Have an Account? E-Mail Address Passcode
| Register Now
Want to watch HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs on your PC? Here is some help with picking the right video card.

Posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008 10:04 AM and updated on Wednesday, January 9th, 2008 4:49 PM

In addition to standalone players and game consoles for watching high definition HD DVD and Blu-ray discs, it's also possible to watch them on your PC using one of the available drives that play those formats. Some people have gone so far as building what are called Home Theater PC's (HTPC) that combine all their media needs into one machine.

If this idea interests you, one of the most important decisions to make is the video card you'll use in your system. Decoding and displaying HD is more difficult for your computer than playing a DVD, and you'll need the right combination of equipment to make the job easy and to get the best results possible. More than likely, you'll need a different video card, and a review has been published by technology site ars technica, comparing popular video cards based on ATI and nVidia chipsets.

nVidia GeForce 8800GT Video CardThe review found that CPU usage can be reduced from 44% to under 17% by using a video card with the right driver. They found that the ATI cards had a slight edge (between 2-8% less CPU usage) over the nVidia cards they tested. The scales shifted, though, when they tested the cards with broadcast 1080i material, so check out the article and see for yourself what they found.

Keep in mind that even with the right video card, it takes some horsepower in your PC to decode high definition material. The system they tested had a fairly recent and well-powered dual core Intel 3GHz E6850 processor, so their CPU numbers were much lower than if they had used a lower-powered processor.

If the topic of home theater PC's interests you, I recommend checking out the AVS Forum. Their "Home Theater Computers" section has quite a bit of information for people looking to build HTPC's using Windows, Mac OS, and even Linux (which is the system in running in a few standalone players). While building a home theater PC won't result in something quite as easy to use as a single-use, standalone player, it can provide you with much more flexibility and power.

Add Your Comments

Reader VoiceReader Comments

No comments found. Be the first and let us know what you think!

Add Your Comments

Warning: Please login
Commenting on Journal Articles is available only to our readers who have customized this site, which makes it easier for you to complete the form and for us to contact you with any questions or concerns about your comments.

Please login or register a new account before continuing.

Already Registered?

Log in to retrieve your saved settings.

E-Mail Address:
BigScreen Passcode:

Forget Your Passcode?

Send My Passcode To Me

Not Registered? Create a New Account!

E-Mail Address
In case we need to contact you. A valid E-Mail address is required, profiles with invalid addresses will be removed.
Please Confirm Your E-Mail Address
ZIP Code
This helps us display theaters that are near you.

Our registered members enjoy more features, including:

Basic accounts are free -- sign up today!

Concerned About Privacy?

So are we! We won't sell, trade, or share your personal information with anyone unless required by law. For more information, please read our Privacy Policy.

Home - About Us - Ad Info - Feedback
Journal/Blog - The Marquee - Movie Links - News and Events - Now Showing - Reader Reviews
Customize - VIP Service

The BigScreen Cinema Guide is a service of SVJ Designs LLC. All graphics, layout, and structure of this service (unless otherwise specified) are Copyright © 1995-2018, SVJ Designs. The BigScreen Cinema Guide is a trademark of SVJ Designs. All rights reserved.

'ACADEMY AWARDS®' and 'OSCAR®' are the registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Find Us on Facebook