Home Theater PC tutorial
We are going to tackle the wide subject of Home Theater PC with the aim of reading all types of videos (SD, HD, DivX, Xvid, h264, avi, MKV, DVD, Blu-ray...) with maximum quality and without spending a single penny. Indeed all softwares that we are going to use are free (except to read bluray because you must have an "unlocker" as AnyDVD HD) in contrast of PowerDVD, WinDVD or even TotalMedia Theater which, though, are more widely used. Icing on the cake is that the obtained quality will be better than of these softwares.
I will not detail all options of the software we will use only those required. You will see that's not bad. If you have any doubt about the options that are not addressed refer to the screenshot. Remember you can ask all the questions you want on the forum.
Recommended hardware requirements
A Windows PC powerful enough to decode HD (dualcore 2Ghz). If your CPU is not fast enough and you have a NVIDIA graphics card you can decode the video with the graphics card with CUDA. Else you can decode the video with any graphics card in DXVA but the quality will be lower
A flat panel TV or a projector HD Ready or HD Ready 1080p linked to HDMI or DVI or VGA to the home theater PC
5.1 home theater amplifier
The explanations for install the softwares can be found in the sections dedicated to these applications. There are 3 core software that we install :
ffdshow x86 - x64 : This is a video and audio decoder. It also allows postprocessing, ie apply filters to improve image. We will use it to decode the video and for audio management. We decode the audio with another program. We will discuss this later in the tutorial.
LAV Filters x86 - x64 : This is a pack containing a splitter and an audio/video decoder. A Splitter is a software that demultiplexes individual elementary streams of a media file, (e.g. audio, video, or subtitles) and sends them to their respective decoders. We will use the splitter and audio decoding capabilities of LAV Filters. In one specific case we can use the video decoder to use graphics card with CUDA.
Then depending on your choice of audio output you will have to install the necessary software :
madVR x86 : It's the best renderer currently. A renderer is software that will display the image on the screen. Its main advantage is its high quality. It can also switch between windowed mode to D3D Fullscreen (to have always access to the functionality of MPC-HC). It requires a relatively powerful graphic card.
Reclock x86 : This software is very clever, thanks to it everything will be perfect if your TV does not be set to the frequency of the video. Indeed it will change the framerate of the video to be set to the frequency of the screen to avoid stutters.
AutoFrequency x86 - x64 : This software allows you at the opening of a video to automatically change the frequency of your screen depending on the video, to launch MPC-HC and play the video. When you close the player AutoFrequency switch back to your usual frequency. No manipulation is required everything is automatic !
Should I download the 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) version ?
- If you're on Windows 32bits (x86), download 32bits (x86) versions of softwares.
- If you're on Windows 64bits (x64), 2 choices are available:
- If you use reclock or madVR you should download the 32bits (x86) software, even with Windows 64bits (x64) because these softs only exist in 32bits (x86).
- If you do not use reclock, or madVR, you can, but not an obligation, to download the softwares in 64 bits (x64).
You should know that there is almost no difference between 32 (x86) and 64bits (x64).
To install the softwares you have to select them according to the audio output and capabilities of your hardware.