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Discussion on Article:
The Kings of Multimedia Playback: Contemporary HTPC Graphics Cards Reviewed

Started by: CSMR | Date 07/01/10 02:58:09 AM
Comments: 16 | Last Comment:  02/29/12 11:36:15 AM

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Mystifying article. 3 years ago, for an HTPC you needed a discrete graphics card. Nowadays integrated graphics is more than adequate for video. To justify discrete cards, the manufacturers claim they differ not just in speed and API support but also in quality of output?

If there is any difference between output of graphics hardware, this must result from bugs. One or other card must not be displaying what the software is telling it to. (Assuming they support the same DirectX/other API version.) The right way to present the results would be a bug list, not graphs of "quality".

When "quality" includes something like "HD noise reduction" and "skin tone correction" you know you are being scammed. (These have a valid function in editing, not playback.) The main current problem with quality of playback is lack of color management. Again, this is not a hardware/driver issue but needs to be fixed by improving software and graphics APIs. Same goes for frame rate interactions. (Upscaling is unproblematic.)
0 0 [Posted by: CSMR  | Date: 07/01/10 02:58:09 AM]

How can bluray have different quality output, at least if you are watching on a full HD TV (which most bluray will be viewed on)?
It's compressed 1080p - all the video card should do is decompress and send the exact stream of bits it gets to the TV which will display it with no scaling.

It doesn't need to anything fancy at all?

Obviously the quality of the TV will effect the accuracy of the colours and the deepness of the blacks, but that's got nothing to do with the video card that's down the to the TV and how it's set-up.
0 0 [Posted by: Dribble  | Date: 07/01/10 03:10:34 AM]
- collapse thread

There are different Blu-ray discs available on the market. Some examples:

- "28 Days Later" was shot on Canon XL1 camera, which means that even the source is not HD. Which is why upconvertion is still something required even for Blu-ray.
- "28 Weeks Later" features loads of noise and its removal is rather crucial.
- "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" needs detail enhancements.
- "Sherclock Holmes" needs very advanced colour management/skin tone correction.

As a result, there is definitely a need for proper processing of Blu-ray movies.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 07/02/10 11:28:32 AM]
You are saying that some movies are badly mastered and need to be re-edited by the user. There is no reason for playback software to do this: playback is playback, not editing.

Color management on the other hand (i.e. conversion between source and display color profiles) is a valid part of playback, essential even for correct playback, but it isn't present on current software AFAIK.
0 0 [Posted by: CSMR  | Date: 07/03/10 02:52:15 AM]
"Sherclock Holmes" is not, by any definition, a badly mastered movie. It only seems to need proper hardware.

At least, they advertise it [color management ]. As mentioned in the article, skin tone correction has improved on some of ATI GPUs.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 07/03/10 04:09:08 AM]
Color management does not include "skin tone correction". Skin tone correction implies that the person mastering the disk got it wrong. In general this will be because the user has different aesthetic preference from the director/masterer. The user is welcome to change the film to something he prefers visually, but this is editing, not playback, and is really creating a new film.

A color profile is a component of a media file, and correct playback involves transforming into the color profile of the monitor. To my knowledge no video playback software is properly color managed (and I follow the AVS PC forum where they are very interested in this). (Although there are some partial hacks.) Anyway, this is a software/OS/API issue, not hardware; the hardware will support the APIs when they are there.

A photographer will typically be annoyed that people looking at his photos online do not get the right colors (lack of color management) but would be equally annoyed if their software tried to "improve" his skin colors which he has already chosen to be just as he wants them. I am sure the same goes for a movie producer.
0 0 [Posted by: CSMR  | Date: 07/03/10 10:51:18 AM]
I do understand that the general balance is indeed set by the director/director of photography/etc, but given the poor color management in general, I believe that skin tone correction may have an impact on the general quality. Probably, I should do a re-check one of these days.

Thanks for your comments!
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 07/09/10 01:21:22 PM]

interesting, but aren't pretty much all 3D cards with more than 32 or over 64 pixel processors and with more than 256MB of at least DDR2 RAM with DX9 support at least the contemporary playback/multimedia cards? say Geforce FX9600 GT the minimum towards GTX 260?
0 0 [Posted by: mike1101  | Date: 07/02/10 04:35:30 AM]
- collapse thread

DirectX 9 graphics cards do not support hardware decoding and post-processing of MPEG4 AVC (H.264), MPEG4 MVC, VC-1 streams.

Only GPUs launched in 2008 - 2010 timeframe support simultaneous hardware decoding of HD+SD streams for picture-in-picture featurettes.

Finally, different GPUs provide different image quality results, which is why we use HQV benchmarks.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 07/02/10 11:46:48 AM]


Is this a HQV advertiesement? Seriously... Blue-ray is just plain decompression... GT210 is same and good as as any other "new" card... Upscaling and stuffz like that are done at the mastering... noise and other things are all part of the "ART", and should not be questioned, or just fine-tuned privatly since its a matter of subjective opinion.... I dont understand this review
0 0 [Posted by: Csaba  | Date: 07/03/10 03:43:01 AM]
- collapse thread

You are not exactly correct. Check out the comments above. There are different movies and at least some of them need proper hardware.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 07/03/10 04:11:33 AM]
yea, and there are movies out there that even the newest card wont play back right.. All I'm saying that any of the cards above hooked up digitally to a good and well calibrated 24fps capable HDTV will produce the very same picture when playing back a blue-ray disk. I didn't found anything in the comments above, except the skin-tone correction, which is not enough to cover the review, on the other hand, I just checked Sherlock with my ion and an ati card, and I see no difference at all. Did you check this, please confirm that I'm doing something wrong.
0 0 [Posted by: Csaba  | Date: 07/04/10 03:14:20 PM]

The ATI 5570 is the real champ here! Just check the power requirements! ))
0 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 07/04/10 02:54:47 AM]

pretty much any decent current/standard or average 3D card that supports all formats, output signals, ports and apps is a good playback 3D card.
0 0 [Posted by: mike1101  | Date: 07/05/10 12:26:19 AM]

How does one get the Nvidia cards to detect HDTV's? Google "Nvidia detect tv" to see the problem isn't isolated.
0 0 [Posted by: esadyl  | Date: 05/27/11 10:54:17 AM]

This is my computer:

I recently upgraded the RAM memory to its full 32 bit capacity

Since upgrading to Photoshop CS5 it would seem that I could use a better and more powerful video graphics card.

Please help me to find the very best QUIET one for my particular computer. I don't play games on the computer.


0 0 [Posted by: SamSolaris  | Date: 02/29/12 11:36:15 AM]


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