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Video Playback Quality

The HQV 2.0 benchmarks from IDT – for standard definition and high-definition content – are our new tools for evaluation of video quality playback by contemporary graphics cards.


The HQV benchmark version 2.0 is designed not only for evaluation of DVD playback, but to discover ability of video processors to upconvert standard-definition footage to high-definition. The video clips and test patterns on this DVD, available in NTSC format, have been specifically designed to evaluate a variety of interlaced video signal processing tasks including decoding, de-interlacing, motion correction, noise reduction, film cadence detection, and detail enhancement. Even the designer itself gives advance notice that the ultimate quality of the images that displayed by the benchmark is limited by any, and all of these factors. As a result, only the rarest video processor inside certain HDTVs can handle all of these tasks successfully.

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When we first tried HDV 2.0 DVD benchmark several months ago we noticed that no graphics processors can achieve maximum score of 210. In fact, graphics chips merely get more than a half of that number. Knowing that modern graphics processors do not feature certain fixed-function functionality, like dedicated video processors do, they use their compute horsepower to perform certain functions and potentially the higher computing potential is, the better GPU can deal with quality enhancements of video streams. Still, even the power of modern graphics chips is not enough to compete against specialized video processors installed in expensive players and TV-sets.

Based on the results obtained, ATI Radeon HD 5700/5600/5500/4700/4600 as well as Nvidia GeForce GT 240 are the best solutions for playback of DVDs on large screens among modern graphics cards that can fit into HTPC. On the other hand, ATI Radeon HD 5400 and Nvidia GeForce GT 220 do not seem to handle DVD processing very well. The result of the GeForce 210 is a complete disappointment.

It should be also noted that a lot depends on the drivers of graphics boards and going forward the contemporary GPUs can learn how to better reduce noise, correct motion, detect film cadence and perform upconvertion of DVD content in general.

But even when upconverted, DVDs hardly look good on modern large screens. As a result, Blu-ray is gaining market share and it makes much more sense to ensure high-quality of Blu-ray content playback.

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