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Please help me convert to Media Center?


StanHD
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Hi,

I currently stream my DVD rips (Standard VOB Format)to an Asrock Ion 330 connected to my AV amp running .....Sorry .... XBMC Live (Linux). I do really like the 10' interface, and I made this decision because:-

1. I could not get the Vista Home Premium / WMC that came with the Asrock to play my files without serious frame drops due to the lack of GPU acceleration / utilisation. (probably my limited competance)

2. XBMC offered "instant" Ion GPU acceleration via Vdpau.

3. XBMC plays almost anything you throw at it, including the display of "Raw" images.

Anyway, all is not good because I still get jitters and stutters in my playback, which definately isn't frame drop. After having spent many years with DOS and all of the Windows up to Vista, I really don't want to start again with Linux just to tweak around with code lines to try and sort it out. Soooo can anyone advise if my Asrock can be made to work with GPU acceleration under Windows 7 (Or Vista) and if that means forgetting XBMC then can Media Center play the VOB files (smoothly) and possibly display the "Raw" files?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Hey StanHD,

I can tell you from personal experience that the Atom/ION combination running windows 7 media center does work as promised. I have an atom 230 single core with the ION GPU and it does it's job. It is not the speediest when navigating through my movies plugin or the menu strip, but when it comes to playing content, it will handle it just fine. I play over the air HD through an HDhomerun, Blu-ray, DVDs, Boxee and Hulu. It was tricky getting the right version of flash combined with the right video driver for smooth Hulu playback.

I just built an Atom 330 Ion HTPC for my buddy and it does a much better job than my single core does. The tiny bit of lag when navigating is gone on that machine.

All of my DVDs are stored on my Home server in VOB files and My Movies works awesome to deliver the covers and content to all of my media center PCs. I don't think you will be disappointed by making the switch.

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A quick look around the net looks like people have limited success using the Asrock Ion 330 with Windows.

I thought this Broadcom Card might be a possibility, but it doesn't look like your system has a PCIe slot.

There is a forum I found that talks about some Codec packs that might help (found here). Quick disclaimer that I know nothing about this other forum concerning the ION systems.

Good luck. Others may be able to offer other suggestions.

EDIT: I just mentioned that the original post mentioned Vista / WMC. Maybe an upgrade with Windows7 is what is needed.

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What resolution are you running? Definitely look at Windows 7 if for nothing else than the included codecs, and when you do, go ahead and turn off Aero. The MCE interface doesn't leverage it, and it generally taxes the GPU.

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Hey thanks guys. The lag with the interface is not an issue, as once selected, it's the media playback that needs the quality. I think I will get hold of Win 7 with Media Center and come back into the fold.

Cheers :)

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StanHD,

I have 6 Atom/Ion Revo (which are similar to the you AAsrock Ion 330 and they all are running 1080P HD video using windows 7 home premium. As long as you have the right drivers, you will be able play your HD video. The only catch is the codecs. The codecs world is a mess and is a hit and miss as to whether or not they work. I will offer two piecces of advice, firs, make sure your unit has enough RAM, and give TMT 3 a shot (they have a trial version) and you will never look back. The atom platform is slow but if you are OK with a 5-10 second pause before the blu ray starts up, you will be in good shape.

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pcdoc,

I took a look through the forums that cskenney brought to my attention. (many thanks). The problems all seemed to be codec based. Regarding RAM, I have 2mb on the Asrock, and I have edited the bios to allow 512k for video. From the other advice above and your assistance, it's off to PC World at the weekend for a Windows 7 upgrade. So, I think it looks good to go.

Thank you.

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Yeah. Codecs are a nightmare which is why I always direct people to TMT3. It works. Good luck and let us know hownit goes.

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I also use the Acer Revo Atom-330/ION/Windows 7 as my HPTC. VOB movies play perfectly across the wired network from my EX495. I do not use wireless, but only because I already had an Ethernet cable in place from my previous HTPC. If you upgrade from Vista, be prepared for blazing speeds. ha!

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StanHD - Maybe send an PM to Diehard and talk to him about giving Windows7 embedded a try. If you are doing a re-install of your OS anyways it might be a good chance to mess around with it.

I have also seen where Netbooks either come with Windows XP or Windows7. I don't think I have seen any with Vista (and there may be a reason for that).

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