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HQV 2.0 Blu-Ray

The HD HQV benchmark version 2.0 in Blu-ray format provides the tools required to evaluate the picture quality of various high definition, 1080p-capable products. Like the HQV 2.0 DVD, the high-definition counterpart contains video tests and patterns that determine the quality of a product’s HD video signal processing. A set of five tests evaluate quality factors such as HD noise reduction, video and film resolution loss tests, as well a test for jaggies.

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The high-definition means more job for video processor, but it also mean that the initial quality of the material is high enough, which makes it harder to find artifacts. Either because of that, or because both ATI/AMD and Nvidia decided to tailor their graphics chips and drivers so to achieve maximum quality of HD video playback, but graphics chips generally achieve higher score in HQV 2.0 BD benchmark.

In any case, we can observe that the tested GPUs still seem to have problems reproducing video from different sources (multi-cadence set of videos), upscaling (interestingly, but the TC2 C2 – upscaled compression artifacts – test seems to have higher quality video than that on the HQV 2.0 DVD), skin tone correction and so on.

In June ATI announced that it had managed to improve its HQV 2.0 BD score with the Catalyst 10.6 driver, particularly due to better cadence detection and skin tone correction. However, based on our observations the improvements are moderate at best. Although ATI Radeon HD 5700/5600/5500-series graphics solutions offer the best quality of Blu-ray playback, they are not that far ahead of Nvidia’s GeForce GT 240 and are not even close to 210 points. The two outsiders are GeForce GT 220 and 210 with scores well below the leaders.

It is noteworthy that in case of both HQV 2.0 DVD and HQV 2.0 BD it is possible to tailor driver settings for different sequence of tests so that to maximize the final score and reveal the theoretical potential of modern graphics processors when it comes to video playback. Such approach is not endorsed by IDT and has little practical meaning. Movies contain loads of scenes shot at different locations with different lighting and hardware’s ability to tailor itself on-the-fly for different scenes is exactly what the benchmarks evaluate.

Looks like AMD and Nvidia need more time to implement the driver features necessary to improve the video processing quality. In any case, considering that some video processing capabilities depend on the graphics card driver and that the test suite is new, you should not view the HQV results as the ultimate truth, especially as there can be differences of opinion concerning the recommended evaluation procedures.

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