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Silicon Optix, a leading designer of chips for various video players, has officially launched its benchmark that allows to evaluate quality of high definition video processing by modern Blu-ray or HD DVD video players as well as contemporary graphics adapters. Unfortunately, the developer did not pay attention to the fact that to-date both new formats have used different codecs, which means different kind of video processing.

HD HQV benchmark users evaluate the picture quality of high-definition products, including displays, Blu-ray and HD DVD players, A/V receivers, projectors or computer graphics cards. The test disc is available in both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats for a manufacturer suggested retail price of $20.

The HD HQV benchmark includes tests for noise, video resolution loss, “jaggies,” and film resolution loss – all recorded in 1080i video. The resolution test is used to determine if a player or display properly deinterlaces 1080i sources, the most common format for video-based content seen on broadcast and cable networks’ HD programming.

“For the first time, consumers will be able to test the high-definition performance of their products to make sure they live up to the manufacturers’ claims. The HD HQV benchmark is a perfect companion to our very successful standard-definition HQV benchmark, which tests a product’s ability to upconvert standard-definition material,” said Jordan Du Val, Silicon Optix’s vice president of marketing.

But the huge difference between Silicon Optix’s HQV and HD HQV benchmarks is that while DVD uses MPEG2 codec only, the new movies on Blu-ray and HD DVD media use H.264, MPEG2 HD and VC-1 codecs, which means that various solutions process video streams differently and may output different quality. As a consequence, some players may demonstrate excellent results when it comes to H.264, but have problems with VC-1. For example, currently ATI Catalyst drivers do not offload VC-1 video processing from microprocessor to graphics card, whereas Nvidia ForceWare drivers fully support the capability, which essentially means that it is impossible to watch certain HD DVDs on systems powered by ATI Radeon graphics cards.

Video processors from Silicon Optix are used in products from top tier manufacturers, such as Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Denon, Onkyo, Samsung, and Syntax.

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