So what we'll do is this, I'll show you what you need to have installed in your PC, how to set everything up and then enjoy the fruits of benefit with this intriguing Media Player Classic HT software.
Minimum System recommendations
Depending on what you plan to do with your home theater based PC, the requirements can differ. If you can live with the GUI and will stick towards Media Player Classic, you won't need much of a PC at all.
We tested this software even on an NVIDIA ION mini-PC with Atom 230 processor and x.264 DXVA acceleration wise it works fine. To be a little future proof we do recommend the minimum hardware level to be a tad higher:
For graphics processing we need:
nVidia series 8*, (9)xxx and GTX or newer.
ATI Radeon HD series 3000 and 4000 or newer.
* some older models 8800 cards have the older VP1 (video processing) engine, the updated NVIDIA VP2 asic can decode bitstreams which is what we are after. Examples of VP1 would be 8800 GTS 320 and 640 MB. You will still be able to decode content, yet partly. The 8800 GTS 512MB en newer cards have the new VP2 engine, which will be 100% supported.
Let me show you some cheap examples of what would be very sufficient as a HTPC, if you wan to use MPC HT software.
As you can see the above example is a 150 USD configuration has an integrated Radeon chipset that works really well with Media player Classis when it comes to x.264 acceleration. However, if you like to run shaders like Image sharpening, we recommend a dedicated graphics card.
A passive NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT or Radeon 4650 would be very sufficient to handle additional image processing.
nForce 730 / GF9300 chipset based motherboard 120 (USD)
As you can see, an Intel configuration immediately boosts price a little. We end up spending roughly 220 USD for roughly the same features as the AMD offers. Again, if you like to run shader like Image sharpening, we recommend a dedicated graphics card. A passive NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT or Radeon 4650 would be more than enough to handle the additional image processing.
These examples are of course the lowest range, cheapest products to build a HTPC. Anything faster is recommended. But the gear mentioned above, will manage 1080P x.264 content, accelerated by Media Player Classic Home Cinema perfectly.
Now your question would be, what components would you use if you had some more cash to spend. Personally I'd opt an AMD 790 GX/FX based motherboard, 2 GB DDR 800 MHz and Phenom X3 720 processor (review here). Massive value for money. I would insert a dedicated graphics card though, just to be sure I could enable complex shader algorithms to enhance image quality. Something as simple as a Radeon 4650 or GeForce 9600 GT is fine really, but faster and newer is always better. The clock frequency on these products (important for the video processors) are high enough to process data + they have enough shader processors for post processing.
What do we need to do:
Download Media Player Classic Home Cinema (GPU accelerated) - click here.
Download and install the latest Direct X - click here
Make sure your graphics card drivers are up-to date.
Make sure you have a nice collection of x.264 / MKV content. Lots of trailers can be download on the web.
Windows XP or Windows Vista ?
Both operating systems work fine with Media Player Classic Home Cinema. We included both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions in our download. We do however feel that Windows Vista is the better OS to opt, it's also the OS we'll test on. In the MPC software we'll have to specifically setup the software in order to support either Windows XP or Vista.
Windows XP users, select Overlay Mixer, VMR7, VMR9 or VMR9 renderless
Vista users, select EVR or EVR custom renderer
But let's walk through the software setup, next page please.