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Sha-raan
1 Nickel

Which Desktop to buy to watch movies & TV shows on 4k TV ?

Good afternoon to the PRO's of the community,

I have Sony XBR 900E tv which has 4K Ultra HD Resolution + HDR + Motion Enhancer to Native 120 HZ with 4k upscaling.

I want to buy a Desktop , purely to download to-rrent movies and shows in 1080p or 2160p. And then directly play them on TV so basically just want a powerful future proof entertainment Desktop for TV content.

I download TV shows in 1080p because they barely look any different from 2160p due to Sony's 4k up scaling.

Please advise minimum requirements for desktop to watch 4k content on TV

Processor- looking to choose from 8th gen i5-8400 or i7-8700

RAM - looking to choose 8 GB DDR4 2666 MHz

Graphic Card to watch 4k content smoothly on TV through desktop - PLEASE ADVISE which out of the 3 following graphic cards to get.

NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 1030 with 2GB GDDR5

NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050Ti with 4GB GDDR5

NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5

Hard Drive - Surely want 512GB PCIe x4 SSD

                                                             Or please advise a different configuration ???

I want to buy from DELL CANADA website , looking to be in ball park of $1400 - $1500 CAD

Also looking this desktop to be future proof and should handle alot of internet surfing and downloads.

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6 Replies
bell47g5a
2 Bronze

Re: Which Desktop to buy to watch movies & TV shows on 4

I'm no expert nor pro...

The first system that came up for me on Dell Canada's site was an Inspiron 3670 @ $799.99 but I think they were showing me US currency? So $1055 or so CA?

https://www.dell.com/en-ca/shop/desktops/inspiron-desktop/spd/inspiron-3670-desktop/di3670_btsb_s411...

I-5-8400

GTX 1050 2GB

8GB

1TB 7200 rpm

Windows 10 Home 64bit.

 

That system would/should have no problem pumping 4k HDR to your Sony.  All I would change in that system would be adding an m2 ssd.

Every graphics card you listed will handle 4K.

Right now Best Buy has a good list of 4k capable graphics cards.  Links disappear so google "bestbuy 4k graphics cards" and that page should come up in the first few results.

 

As far as "future proof"... in my opinion... never gonna happen... so buy the best you can afford now, and cross your fingers because I think they're coming out with the $36.99 Intel i-9000000 VR implantable system-on-a-chip sometime in 3rd Quarter 2019!!!!!!!! 

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AlienBlaster
1 Nickel

Re: Which Desktop to buy to watch movies & TV shows on 4

If you want to use GPU hardware decoding, one of the most important things is the supported codecs.

https://developer.nvidia.com/video-encode-decode-gpu-support-matrix

One important set of codecs is VP9 as it's the main one that YouTube uses. In the table you can see GP106 based GTX 1050 Ti (mostly mobile) and GTX 1060 don't support VP9 10 bit/12 bit. Your TV (X900E) has a 10-bit panel so you want to take advantage of that, not to mention that you want to be more future-proof.   

For none-gaming HTPC setup you generally want to go with the quietest and most energy-friendly parts. If there is a choice I would go with a GT 1030. You may also consider an aftermarket fan-less version which is easy and cheap to add. 

 

Sha-raan
1 Nickel

Re: Which Desktop to buy to watch movies & TV shows on 4

ALienBlaster - Thankyou for getting back,

You brought a very good question but i will need your advise on the answer too.

Sony XBR 900E has very great 4k  upscaling and even just playing 4k movies directly from USB.

But if i was to play movies from desktop on to tv, do you think its going to use sony processor to play the quality like it does from my laptop or should i switch it to GPU encoding ? Which would be better ?

ALso where did you find 900E has 10 bit panel ?

This is mentioned on sony website "Super Bit Mapping™ 4K HDR"- Super Bit Mapping™ 4K HDR creates a smoother, more natural picture by minimizing its colour banding. With 14-bit powerful signal processing, it breaks up the solid bands of colour of an 8-bit or 10-bit source, up-converting to 14-bit equivalent gradation, with 64 times more colour levels. It delivers graceful reproduction of faces, sunsets and other areas of subtle colour gradation"

Please advise because i am confused if the graphic card will have any affect on video output on tv or will it not ?

I surely just want a non gaming Home Theater  PC

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AlienBlaster
1 Nickel

Re: Which Desktop to buy to watch movies & TV shows on 4

You can find a 10-bit confirmation in the "Gradient" part on rtings here.
https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/sony/x900e


I will keep the following brief and you may want to read some background knowledge on your own.

If a program (e.g. TV or movie) is coded (using certain codecs) in 4K, then it doesn't matter for the picture quality whether you use software decoding (CPU) or hardware decoding (GPU) as the output is (mostly) identical and the transfer to TV through HDMI is lossless. I say "mostly" because programs and chips can still choose to mess with it on their own to make it "better", but usually the difference is small. Your Sony TV chip doesn't do any upscaling as it's not needed. The advantage of hardware decoding is that it is usually a light task for a GPU as it has a dedicated chip for it. It is faster, consumes less energy, and can release CPU of a relatively heavy burden so it can do other tasks at the same time. You can usually also set it up more cheaply as you don't need a powerful CPU.

This doesn't mean all 4K are created equal as it still depend on the compression algorithm and the codec settings. For example, most 4K Blu Ray disks uses H265 with conservative settings for better picture quality while YouTube and some Netflix programs uses VP9 with aggressive settings to save on bandwidth. 

If a program is coded in a resolution less than 4K, you usually have an option to choose where to upscale to 4K from its native resolution (say 1080p).  If you trust your Sony TV better, just turn off software/hardware upscaling on your PC and leave it to TV. If you cannot find such options, chances are your PC program cannot do it and again your TV will do it for you.

Tesla1856
6 Thallium

Re: Which Desktop to buy to watch movies & TV shows on 4

Yes, I still have my HTPC (see my pics) ... I mainly run Kodi on it. So, computer must be built to their "Recommended" system-requirements.

I'm also liking the Plex app on my Apple-TV (Plex Server is on Synology NAS).

However, if you are just wanting to watch streamed rented/purchased DRM-based movies and tv-shows (no local files)  ... I would just use the Sony-supplied NetFlix and Amazon-Video apps on the TV itself (no PC required).

 


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7 Plutonium

Re: Which Desktop to buy to watch movies & TV shows on 4

Your network speed will be relevant so I would go for a 100 meg FIOS setup minimum.  3840x2160 H.265 4:2:0,10-bit 40Mbps minimum recommended for ONE client only. 30 fps UHD service requires 40Mbps of bandwidth, and the upcoming 60 fps UHD service would require 80Mbps.

Note: movies are streamed with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio.

  • 1.0 - 2.3 Mbps for SD video
  • 2.3 - 4.5 Mbps for 720p video
  • 4.5 - 9.0 Mbps for HDX 1080p video
  • Over 40 Mbps for 4K HD movies

 

I would suggest an Area 51 system with GTX 1080TI

AW51R5-7951SLV-PUS

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/alienware-area-51-r5-aw51r5-7951slv-pus-gaming-desktop/8xjrd656rv9...

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/alienware-area-51-r5-desktop-intel-core-i7-16gb-memory-nvidia-geforce-g...

The 1080TI isn't the newest but its stable and has no issues with 4k video.

https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/products/10series/geforce-gtx-1080-ti/

A Bit less would be AREA 51 with GTX 1080  6th Gen Core I7.

https://www.amazon.com/Alienware-Signature-i7-6800K-802-11ac-Ethernet/dp/B07H3NWTB8/

I would NOT RECOMMEND an INSPIRON 3670 which is extremely limited in power and expand-ability.

 


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