NVIDIA PureVideo Technology
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What is PureVideo
NVIDIA Surges into High Quality Video
For as long as I can remember, one of the big stereotypes in the world of PC graphics cards was the assumption that ATI had better video image quality. To be quite honest, this wasn't stretching the truth; ATI has consistently been more interested in improving their video quality and video support as their All-in-Wonder line of cards clearly demonstrates. NVIDIA's Personal Cinema technology hasn't lived up to the same standards as ATI's AIW software.
Today NVIDIA is releasing a new entry into the video technology field with PureVideo. PureVideo is an attempt to bring new DVD decoding technology and acceleration to the masses as well as improved support for file-based videos as well. This means better quality and lower CPU utlization all-around, at least according to NVIDIA. We'll see how PureVideo with the 6600/6800 line stacks up to what ATI currently has for the X700/X800 line.
PureVideo combines several features in a new driver and software update including a much improved DVD Codec with support for new high definition DVD as well as updated video post-processing technologies to improve visual quality of various kinds of videos.
First up is the new NVIDIA DVD codec that claims to have improved performance, quality and usability.
NVIDIA DVD Codec Properties Window
Above is the properties window for the DVD decoder that is accessible only when an MPEG-2 file or a DVD is actively being played in Windows Media Player or another media application. This is actually the first issue I have with the new PureVideo technology, as the inability to adjust the settings before opening up an MPEG file means that if you want to change a setting, you are forced to load up a file, change the setting in the properties window, close the application and then reload the same or another MPEG file or DVD. Not all settings require a restart of the media player but many do.
This codec offers a lot more options than many users may be used to seeing. Being able to choose which deinterlacing mode the system is using is both positive for the advanced user and daunting for the basic consumer. But these are features that don't need to be adjusted, at least in theory.
Interlacing artifacts are caused by content that is sent over digital cable, satellite or DVD that are targeted for standard televisions. Two images are actually used to provide the full picture detail and then they are weaved (or interlaced) together. When this is done on higher resolution screens such as progressive scan TVs and PCs, feathering and distortion can occur along moving edges. De-interlacing is the process of removing those motion artifacts. Users that are familiar with anti-aliasing will no doubt recoginze the problem of "jaggies" in these scenarios as well.
Please keep in mind that the examples that we are going over here are provided by NVIDIA's technical documents.
Artifacts caused by interlacing
This image above demonstrates artifacts that can occur along high contrasting colors that are in motion. Notice that just like AA in our 3D applications, the farther the angle of contact is between vertical or horizontal, the more noticeable the artifacts become.
PureVideo corrected image
PureVideo's algorithms smooth out the artifacts to present a more suitable and accurate image.
Artfacts caused by angled edges in motion during interlacing
PureVideo corrected image
Again we see the NVIDIA PureVideo technology doing corrective work on the video to produce a smooth and more realistic line on the pendulum.