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Video Playback Quality

The HQV benchmarks from Silicon Optix are one of the very few available methods of evaluating the playback quality of Blu-ray, DVD and HD DVD movies. They have one drawback, however. The tester’s perception is subjective while the notion of an ideal picture is rather vague. Results may also vary depending on what versions of drivers and software you use. So, considering the subjective nature of this test, you should not view the HQV and HQV HD results as the ultimate truth.

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Although DVD is becoming obsolete, not all modern GPUs can decode it with ideal quality.

The Nvidia GeForce GT 220 turns in a good score of 104 points. It has problems with antialiasing and artifacts resulting from noise suppression algorithms. The jaggies are not conspicuous, and the noise suppression and level of detail can be adjusted. Thus, the DVD playback quality of the GT 220 is high, although a bit lower than that of its direct opponent ATI Radeon HD 4600.

The GeForce 210, the junior DirectX 10.1 product from Nvidia, has a score of 50 points which is the lowest we have ever had in our practice of using HQV. The new GPU produces a jagged image in every test and delivers other types of image artifacts. We only hope that the next driver update will teach the GeForce 210 to correctly process video streams.

Standard-resolution video is dying out. Web services like YouTube already provide the option of watching video at 1280x720 whereas popular TV channels are already broadcasting or going to broadcast in HD. HTPC users are going to have Full-HD TV-sets with a resolution of 1920x1080. As a result, it is highly important to ensure high-quality playback of high-definition video.

As you know from our tests, nearly every top-end graphics card boasts exceptional quality of HD video playback (considering the problems with HQV HD + Windows 7 + CyberLink PowerDVD 8/9, we use data from other reports).

The Nvidia GeForce GT 220 scores the maximum amount of points in HQV HD, being about as good as the ATI Radeon HD 4600/4700 and even outperforming the new ATI Radeon HD 5700. The GeForce GT 220 is not ideal, though. We noticed some artifacts in the mast in the HD noise reduction test while the bottom bar in the jaggies test had a barely visible jagged pattern.

Like in HQV test, the Nvidia GeForce 210 has very low results in HQV HD. In fact, the 210 model can only compete with Intel’s GMA 4500/GMA 4500 HD.

Note that we are pretty liberal about the Film Resolution Loss Test - Stadium. Some GPUs, including the GeForce GT 220, that receive 10 points for that test had absolutely no moiré but had some slight flickering. It was barely noticeable in most cases, but if you feel like fault-finding, you should subtract these 10 points from the total score because, according to the HQV HD instructions, flickering means 0 points.

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