"Multimedia" Computer Question

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Postposted on Sat Feb 16, 2002 11:05 pm

I dont know if this will work exactly how I want it to, so Im gonna ask first.

I would like to take a ordinary computer with a dvd drive and hook it up the my tv. I want to send the audio as well to the tv, no reciever or seperate speakers. The catch is I just want to turn on the pc and pop in a dvd and have it play automatically. All this without having a keyboard, mouse, or monitor plugged in.

Can this be done just like this? Suggestions?

Thanks
Coldfirex
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Postposted on Sun Feb 17, 2002 4:46 am

Considering that the three DVDs that I have all require some input to get to the actual movie, even after you start 'playing' the DVD, I'm guessing you're going to need some sort of input device. That is, unless all your DVDs lack any intro menus.

I know that with XP at least, you can set the OS to automatically play DVDs when they're inserted into the drive. The actual hookup to your TV should be trivial, just a few wires and you should be all set provided the video card has a TV out.
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Postposted on Sun Feb 17, 2002 6:40 am

I would think that you would need at least one input device, most likely a mouse. Certainly at some point you might want to use the rewind or pause (pee break) functions. Even if you could rig it like you described, all you would be able to do is insert a DVD or eject the DVD and that's not a whole lot of options, right there.

Also, even though the DVD may auto-start, it will only take you to a main menu that gives you typical DVD options like cast biographies, making of, bonus music tracks and videos, etc. You would still need to select "Play movie" as an option. Every settop and PC DVD system I've ever seen works this way when playing DVDs. Also, some Warner Bros. DVD releases have this PC Friendly program that is basically crap and advertising which autostarts when a DVD in inserted. The option has to be denied when it prompts to install the program onto your hard drive.

The other thing is--I'm not sure what kind of TV you have, but if it is a smaller model without a lot of jacks, audio may be a bit of a challenge, unless it's a newer TV. You can buy a stereo-to-RCA jack (Radio Shack has 'em) and plug one end into your sound card and the other into the back of a stereo receiver, VCR, etc, but you might not have the plug(s) (audio in) on your TV itself.

I don't know if you have a video card already, but I read (Anandtech) that Nvidia cards with TV-out don't handle the task very well compared to Matrox or ATI cards. That's something I haven't had any experience with personally, though. I seriously doubt you would want to purchase a video card for the express purpose of playing DVDs on a television set. If that were the case, I would recommend buying a cheapy settop DVD player from Walmart, K-Mart, or Target instead and save money for a Geforce4 4400 to put (to good use) in a gaming computer.

I'm curious now--why not just connect it to a monitor and get far better resolution and color? Also, the CPU and the hard drive that you would have to use to run the OS, it seems to me, could be better used in an application, file, or print server for your network? I'm having a hard time trying to accept that an entire computer would be turned into, essentially, a single DVD player with only an on/off button.
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Postposted on Sun Feb 17, 2002 3:50 pm

THanks for all the input. Alot of that stuff never crossed my mind. Would it be possible then just to hook up a mouse to it and have the output be to the tv (to see the desktop) and be able to select play movie, get past lil programs on the dvd disc, pause, yaddi?
Coldfirex
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Postposted on Sun Feb 17, 2002 5:57 pm

Yes, you could get to most of the functions with the mouse (depending on the DVD program), but you will need either a video card with tv-out (my asus v7100 works quite well, as long as it's not multi-monitor - that just gives me fits) or a VGA to TV adapter. usually the adapters come with audio options too, so that would probably be a better choice if you have neither, but I have to second the earlier comment, why a PC? Why not get a $99 player from wal-mart? It will be easier, quicker (think about window's boot times...) and much more suited to the task.

Now, if you want to turn the PC into the home theater control center, with mp3s and DVD and 5.1 out to a suitable receiver, that's a different story.
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Postposted on Sun Feb 17, 2002 6:10 pm

Well, the only reason I wanted to go about this way is because I have a few extra 'older' computers that I dont need. I figured I could just pop in a cheap ati card w/ tvout and have instant dvd on a tv. I dont plan on doing the whole mp3 server/reciever/home entertainment thing there because I already have that on my main tv. I just wanted to get around even shelling out for a cheapo dvd player.
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