not at all John.
I do not object to paying for media (although I do disagree with the scandalously high pricing), but I do object to being told where and how I may play it, and that I must purchase new boxes to add to the loft space when I only need one tiny part of that box !!!

EG - Bluray on the HTPC is region free by default, not (generally) on the hardware settings of the player.

prestonchipfryer
21-01-2012, 18:37
Okay, quite see your point now. Thanks. I am not quite as far as you with digital storage, in fact only just thinking of getting a BR player. :)

John

bobbasrah
21-01-2012, 18:47
No worries.
My old system sits next door, and all I have in the living room is a big black box (wireless keyboard and mouse), a DAC, a dusty but redundant DVD player, a few USB drives for backup, and a receiver. Minimalist, and absolutely functional.
FYI, all my BRs are ripped to 1080 if good or 720 if ok, taking up a fraction of the space, and can select anything from music to a video on screen.
Perhaps I lose out on the ceremony of loading an LP CD or BD but I don't miss it.

prestonchipfryer
21-01-2012, 18:57
Yes, I can see the attraction of just pressing a couple of remote control buttons, but I don't think I could give up my vinyl. :lol:

John

DSJR
21-01-2012, 19:04
I was having a similar conversation this afternoon. I can't help being an antiquated boring old fart, but I do like to handle my media (:eyebrows:) and it's this, together with the wonderful larger artwork on an LP sleeve, which has kept this format going I believe - looking at a picture on a screen just isn't quite the same for an oldie like me...

You know, B&O had the idea twenty years ago when they introduced the touch-screen and two way Beolink 7000 remote system. IMO it was way before its time and abandoned a few years later (just as Quad were dipping their toes that way and collapsed as a UK owned company largely because of it I think), but indicated the way for what can be done today with I-pads and similar, wireless operation and an NAS hidden away somewhere...

Trickie_Dickie
21-01-2012, 19:06
Can't remember the last time I listened to my vinyl, reel to reel, cassette, CD collection. I now download off the net for free and listen to my favourite music on my Ipod. :doh:

Reid Malenfant
21-01-2012, 19:06
While I can see the convenience of a single box solution I can also see massive disadvantages :eyebrows:

If my CD transport goes wrong I can still spin CDs in my universal player, the same with my upsampler & DAC etc.

With a single box if it goes wrong you can't listen to or watch anything until it's fixed :rolleyes:

It's a bit like modern cars, older cars used to be fixable at the roadside, now to even find the fault it'll need taking to the nearest garage & plugging into diagnostic equipment :mental:

Obviously having not experienced an HTPC I can't comment on picture or sound quality, it's all the messing about a la audio PC that puts me off, as well as reliability issues & the pita if it goes wrong & leaves you with nothing.


While I'm sure these things make a good bit of sense to those who are proficient in computers, they'd just leave joe average in a whole pile of crap if they go belly up.


I do agree about DVD & BD region coding though, all except one of my machines will play any zone BDs & absolutely any region DVD :eyebrows:

bobbasrah
21-01-2012, 19:07
Yes, I can see the attraction of just pressing a couple of remote control buttons, but I don't think I could give up my vinyl. :lol:

John

I'm almost finished rebuilding my old TD160 (don't start !) and will revisit that experience I hope shortly.:mental:
The point about digital is that it does not need to rely on the physical act with the media once translated, but we sort of contune to accept the ritual if using a player. Having said that, don't think I've ever seen a CD or other optical player without a remote.:scratch:
Saw a remote controlled vinyl record deck once.....Can't remember the butler's name though.... :D

bobbasrah
21-01-2012, 19:23
While I can see the convenience of a single box solution I can also see massive disadvantages :eyebrows:

1 - If my CD transport goes wrong I can still spin CDs in my universal player, the same with my upsampler & DAC etc. With a single box if it goes wrong you can't listen to or watch anything until it's fixed :rolleyes:

2 - Obviously having not experienced an HTPC I can't comment on picture or sound quality, it's all the messing about a la audio PC that puts me off, as well as reliability issues & the pita if it goes wrong & leaves you with nothing.

3 - While I'm sure these things make a good bit of sense to those who are proficient in computers, they'd just leave joe average in a whole pile of crap if they go belly up.

4 - I do agree about DVD & BD region coding though, all except one of my machines will play any zone BDs & absolutely any region DVD :eyebrows:

REALLY :stalks:
Just think about your logic a minute
1 - I have a spare CD, DVD with digital and analogue outputs, as well as backups on external drives plus the laptop. If anytthing goes wrong I have 2 fallbacks, and you have, ehm, yes...
2 - Full 1080 from the motherboard HDMI straight to the plasma, although a video card is a possible future departure if I get bored. Audio on optical to the receiver unless playing music which goes usb DAC. All selectable and idiot-proof, it needs to be.
3 - I am a civil engineer, the only part of me that is generally civil. If I can do this as a non-expert, as can a spotty 10 year old can, anybody can.
4 - I did not buy a dedicated BD player and went the PC route precisely because of this. I know it can be gotten round, but why is the industry so concerned if I buy my BDs from Hong Kong?
:ner:
It is not difficult to get very high quality audio and video, as many younger kids are finding out rapidly. I'm a sprightly 58 next month, so if an oap can do this anybody can.
:cool:

Reid Malenfant
21-01-2012, 19:35
1 - I have a spare CD, DVD with digital and analogue outputs, as well as backups on external drives plus the laptop. If anytthing goes wrong I have 2 fallbacks, and you have, ehm, yes...

If anything goes wrong I have 3 BD players, 4 DVD players & numerous CD players + a transport & DAC to fall back on...

I'm a bit of a hoarder :eyebrows: Some may be in other systems, but they are there, ready & waiting for the day when something actually goes wrong...

Which has happened a total of twice in 32 years :cool:

Now how long is it that HDDs last again on average :scratch:


I'm sure if I put my mind to it I could go & build one, the thing is I just don't want to. While as I say I haven't experienced viewing or listening on one, logic tells me that seperating everything out from each other will reap some benefits. After all, I don't recall some of the best amplification being integrated, or any of the highest quality CD players :scratch: They generally come in at least a couple of boxes seperated by digital or analogue leads...

Reid Malenfant
21-01-2012, 20:06
Bob, I have just had a thought :) Can you tell me what PSU you are using in this unit of yours?


E2A:-You see I used to work at a company called Ferrus Power who manufactured bespoke SMPS to the customers requirements. Having had a bit of an experience with a standard SMPS powering an Octava HDMI matrix switcher & then changing to a cheap standard regulated unit & then upgrading to a Paul Hynes regulator I know the damage an SMPS can do ;)

You see we used to make & I used to test a very complex SMPS which was power factor corrected & had individually discrete regulated outputs to power a very expensive bit of customers test equipment. This still wasn't immune to switching noise on the outputs, but was vastly better than any high quality SMPS.

This unit was only 250W & cost the customer well over 350 back in early 2000s on production runs of 100+ units.

So unless you happen to have an all singing & dancing power supply in there it'll be corrupting everything even if you don't notice it. I'd suggest you find the best PSU you can afford, don't forget that you'll ultimately be listening & watching the power supply at the end of the day - after all the PSU feeds everything!

If I was going to do what you have done I'd be looking at spending well over what that old FP250 cost back in the day :eyebrows:

bobbasrah
21-01-2012, 23:53
I cannot remember the PSU details but it was not particularly expensive or fancy, selected for it's relative silence in operation, 650w for security, and stability.
It may have existed and cost 350quid 12 years ago, but I dount it, as it is certainly a big step up from the 6 year old previous desktop's 350w unit.
PSU's and computers have come a long way in 12 years.

However, the various voltages and frequencies on a motherboard are considerably more complex to those from the PSU. That spurii are so well contained and controlled on modern PSUs and motherboards, and integrity of data streams preserved, is quite remarkable considering the density and complexity of devices.
Audio devices in a computer cabinet or near a smps were always a problem as a computer cabinet was/is a most hostile environment, but put such devices external to the desktop and decouple the signal and it all works superbly with video and audio digital streams.

No hocus pocus, no alchemy, no esoteric or musical cables, just digits. The previous stuff then can come into play if you feel so inclined, but that wasn't the point of the post.....

bobbasrah
22-01-2012, 10:13
If anything goes wrong I have 3 BD players, 4 DVD players & numerous CD players + a transport & DAC to fall back on...


Quite forgot to comment on that Dave, as it is, as it were, the whole point of the thread. :doh:
There are differences between your respective BD, DVD, and CD players, and probably these were upgrades, NOT replacements because they died.:eyebrows:

The only real difference within each of your device families is the way the digital signal is processed or converted from the optical disc.
When it was an upgrade from VCR to DVD, it was a media change, and accepted as necessary. In the digital age we are continuing the habit within the device families when the medium is the same, digital. :mental:
The gap between computer based and dedicated player is not a huge one, although purists demanding nirvana will remain dedicated to the boxes.
Many lads here are feeding audio out to DAC (a more stringent demand perhaps) with no complaint, yet the idea of passing a digital video signal from a computer is resisted. Why?

Media players are commonplace and improving rapidly, so it is not hard to see why folks are looking at computers. With larger drives and more powerful components now more cheaply available, file based audio and video using the computer as the hub is already here.:cool:

To answer your lifespan question, you might reasonably expect 5 years out of a hard drive, but if you accept a strategy of backing it up, and the possibility of replacing the 2Tb drive for 60 quid, is that an issue?:rolleyes:

Macca
22-01-2012, 11:04
Bob

I think you are correct in saying that, for the majority, one box computer solution is the future, a couple of friends of mine who are IT professionals have these set ups although they are mainly used for watching films as they are not big music fans. One of them has had such a set up since about 2002.

It is not my future though as, frankly, I quite like all my boxes. I have about twenty of them not counting amps and speakers, I have VHS, DAT, DVD and Blu-ray all sat on the same rack all hooked up. I find computers boring, irritating, over complicated and unreliable (and I trained way back as a programmer and DBA so it is not as though I am scared of them or don't understand how they work).

This may be 2012 but in my house it's still 1987 and always will be ;)

bobbasrah
22-01-2012, 12:45
Quite so Martin, I too have individual components, up to the BD turning point. I now have zero problems with audio or video quality, compatibility, machine reliability, or flexibility. I am playing hirez over the DAC, while typing this, delighted that neither function intrudes on the other.

There remain advantages at the upper end of the market in standalone boxes and they can demand premium prices, but in the mid to upper, the advantages are less clear cut, such as the region free BD (a hangup from the media industry which remains fundamentally flawed and frequently bypassed, which begs the question why bother).

The system I have next door dates from the 70's and 80's, and it still does sterling service even in 2012. The amp still sounds beautiful, and were it not for the need to decode video audio, it would not have been upgraded. It sounds the better amp TBH.

It is not choice by the consumer I am criticising here, rather the industry forcing that choice through artificial barriers to control the marketplace. Were they in the business of dealing with the player and decoder separately so that either could be upgraded I would perhaps not have such a jaundiced view of Bluray players etc..