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There is a lot of literature on the net on playing HD videos but nothing which explains comprehensively, hence my question.

I have a PC with the following configuration

  1. 2GB RAM running 32 bit Windows 7
  2. Nvidia Geforce 9400 GT graphics card (1GB)
  3. 21" monitor ( Acer P225HQ, supporting a resolution of 1920 x 1080) connected to the PC via a VGA cable (the only possible input to the monitor is a VGA cable - it does not support HDMI, DVI or S-VIDEO input)

I want to download a 1080p (H.264, AAC Stereo) video sample from the internet and play it in my computer. My questions are -

  1. Will the VGA connection support HDMI playback? (I understand that VGA transmits analog signals whereas the file is a digital format)
  2. What is the role of the video card? Is video card support necessary to play the video or is it enough to have software (VLC player) which can interpret the video and audio codec?
  3. Does the monitor need to support HDMI? Will it look different in case I connect a monitor which supports 1080p (such a monitor usually has a HDMI port)?
  4. Any other hardware, codec or software I need to install for playing HD videos and watching it with the intended quality?
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There's no reason to download something that's higher resolution than your monitor. If your monitor can't display 1920x1080, does it really matter if it encode/decode that? – Rob Nov 1 '11 at 15:37
What are the specific model numbers of your graphics card and monitor? – music2myear Nov 1 '11 at 16:16
My graphics card is Nvidia Geforce 9400 GT and the monitor is Acer P225HQ. The monitor supports a resolution of 1920 x 1080, so does the video card so I don't think there should be a problem playing HD videos then based on your answers above. – Anindya Mozumdar Nov 1 '11 at 20:09
  1. Your VGA connection will support HDMI playback. It's a matter of your computer decoding whatever the HD file contains into the correct output display format. HD will depend on if your TV and video card is able to support a resolution at 1080p (or any other HD resolution).

  2. The video card will have to take the data from the player, and display it on the screen. So larger frames in the video will make the video card work harder. Programs like VLC may ask the video card for help too, to decode the HD video container.

  3. Your monitor does not need to have HDMI in order to support 1080p, 1920x1080 is a resolution, DVI and VGA can handle these resolutions as long as your monitor provides it.

  4. VLC contains all the necessary codecs in order to decode HD videos. Your hardware seems sufficient to decode these videos (though it may seem you lack some juice in your hardware). You have a 21'' monitor, depending, it may not support HD resolutions which are 1080 or 720.

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