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Old 04-30-2012, 05:23 PM   #21
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It's going to be more difficult to find something with component outputs, after HDCP caught on, Component outputs pretty much went the way of the Sony Beta.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:25 PM   #22
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It's going to be more difficult to find something with component outputs, after HDCP caught on, Component outputs pretty much went the way of the Sony Beta.
Yeah, I'm finding that out as I look through the selection of available units.

All of them still seem to offer composite (?!?) but none with component. What the heck is up with that?

The WD box is looking like the answer.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:51 PM   #23
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composite is analog, component is digital. HDMI carries the same video signal as component, but HDMI can be secured with HDCP. Component cannot be secured. The media industry has decided that it doesn't want to make it possible for you to play their hi-definition content over unsecured connections, and as such, the labels decided that they weren't going to support hi-definition playback through unsecured methods. As a result, labels began adopting the HDCP standard for their blu-ray disks. An HDCP blu-ray will only work in an HDCP Compliant blu-ray player, and an HDCP Blu-ray player will only output video to an HDCP compliant TV. (Here's a trick, connect an old computer monitor to your computer video card, then load up a blu-ray video into your computer and try to play it on the old monitor - guess what: not only will the video not work, but chances are, your monitor will display something along the lines of "display does not support secure content".

Not only are blu-ray movies affected; PS3 content, PC games, your cable box, and even your satellite TV reciever are HDCP compliant if they output to HDMI. Chances are: if they also output to component, you're only getting a 720 signal through the component connection...at best.

How does HDCP work?
Companies that want to produce HDCP compatible displays get the little security box and are given a code from the HDCP standards people for their little box. The display output (the blu-ray player/cable box/video card/etc.) pings the display for its model-unique code on connection. If the display returns a valid code, the player then begins streaming video signal to the display. If at any time the connection is broken, the output will wait until it again receives a valid HDCP code from another display.

To get valid HDCP codes, a manufacturer has to follow certain rules, such as: all HDCP capable devices must frustrate attempts to hack the encrypted signal. In addition, the HDCP Standards people have the ability to issue revocations on their HDCP security codes if they find that a manufacturer isn't following the guidelines. Basically all new blu-ray disks have a "disable code" sector, and if you're a rogue manufacturer your device's codes will get applied to the disable code sector. Once a device reads the disable code, it will add that code to it's "do not play" list, and all displays with that HDCP code will no longer work with the player. (I also believe that the player will send a sort of "self-destruct" signal to the display, permanently rendering it useless for HDCP playback, but don't quote me on that)

This makes media labels happy, because you can't copy their hi-definition content and share it across the internet (or so they want you to think - fukcing retards).

Side note: Devices which can record content cannot receive HDCP signals. Secondary note: your home DVR does not actually recieve an HDCP signal - it recieves a signal which is scrambled by your provider, and then stored (under a different type of encryption) to an internal hard drive. The HDCP encryption only ever happens when your receiver *outputs* the video. The same can be said for the Playstation 3 - though people who have worked a lot with PS3 components know that the PS3 used to have an unencrypted hard drive, which was then encrypted specific to the PS3s serial number through a system update - again this was done for copy protection.

So: no recording your favorite TV series onto computer hard drive/BD-R disks for future playback - you can record them to your DVR, and then when your DVR is full, you can delete them - that's all the recording capacity you get.

How do you get around these problems?
As you can tell, I've reasearched the issue at least a little bit, and I've only found one solution to the problem, though I haven't found that I needed to buy one. I won't go into details, but you can read more here:

Buy an HDFury III
www.hdfury.com

In further news, sometime in 2010/2011, someone cracked the algorythm for HDCP codes; basically, this means that they could come up with HDCP codes and create HDCP compliant recorders/strippers to the masses. The HDCP revocation method provides a "feel-good" to the media, but there are two easy workarounds to HDCP Revocation: 1: if you can come up with your own HDCP codes, then you can assign a unique HDCP code to every single serial number, which would make it completely impossible for the HDCP people to do anything about it. (Manufacturers are generally granted only one HDCP code for an entire model line, or multiple models within the same family, which means that one or few HDCP revocations would normally be all that is needed to eliminate rogue devices)

The second option, of course, is to ID the HDCP code found in a popular manufacturer's displays. If, for instance, I grabbed an LG-owned HDCP code and provided recording devices with LGs code, the HDCP people would have 2 options:
1. Do nothing. To the masses, "doing nothing" won't make a difference.
2. Revoke LGs HDCP code. LG didn't do anything wrong, so it wouldn't make sense to punish them; furthermore, it would completely undermine the legitimacy of HDCP, as tens of thousands of consumers would have expensive TVs which just stopped working, at no fault of their own or their manufacturer. Consumers would probably band together, get with lawmakers, and make HDCP (or revokation) illegal. For the HDCP people, this is the end of their careers.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:04 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by fooger03 View Post
component is digital.
No, it is not.

Component video, in the purest sense, simply means that the three primary color signals (or some mathematical derivation thereof) are carried separately, rather than being modulated together on a carrier, thus preserving their fidelity and preventing color artifacts (eg, dot-crawl) which invariably occur with phase-modulated composite color.

There are two common forms of discrete component video interface in wide use today. Most of us are familiar with the first one by a different name: VGA. This standard was predominant in computing from the early 1990s until just very recently, having been superseded by a combination of DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort, and other digital technologies. In the VGA system, red, green and blue are represented by analog voltages carried on three separate wires, where each voltage corresponds directly to the intensity of that particular color for whichever pixel is being scanned at any given instant. Horizontal and vertical sync are carried on two other wires.

Within the domain of "consumer video" (eg, television, home theater), the phrase Component Video usually refers to an analog standard defined by CEA-770.3, in which the three discrete wires are used, which represent Y(Luma, or total brightness), PB (B-Y, or the difference between Luma and Blue) and PR (R-Y, or the difference between Luma and Red.) Sync is achieved by out-of-bounds voltages overlaid on the Y wire during the blanking intervals, when it is not being used to carry valid video information. (This is similar to the Sync-on-Green RGB systems used by SGI and Sun.)

This system is slightly more complex than pure RGB, however it has the advantage of decreasing the total bandwidth required to carry the signal as compared to a pure RGB stream of the same resolution and fidelity, while still achieving complete color separation at the far end. It is, in essence, a form of lossless analog compression, which dates back to 1982 and the release of Sony's professional-grade Betacam videocassette standard.


Now, it is certainly possible to use a component encoding process in any digital carrier to achieve the same bandwidth economy as described above, and for the same reasons. Such schemes are typically referred to as YCBCR to distinguish them from their analog counterpart, and they represent only one of many possible encoding schemes which can be utilized within any common digital interface. More importantly, however, the term "Component Video" is almost never used within the consumer marketplace to refer to any digital interface, regardless of the content of the data which it is carrying, as unlike the analog standard known as "Component Video", in the digital domain it does not describe any specific physical interface.




Quote:
HDMI carries the same video signal as component,
No, it does not. An HDMI interface carries a stream of ones and zeroes. A component video interface carries three discrete analog signals.



Quote:
but HDMI can be secured with HDCP.
Any digital video stream, including a TCP/IP stream, can be secured with HDCP.



Quote:
Buy an HDFury III
www.hdfury.com
Seriously? It's a $250 box that converts HDMI to component. And I'd still need to come up with an HDMI stream to feed into it. There are far simpler (and cheaper) solutions available.




So, that's one enthusiastic vote for a box which I can't get in the states, one enthusiastic vote for the WD box, and one extremely enthusiastic vote for a solution which is irrelevant to my needs.

Leaning in the WD direction.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:51 AM   #25
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I find my Roku 2 pretty good for the price of 50 bucks... HMDI, wireless, 1080p and pretty reliable.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:23 AM   #26
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Have you tried something like Tversity instead of WMP?

Tversity "knows" what your box supports natively and will stream it the same as WMP. It will also demux/transcode if necessary. I've used it to watch 1080P mkv files without issue on my PS3. Only drawback would be the PC running the Tversity has to be somewhat capable to transcode large files.

Might be worth a try since it's free. . .
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:48 AM   #27
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I find my Roku 2 pretty good for the price of 50 bucks... HMDI, wireless, 1080p and pretty reliable.
I like my Roku too, but it's not a network video player.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:12 AM   #28
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So I picked up the Western Digital player over the weekend. So far, I'm pretty happy with it. It's not perfect, but it does what I need.

Pros:
  • It seems to play everything. AVI, MP4, MKV... Apart from .TS files (which are essentially unplayable in general) I haven't found a single file that it can't digest. This is a massive improvement over the Xbox, and was my #1 selection criteria. So Mission Accomplished on that.
  • Simplicity! No more having to dick around with Windows Media Player library sharing on the host PC. This box just drills right down into the file system of the media server PC and shows it to you as you'd expect: in a traditional file / folder view. Good bye WMP!
  • It can output Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS. The Xbox couldn't do this- everything got downsampled to Dolby Surround at best, despite the fact that I was using the optical output.
  • Audio / Video sync is perfect. The Xbox had a tendency to drift out of sync on certain files, mostly older, highly-compressed and poor quality Divx content. I ѕhit you not when I say that it sometimes got as far as 5-6 seconds out of sync. I haven't seen a single occurring of this yet with the new box, and I've been deliberately playing some of the older, crappier content that I have to test for this.
  • 720 / 1080 is no problem whatsoever. The Xbox would routinely stutter when playing back high-bitrate HD content. I've owned this TV for 12 years, and this is the first time I've been able to reliably play non-OTA HD content on it. It finally looks every bit as good as it did in the store demo back in 2000 when I bought it. (Now it really blows LCD / Plasma displays out of the water.)
  • It can reliably do FF / RW on any media. The Xbox was really flaky about this, particularly in RW- it would alternate between sticking in one spot for several seconds and then leaping backwards in massive chunks. With the WD, the video display is still quite choppy in RW, but the "scroll bar" (time counter) at the bottom of the screen operates smoothly and accurately at all speeds forwards and backwards.
  • It's quiet. Even without a hard drive, the fans in the Xbox were always audible. There are no fans in the WD box, and you have to literally press your ear against it to hear the hard drive. The media server itself (which is as quiet as I could make it) is louder than the WD box.


Cons:
  • The UI could be better. It's a bit sluggish to respond to keypresses, and it's harder to navigate the menus quickly as a result. In particular, scrolling through massive lists is a chore. With the Xbox, you could just hold down the "PgDn" button and it would rapidly scroll through folders containing hundreds of files, stopping the instant you released the button. With this, you have to hit the PgDn button over and over and over again, and because of the aforementioned lag, I sometimes overshoot by a page or two.
  • The remote is crap. Seriously, this was the best thing about the Xbox, and it's the worst thing about the WD. The buttons on the Xbox remote were wonderfully laid out, and were all different shapes and sizes and contours and orientations, such that it was easy to operate by feel alone. And it was backlit as well, just in case you couldn't find the button you were looking for. On the WD remote, the keys are all laid out in a square grid, they're all perfectly flat, and they are all roughly the same shape and size. Difficult to operate by feel alone, and it's not backlit either. They could have at least put a raised bump on the play / pause button to distinguish it from the "Stop and immediately exit to the main menu" button that's right above to it.
  • It contains a hard drive. Ok, it's a minor gripe, but seriously, why does it need to have a hard drive in it? If it were a big hard drive then maybe I could de-commission my media server PC and use it exclusively, but it's only 1 TB, so it's pretty much useless.
  • Certain of the software features are a tad wacky. Like the "Sync to Network" function, which was enabled by default. As soon as I configured it on the network and pointed it to the shared volume on the media server PC, it immediately started copying the entire contents of the media server's media drive onto itself. Stopping this process, clearing the data, and disabling the feature required a bit of searching through the manual. I'd think that, by default, the "fill myself entirely to capacity with duplicate copies of data that already exists on the dedicated server that is standing six inches away form me" option should be disabled.


All in all, I'm pretty happy. Until my trusty ole' triple-CRT projector finally ѕhits the bed and forces me to downgrade to a modern TV with an HDMI / VGA input, I do believe that this box will do nicely.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:08 PM   #29
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now that Joe is satisfied and has his analog YPbPr solution, what would you all recommend for the same device for a TV that can use HDMI?

The WD is still interesting since it has the ability to send video out to other monitors.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:14 PM   #30
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See my post.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:28 PM   #31
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now that Joe is satisfied and has his analog YPbPr solution, what would you all recommend for the same device for a TV that can use HDMI?
Well, if you have HDMI I'd certainly recommend the cheaper of the WD units as opposed to the one I have, presuming that you don't need the 1TB internal drive. That and the Component out seems to be the only difference, and I consider the hard drive to be a liability rather than a benefit.

Based on the sluggishness of the UI and the crappy remote, I have a hard time believing that the WD is the absolute best solution available, although I'm far from dis-satisfied with it. It simply happened to be the best one I would find which had Component out.


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The WD is still interesting since it has the ability to send video out to other monitors.
Huh?
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:20 PM   #32
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Huh?
oh
my bad
it streams to DNLA devices. and so does my NAS.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:34 PM   #33
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just learned that this thing does TUNE IN radio.

Can you check if it will play "SOMA FM Indie Pop Rocks" station, Joe? That may solidify that it is the box to go with.

Also I see there are hacked firmwares out there for it. Nerds.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:00 AM   #34
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TL;DR

Just picked up a WD TV Live for $99 new (non refurb) and it does everything. Plays 1080p mkv dts files was the biggest want and it does it over wireless from my slow nas with only about 3 sec of dead air before play back starts.

Gf says get a apple 2 and jail brake it.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:48 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by y8s View Post
just learned that this thing does TUNE IN radio.

Can you check if it will play "SOMA FM Indie Pop Rocks" station, Joe? That may solidify that it is the box to go with.
It shows up in the list, though for some reason I'm not getting any audio on that channel. Not sure if I'm doing it right.

You really should be listening to a local radio station, though. This internet radio thing is just a part of the international communist conspiracy designed to sap and impurify your precious bodily fluids.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff_man View Post
Just picked up a WD TV Live for $99 new (non refurb) and it does everything. Plays 1080p mkv dts files was the biggest want and it does it over wireless from my slow nas with only about 3 sec of dead air before play back starts.
Yeah, all in all I'm pretty happy with mine.

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Gf says get a apple 2 and jail brake it.
AppleTV hath not component video output. This is most failing.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:04 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
It shows up in the list, though for some reason I'm not getting any audio on that channel. Not sure if I'm doing it right.

You really should be listening to a local radio station, though. This internet radio thing is just a part of the international communist conspiracy designed to sap and impurify your precious bodily fluids.
The station is formerly local and run by a close friend of my sister.

I remain impure.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:30 PM   #37
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I meant to re-check this last night, but I got hung up fiddling with the fitment of the new rear wheel to the chassis. It's rubbing the brake caliper, so I've got a bit of light fabrication to do.

While I was working on this in the living room, I was watching an old Modern Marvels show about the evolution of modern candy production. Fascinating stuff (seriously.) Still quite happy with the WD box, and I finally figured out a trick with the remote. There is one button on it (the "enter" button in the middle of the d-pad section) which has a different tactile presentation from all the others- its surface is slightly domed, and thus it can be used as a "home" button to determine the relative positions of the other common buttons. Play/pause, for instance, is two above the home key, and then RW & FF are immediately to the left and right of that.

And you're still a communist bastard.
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