4K video using HTPC

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4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:44 am

I'm in the planning stages for a home theater build out next year. Basically, I'll be taking my existing basement, adding a 65+ inch TV or projector, surround sound and furniture to make a really great room for watching movies and maybe playing video games.

At this point I'm undecided between 1080p and 4K and video player format - TV (prefer top end plasma or OLED if they get decently affordable in the next 2 years) or Projector. With a projector, I can throw a 100-125 inch picture in my basement, which is pretty sweet and would be incredibly immersive at a 7.5-8 feet away. And, with a projector, my eyes won't melt from the intense light of a TV that large and that close.

I'm really only interested in 4K if I can get it on a massive screen (hence the projector idea) and I can avoid the proprietary video player crap that Sony and Samsung have going on - otherwise, I'm fine with the best 1080p picture I can buy on my budget. The thing I've haven't been able to pin down is how to buy 4K movies without getting one of those proprietary media players other than some minimal Netflix 4K streaming.

Anyone know where to go for 4K content that is sold for viewing using a PC?
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:31 am

southrncomfortjm wrote:I'm in the planning stages for a home theater build out next year. Basically, I'll be taking my existing basement, adding a 65+ inch TV or projector, surround sound and furniture to make a really great room for watching movies and maybe playing video games.

At this point I'm undecided between 1080p and 4K and video player format - TV (prefer top end plasma or OLED if they get decently affordable in the next 2 years) or Projector. With a projector, I can throw a 100-125 inch picture in my basement, which is pretty sweet and would be incredibly immersive at a 7.5-8 feet away. And, with a projector, my eyes won't melt from the intense light of a TV that large and that close.

I'm really only interested in 4K if I can get it on a massive screen (hence the projector idea) and I can avoid the proprietary video player crap that Sony and Samsung have going on - otherwise, I'm fine with the best 1080p picture I can buy on my budget. The thing I've haven't been able to pin down is how to buy 4K movies without getting one of those proprietary media players other than some minimal Netflix 4K streaming.

Anyone know where to go for 4K content that is sold for viewing using a PC?


Good luck with that. You won't see any 4K Plasmas (I guess there is still a chance, but they would be insanely expensive). I'm also not expecting a 4K OLED screen to be affordable, for me anyway, within the next two years.

There isn't really any 4K content yet. Most stuff nowdays is being shot in 4K though, so just give it time.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:33 am

Oh yeah, I know 4K plasma aren't anywhere in the works. 1080p plasma, 1080p or 4K LED-LCD, OLED or projector are what I'm talking about.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:40 am

southrncomfortjm wrote:Oh yeah, I know 4K plasma aren't anywhere in the works. 1080p plasma, 1080p or 4K LED-LCD, OLED or projector are what I'm talking about.


My bad. In that case, I'd probably go with a plasma assuming you don't have to move it around a ton. It's likely going to provide you with the best experience. I'm not a huge fan of projectors though. I'm kind of discounting OLED too, as I'm not entirely sure they will be "affordable." I have no idea your budget though.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:04 am

Right now, OLEDs are outside the budget. If they get into the $3000 range for a 60inch screen, then they are within reach of the budget - and for amazing picture quality I'm willing to stretch to get something better since this TV won't be replaced until it dies.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Pansonic ST or VT60 if they were still available new when I was going to make my purchase. Its unfortunate though that, since TV tech is in transition, this really isn't the best time to be looking at TVs, which is why I'm less concerned about them at the moment. Really just trying to figure out if an HTPC is a viable way to get 4K movies.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:09 am

For a darker room like a basement I think your best option is the largest 1080p plasma you can afford. As others have said, 4K is suffering from poor availability, high-cost, and teething issues still; Skip it this round and pick up the best option once they're mainstream.

I still think the rule of thumb is to use plasma for darker environments, even though black levels and black uniformity are much improved on LCD screens these days; We have meeting rooms with high-end 60" Samsung 3D LED screens, and a smaller meeting room with a reasonably up to date Panasonic Viera plasma. The plasma is noticeably grainier and dimmer than the OMFGBRIGHT LED screens but it's plenty bright enough, especially with the blinds drawn. In the winter evenings with the lights off, the difference in black-level details between the LEDs and the plasmas hasn't obviously changed. Black levels are good on the LED but you can still see uneven light leakage around the borders and the edge-lit screens suffer backlight uniformity issues, despite supposedly being one of the best models for uniformity.

Personally I don't like projectors. Even the best of them lack the vibrancy and colour richness. DLP does better at this but then you get the weird pinwheel colour-fringes on many of them.
Either way, projectors are usually distractingly audible unless you can mount them in a vented cabinet with a glass windows like a projection booth, and if they're not cooled well you have sub-1000h bulb life, at hundred(s) of dollars per new bulb.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:11 pm

Whether I'll go with Plasma, LED-LCD, OLED, or a projector, or 1080p/4K remains to be seen over the next year. If the stars don't align by next year, I'll just use my 7 year old 46inch Samsung that is still going strong (but with black levels and shadow detail that leave something to be desired) until at least 2016 to see if the stars align by then. I'm willing to be very patient on a multi-thousand dollar purchase that will be in place for 5-10 years. That's why I'm really hoping OLED, and to a lesser extent 4K, kick it into high gear so I can make a bleeding edge purchase that lasts a long time, even if it is more expensive.

My main focus at the moment is deciding whether 4K movies are available for purchase and viewing on a computer. I can't seem to find a way to buy 4K movies other than through Sony or Samsung's media players... anyone know where else to go?
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:55 pm

I don't know how the distribution channel for 4K content is going to settle out. I know that the Blu-ray association is touting 100GB Blu-ray discs that will suffice on the storage space side of the equation, but I don't know if anyone has settled on "official" codecs for 4K content. I am sure, like current Blu-ray media which supports MPEG-2, H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10), and VC-1, the distribution media of choice will support at least H.265 and probably VP9 on the codec front. Netflix will probably settle on a compression codec that will get 4K content down to the point that a 5 or 10Mbit connection will give some semblance of 4K via streaming, though it won't be able to fully compete with the high Mbps rates offered by the physical media some consortium decides on.

I think the good news is that several studios are beginning to settle on a 4K DI (digital intermediate) for their mastering process. So, a lot (relatively speaking) of content will be ready for 4K in the home once the standards finally shake out. I am excited by the notion of seeing true 4K content in the comfort of home some day in the not-too-distant future. I think 4K will get us to the point that we're watching content that is basically equivalent to a 35mm interpositive print. We've come a long way since I had 3 analog broadcast VHF channels to bask in as a kid! Watching ST:TNG on Blu-ray vs. the broadcast, mastered-on-video versions is revelatory, to say the least.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:51 pm

Owning a 55" Panasonic VT30 Plasma TV I can say with fact that the picture quality is fantastic. i have it mounted in our bedroom on a adjustable wall mount that will extend the TV/panel a little over 3 ft off the wall making the 55" plasma sit over mine and my wifes feet when we are laying in bed. So the screen is around 5ft from our eyeballs and that is about as close as you want a 55" tv, any closer and you notice the pixels.
As for getting a larger 4k panel of any kind you are talking big buckaroos if you can find one.

I would suggest getting a nice 1080p projector and screen until 4k comes down in price, this way you can have a 100+" screen for watching movies or gaming.

If you are rich there might be something out now you can purchase but with the prices way out of my league I have not even looked to see what is available,

Good luck in your en devour and let us know what you get since i know i would like to know what you get.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:00 pm

No doubt, plasma is amazing. We'll see what Samsung has available when I go to purchase since they are really the only decent plasma TV maker left.

4K really is amazing with 4K content (other picture quality issues - black levels, color saturation- aside), though the only reason I'm even considering 4K is because my wife had her first real "OMG technology" moment when she saw 4K tvs in Costco. Nothing I said about how they really aren't ready yet and how there is no content could shake her. She had been suckered by the showroom bright screens and 4K pictures (there was *very* little moving 4K content shown). So yeah, happy wife, happy life, so I'm doing my due diligence.

When I finish the space next year, with or without the final TV/projector, I'm sure I'll post pics. It'll be a fun (read: expensive) tech project that must be shared. More than likely, I'll wait 2 years on the TV purchase since I think OLEDs will have either matured, or gone away by then, and 4K will have also matured to the point where it may actually be viable - viable being reasonably affordable movies that do not require a $400-500 proprietary media player.
Last edited by southrncomfortjm on Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:01 pm

vargis14 wrote:Owning a 55" Panasonic VT30 Plasma TV I can say with fact that the picture quality is fantastic. i have it mounted in our bedroom on a adjustable wall mount that will extend the TV/panel a little over 3 ft off the wall making the 55" plasma sit over mine and my wifes feet when we are laying in bed. So the screen is around 5ft from our eyeballs and that is about as close as you want a 55" tv, any closer and you notice the pixels.

Have you had to replace the drive boards on that unit? I have one myself and had to do that repair earlier this year.

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/167-plasm ... ssues.html
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:49 pm

I just got a samsung pn64f8500 (64" inch flagship plasma) for $3k. I can barely go back to my old lcd tv because I notice the lack of details in the blacks and the lack of screen uniformity and motion blur. Go plasma until OLED are made to last and are affordable. You can't really tell the difference between 4k and 1080p on a tv that size, unless your closer than 7 feet or so anyways.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:41 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
vargis14 wrote:Owning a 55" Panasonic VT30 Plasma TV I can say with fact that the picture quality is fantastic. i have it mounted in our bedroom on a adjustable wall mount that will extend the TV/panel a little over 3 ft off the wall making the 55" plasma sit over mine and my wifes feet when we are laying in bed. So the screen is around 5ft from our eyeballs and that is about as close as you want a 55" tv, any closer and you notice the pixels.

Have you had to replace the drive boards on that unit? I have one myself and had to do that repair earlier this year.

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/167-plasm ... ssues.html


Yep Captain Ned I did have to replace a board It happened at the 23 month mark of my 2 year warranty. I believe the board costed around $150 but using the calculator I am estimating it went bad after around 8000hrs of use. So considering the very heavy use this TV goes through I am very happy that nothing else has gone bad....knock on wood. I still would buy another one in a heartbeat unless a 4K tv was available at the same price:)

I am still pinching a penny here and there for the LG 34" UM95 21:9 ultra widescreen 3440-1440 IPS monitor....I cannot freaking wait to be able to purchase one. I am also looking forward to any TR Gerbils review of one also so I can drool over my keyboard:)
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:20 pm

Pagey wrote: Netflix will probably settle on a compression codec that will get 4K content down to the point that a 5 or 10Mbit connection will give some semblance of 4K via streaming, though it won't be able to fully compete with the high Mbps rates offered by the physical media some consortium decides on.


Netflix already broadcasts some 4k content. It utilizes h265 and bitrates are in the 20 - 25 Mbit range.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:47 pm

diesavagenation wrote:I just got a samsung pn64f8500 (64" inch flagship plasma) for $3k. I can barely go back to my old lcd tv because I notice the lack of details in the blacks and the lack of screen uniformity and motion blur. Go plasma until OLED are made to last and are affordable. You can't really tell the difference between 4k and 1080p on a tv that size, unless your closer than 7 feet or so anyways.


The 8500 is the leading TV at moment - wish those Panasonic ST and VT60s were still around. Hopefully Samsung releases an updated version sometime later this year. I'm also waiting on the Vizio R and P to come out. They should have great picture quality and also be great values.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:45 pm

I won't weigh in on the TVs themselves, but I think I can speak with some authority to media availability and future growth.

4K isn't happening in the timeframe you're looking at. At this point, with a little foresight, it would be very easy to implement a 1080p-centric system for today, that if and when 4K makes it big, you'll be able to switch out the TV and a few key components and be running wild at 4K.

Generally, for HTPC use, you'll want GPU decoding for every format possible, and right now something in the low to mid range Nvidia is your best bet. Personally, if I was starting over from scratch right now, I'd probably get one of Nvidia's Maxwell parts, with the largest heatsink area I could find, passive if possible. That's pretty ideal for video decode. Failing that, if the machine is a single purpose HTPC, a surprisingly low end card will get you the newest video decode block, so there's no point in anything higher end. My HTPC is currently using a laptop with a bad LCD (stripes), so I'm actually using a Core i5 mobile and the Intel HD 4000 graphics that entails. Works nicely, decodes smoothly, can't beat the price. My former and possibly future HTPC again is a Core 2 Quad and a GeForce GT 610. The 610 was cheap as anything, and has the full suite of fifth-generation video decode hardware.

If you get one of the Maxwell cards, that has Nvidia Purevideo feature set E, which includes hardware decode of h264 and VC-1 up to 4K resolution. Nothing on the market hardware decodes h265 yet, though.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:00 am

Ignore 4K for now. There isn't enough content. Get a good quality 1080p. Plus, you'd be better off so save the price differential for a couple years and then buy an even better 4k display once there is actual content.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:09 am

Forge wrote:I won't weigh in on the TVs themselves, but I think I can speak with some authority to media availability and future growth.

4K isn't happening in the timeframe you're looking at. At this point, with a little foresight, it would be very easy to implement a 1080p-centric system for today, that if and when 4K makes it big, you'll be able to switch out the TV and a few key components and be running wild at 4K.

Generally, for HTPC use, you'll want GPU decoding for every format possible, and right now something in the low to mid range Nvidia is your best bet. Personally, if I was starting over from scratch right now, I'd probably get one of Nvidia's Maxwell parts, with the largest heatsink area I could find, passive if possible. That's pretty ideal for video decode. Failing that, if the machine is a single purpose HTPC, a surprisingly low end card will get you the newest video decode block, so there's no point in anything higher end. My HTPC is currently using a laptop with a bad LCD (stripes), so I'm actually using a Core i5 mobile and the Intel HD 4000 graphics that entails. Works nicely, decodes smoothly, can't beat the price. My former and possibly future HTPC again is a Core 2 Quad and a GeForce GT 610. The 610 was cheap as anything, and has the full suite of fifth-generation video decode hardware.

If you get one of the Maxwell cards, that has Nvidia Purevideo feature set E, which includes hardware decode of h264 and VC-1 up to 4K resolution. Nothing on the market hardware decodes h265 yet, though.


My current gaming rig (in my sig) is going to be hooked up to the new TV, along with an Xbox 360 as a Windows Media Extender from the main HTPC in the living room - I don't think other PCs can act as extenders. It will probably be stored in closet nearby, so the fact that it isn't exactly quiet won't be a big deal. By the time this whole setup really gets rolling, I'll be ready to upgrade the 7850 and will be sure to get a card that covers all codecs. Thanks for the tip.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:21 am

You have no reason to have to upgrade the HD 7850. The way I have my 3 HTPC's setup to share all the movies /TV shows on them is I have a dedicated storage drive in each of them setup with permissions that any of the computers in my house hooked up to the network can access the files by setting up the drives folders to share with anyone. So in fact you really do not have to have a dedicated storage drive in any of the computers hooked to your network. You just have to setup whatever folder on the drive in each computer as a shared folder for any computer hooked to your network. I have them setup to where they can read/play the files but they can nor delete or move the file on the machine they are watching the movie/TV show from. But they can pull the file or folder and copy it onto whatever machine they are watching the movie on from the remote computer.

Also I highly suggest you set up your computer with a wired system use cat 5 or cat 6 cables since wireless on a big 10-20gb file can cause playback issues since your on the edge of bandwidth. If you can not wire them together to the cable modem/router for any reason try a Power Line Adapter...they work way better then a wireless connection. I am using a Netgear AV500 powerline adapter running from my router to my living room HTPC since my A, B, G wireless card was not up to the task of any large 1080p file. I installed the powerline adapter and problem is gone. I would Also like to note that this is in a house that is around 75 years old. The only time it has a problem is when the wife run a Vacume cleaner on the same power line.

Also I use The smooth video project that comes bundled with HPCHC, MADVR and all the other goodies like fddshow and it changes say a frame rate of 24,25 or 30 FPS to match your monitor/TB's refresh rate. So everything I watch is upscaled to 60FPS which make a big difference is video smoothness and I highly recommend you use it. The latest version is 3.1.6 if I remember correctly. Now regardless of what hardware you are using During the install process the program sets up the program so it plays smooth with no jitters or lockups since The Smooth Video project can bring my 2600k @ 4.8ghz to its knees if I have everything turned up to the max, But my other two i3 2120 H61 and H67 based CPU's with a HD7750 in the H67 and a HD6570 in the H61 based machine. But I know your 3570k will work great for the production of extra frames and the HD7850 will also work great for the MADVR video quality improvements since I know my HD7750 does a great job along with my older HD 6570 so your 7850 should shrug it off with no problems. My SLI EVGA 4gb Classified cards in my 2600k rig have one card running at 50% usage and the other/slave card at 20% usage but I have noticed that AMD/ATI cards seem to work better with the SVP or any video program that I have noticed for a long time even when I did a side by side comparison of my HD6570 with matched up with one od my i3 2120 cpus vs one of my original 560ti cards that I originally had in my 2600k rig that now are replaced with the 4gb 770 classified cards
Any questions feel free to PM me and we can exchange phone #s and figure out what you want to do. I would be glad to help.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:35 am

Usacomp2k3 wrote:Ignore 4K for now. There isn't enough content. Get a good quality 1080p. Plus, you'd be better off so save the price differential for a couple years and then buy an even better 4k display once there is actual content.


Plus the only way to do 4k at over 30 fps on a HDTV at the moment is display port or HDMI 2.0. To my knowledge there is only one TV with display port (a panasonic model that isn't very good) and no video cards that support HDMI 2.0 yet.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:41 am

southrncomfortjm wrote:
diesavagenation wrote:I just got a samsung pn64f8500 (64" inch flagship plasma) for $3k. I can barely go back to my old lcd tv because I notice the lack of details in the blacks and the lack of screen uniformity and motion blur. Go plasma until OLED are made to last and are affordable. You can't really tell the difference between 4k and 1080p on a tv that size, unless your closer than 7 feet or so anyways.


The 8500 is the leading TV at moment - wish those Panasonic ST and VT60s were still around. Hopefully Samsung releases an updated version sometime later this year. I'm also waiting on the Vizio R and P to come out. They should have great picture quality and also be great values.


Yeah I heard good things about the Pannys, but the 8500 is blowing me away. I just can't get over how good the picture is! I can't believe how far Vizio has come. I remember when they were just a crappy Walmart brand haha.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:46 am

Hopefully the one thing that's clear from this thread explosion is that 4K is a long way off being "easy".

At the moment 4K is a laundry list of competing standards, usage caveats, high prices and limited choices.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:57 am

Chrispy_ wrote:Hopefully the one thing that's clear from this thread explosion is that 4K is a long way off being "easy".

At the moment 4K is a laundry list of competing standards, usage caveats, high prices and limited choices.


Oh, that's what this is all about :P

I knew it was, I was just trying to figure out if somehow using an HTPC made the task easier rather than just as complicated, but in a different way.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:25 pm

Definitely HTPC because you can workaround many of the early-adopter teething-issues in software!

If you're trying to get 4K devices to work then you're a braver man than I. Your only hope is that the manufacturer accepts responsibility and fixes in an eventual firmware update. At the moment there's a lot of finger-pointing between manufacturers rather than fixing - at least from what I follow on AVForums. I've been put off even looking at 4K screens by those poor victims who are finding issues in places you wouldn't even have thought issues possible.
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Re: 4K video using HTPC

Postposted on Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:16 am

diesavagenation wrote: Go plasma until OLED are made to last and are affordable.
Is $12K "affordable"?
http://news.yahoo.com/lg-bets-pricey-ol ... 36835.html
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