Hercules Hardware MPEG Decompression Guide

Introduction

Thank you for buying a Hercules product!

Your new Terminator 64/Video came with our TMPEG2000 hardware MPEG decompression module. This guide contains the information you need to install the software necessary for the module's operation under the Windows 95 and Windows 3.1 operating systems.

If you've just opened the box and you haven't yet installed your new accelerator into your PC, you'll want to put this supplement aside for a moment and turn first to the main Installation Guide. It covers the installation instructions for your hardware and the main display drivers. Then, read this supplement for instructions for installing the special hardware MPEG decompression drivers.

What Does It Do?

The TMPEG2000 MPEG-1 decompression module performs the processor-intensive work of decompressing MPEG-1 video clips and VideoCD titles. It can greatly improve the quality of MPEG playback, giving you a smoother frame rate with less audio dropouts. Since it's performing most of the work involved in MPEG playback, it also frees up your computer's CPU to perform other tasks. So, if you like, you can run a Windows application and watch an MPEG video clip at the same time.

There are four steps for setting up your MPEG decompression module:

  1. If you're using Windows 95, you'll install the Microsoft DirectDraw and DirectVideo software we've provided. If you're using Windows 3.1, you'll install the runtime version of Video for Windows that we've provided.
  2. Next, you'll install the hardware MPEG driver.
  3. Next, you'll connect the MPEG decompression module's audio output to your sound card, speakers or stereo system
  4. lastly, you'll play an MPEG file to verify that everything is installed correctly.

Step 1: Install The Microsoft Software

If you're using Windows 95:

The first step is to install Microsoft's DirectDraw and DirectVideo software. DirectDraw and DirectVideo make your system more compatible with multimedia software and hardware add-ons. You may already have DirectX installed on your PC, but for best results, we recommend installing the copy we've provided.

  1. Start Windows 95.
  2. If you received your software on CD-ROM, execute the \DIRECTX\SETUP.EXE program on the CD-ROM. If you received your software on diskette, insert the diskette labeled "Microsoft DirectDraw/DirectVideo Runtime" and run the SETUP.EXE program on the diskette.
  3. The DirectX setup program will install a few files. We recommend that you restart Windows 95 after the setup program has completed.

If you're using Windows 3.1:

1. Start Windows 3.1.

2a. If you received your software on CD-ROM, you'll execute the setup program from the CD-ROM:

[CD-ROM drive]:\TERM\WIN31\T64VIDEO\VFW\SETUP.EXE

2b. If you received your software on diskette, insert the diskette labeled "Video for Windows Runtime" and run the SETUP.EXE program on the diskette.

3. The Video for Windows setup program will install a few files, and then ask you if you'd like to restart Windows. Select Yes.

Step 2: Install Our Hardware MPEG Driver

After Windows has restarted, you'll install the device driver that allows Windows to recognize your MPEG decompression module.

If you're using Windows 95:

1a. If you received your software on CD-ROM, you'll execute the setup program from the CD-ROM:

[CD-ROM drive]:\TERM\WIN95\MPEG\T64VIDEO\SETUP.EXE

1b. If you received your software on diskette, insert the diskette labeled "Windows 95 Hardware MPEG Driver" and run the SETUP.EXE program on the diskette. The hardware MPEG setup program will install a few files, and then ask you if you'd like to restart your PC. Again, select Yes.

If you're using Windows 3.1:

1a. If you received your software on CD-ROM, you'll execute the setup program from the CD-ROM:

[CD-ROM drive]:\TERM\WIN31\T64VIDEO\MPEG\SETUP.EXE

1b. If you received your software on diskette, insert the diskette labeled "Windows 3.1 Hardware MPEG Driver" and run the SETUP.EXE program on the diskette. The hardware MPEG setup program will install a few files, and then ask you if you'd like to restart your PC. Again, select Yes.

Note: If you're using either version of Windows, installing our hardware MPEG driver will override most software-based MPEG drivers, like the XingMPEG software that you've also received with your new Hercules product. This is okay - now that you have hardware MPEG decompression, you won't need to rely on software-based MPEG decompression any more - but if you need to revert to software-based decompression, reinstalling your software MPEG driver will override our hardware MPEG driver. You can switch back and forth between software and hardware MPEG decompression by reinstalling the appropriate driver.

Step 3: Connect The MPEG Decompression Module's Audio Output To Your Sound Card, Speakers or Stereo System

Important: we recommend that you turn your PC off before taking this step!

The audio portion of MPEG files comes from the MPEG decompression module's audio jack. This 1/8" audio jack is mounted on the bracket of the multimedia or 3D accelerator and puts out a line-level stereo signal.

If you already have a sound card in your PC, you can use the audio cable we've provided to route the output of the MPEG decompression module through your sound card and to your speakers. Insert one end of the cable into the audio jack on the MPEG decompression module, and insert the other end into the "line in" jack on the bracket of your sound card.

You may also attach a pair of amplified computer speakers to the MPEG decompression module; the output may also be sent to a stereo system with a suitable adapter cable (not included).

Step 4: Play An MPEG File

Next, you'll want to play one of your MPEG clips or VideoCDs to verify that the module is working correctly. If you don't have an MPEG file and you've received your software on CD-ROM, you'll find some in the \CLIPS\MPEG\ and the \XING\ directories. Before playing an MPEG file for the first time, we recommend that you turn down the volume control on your speakers or amplifier, just in case the default volume is too loud. Once you're viewing the file, turn up the volume to an acceptable level.

If you're using Windows 95:

The Video Player in our Hercules Entertainment Center™ multimedia control center may be used to play MPEG files. You'll find Hercules Entertainment Center in the Hercules PowerTools folder. Click on the Video Player to turn it on, then click on the "file open" button. Select "MpegVideo…" from the "List Files of Type" menu, and then navigate to a directory that contains an MPEG clip.

If you've routed the audio output of the MPEG decompression module to the line in jack of your sound card, you can use the Video Player's volume control to adjust the output level. Click on "Configure" in the Hercules Entertainment Center bookshelf, and then select the "Video" tab. Choose the option marked "Volume buttons control sound from sound card's external line-in jack."

You can also play MPEG files with the Media Player that's included with Windows 95. If you chose to install the multimedia tools when you installed Windows 95, you'll find it in Programs/Accessories/Multimedia. Select "MPEG…" from the "Device" menu, then use File/Open and choose an MPEG file. If you've routed the audio output of the MPEG decompression module to the line in jack of your sound card, you can adjust the playback volume with the Mixer in Hercules Entertainment Center, or with the "Volume Control" application in Programs/Accessories/Multimedia.

Please see Testing MPEG Playback, below, for more instructions.

If you're using Windows 3.1:

You can play MPEG files with Microsoft's Media Player application. The location of Media Player will vary depending on your Windows installation, but you'll probably find it in the Accessories program group. Launch Media Player, select "MPEG.." from the "Device" menu, then use File/Open and choose an MPEG file. If you've routed the audio output of the MPEG decompression module to the line in jack of your sound card, you can use your sound card's mixer software to adjust the playback volume.

Testing MPEG Playback

Once the MPEG file is playing, try expanding it to full-screen (if you're using the Video Player in Hercules Entertainment Center, you can do this quickly by double-clicking on the video screen to turn it into a window, then right-clicking on the window and selecting "full screen" from the floating menu). If everything's working correctly, you should be able to view your MPEG file at full screen size without degradation in audio quality or frame rate. Additionally, your Hercules accelerator is performing filtering and smoothing which improves image quality.

When you're operating your Terminator 64/Video at the limits of its performance by running your display at one of the higher resolutions, color palette sizes, or refresh rates, the Terminator's ability to process the video stream from the MPEG decompression module is reduced. When this happens, you may see distortion in the form of blocky pixels or "sparkles" on the video playback window. You can lessen this distortion by selecting a lower refresh rate, running at a lower resolution, or with a smaller color palette size.

If you encounter any problems, or if you have any questions, please contact us. We'll be glad to help you.

How To Reach Us

Here's how to contact Hercules:

We've set up a page on our Internet World Wide Web site just for Windows 95 users. It contains the latest information on Windows 95 drivers and utilities, as well as the answers to our most frequently asked questions, so you'll want to check it first before contacting us. The URL is:

https://web.archive.org/web/19980204023341/http://www.hercules.com/support/Win95/

We're on an aggressive Windows 95 development schedule, so if you have an Internet e-mail address, be sure to join one of our mailing lists to keep up on the latest news. Complete instructions for subscribing to this service are on our World Wide Web site, in our Installation Guide, and in the README.TXT file on the CD-ROM or Installation Diskette that came with your Hercules product.



Hercules Computer Technology, Inc. makes every effort to ensure that this document is accurate. However, because we are always striving to improve our products, we are unable to guarantee the accuracy of this document after the date of publication, and we disclaim liability for any changes, errors or omissions. No reproduction of this document, in any form, is allowed without the permission of Hercules Computer Technology, Inc.

Copyright © 1993-6, Hercules Computer Technology, Inc., 3839 Spinnaker Court, Fremont, CA 94538, 510-623-6030. Hercules is a registered trademark and Hercules Terminator and Hercules Entertainment Center are trademarks of Hercules Computer Technology, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners who are not associated with Hercules.

HERC-HWMPEG Ver. 1.0 3/96

See Also