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Video Jargon Quick Reference

Blu-ray Done Right: How Does Your Integrated GPU Stack Up?
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This is the latest in a series of Avivo Versus PureVideo articles, so some of the terms might justify re-explanation for those who are joining us fresh. For detailed explanations, we encourage the reader to check the other articles: 

Avivo vs. PureVideo, Round 1: The Radeon X1000 vs. Geforce 7000 Generation

Avivo HD vs. PureVideo HD: What You Need to Know about High-Definition Video

Avivo HD vs. PureVideo HD Part 3: Mid-range and Low-end Card Performance

Part 4: Avivo HD vs. PureVideo HD

HDCP:

High-Definition Content Protection is an encryption scheme used by high-definition video to prevent the video data stream from being copied between the digital video output on your computer (DVI or HDMI) and your monitor. For it to work, the graphics card and the monitor must be HDCP-compliant. If both pieces are not compliant, the system will refuse to play the video.

HDMI

The High-Definition Multimedia Interface is a digital audio/video output option, used mostly with high-definition televisions. HDMI has the distinction of being able to carry both digital audio and digital video information at the same time. If the hardware is compliant, then it can carry an HDCP signal.

DVI

The Digital Video Interface is another digital video output option, used mostly with computer monitors. It is only designed to handle video, not audio. If the hardware is compliant, then it can also carry an HDCP signal.

1080p

Referring to the horizontal resolution of high-definition content, 1080p, in this case, represents 1920 vertical lines by 1080 horizontal lines. The “p” means that the signal is “progressive,” which indicates that all 1080 lines are broadcast at once. An “i” instead of a “p” means that the signal is “interlaced” and only shows half of the total horizontal lines of resolution at one time.

720p

Also referring to the horizontal resolution of high-definition content, 720p, in this case, represents a signal of 1280x720.

LPCM

Linear Pulse-Code Modulation is a method of encoding digital audio. This is currently the only way of transferring eight-channel digital audio over a graphics card's HDMI output, discrete or integrated.

Video Codecs – H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2

The term “codec” stands for “compression-decompression.” As high-definition video includes too much information to broadcast without compressing it, a codec must be used to fit movies on a Blu-ray disc. There are three video codecs used in Blu-ray discs today: H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2.

H.264 is the newest and most demanding codec to play back, but it offers the best compression. The VC-1 and MPEG-2 codecs are a lot easier for the hardware to decompress, so they require less processing power. But they also take up more space on the disc.

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  • 14 Hide
    HalfHuman , September 21, 2009 7:24 AM
    i don't get it why a home theater would use a 1200w power source. at the same time i don't get why would someone evaluate the power efficency using this kind of power sorce. if you ask me i'd make this crazy ass power supplies illegal. a normal hometheater should not use more than 50w at idle and 100-150w at load. seems that this is what these actually consume. factor in the less than 5% load on the power supply and you get a masterfull 50-60% power efficency. i'd love to see some proper power supply test.
  • 11 Hide
    HalfHuman , September 21, 2009 7:43 AM

    the 1200w power supply is green as in blue-green mould green.
    this is in fact an excellent power supply... if you use it. at 100watts load it has a "cool" 76% efficency. if the intel pc uses less than 82watts in load and 66watts in idle you can only imagine the efficency a power supply has at below 5% load. the site suggest around 65% so instead of having a proper power supply using 40watts or less when idle, you get this "green" efficient hummer who swollows 66w. i really like you articles guys but this kind of testing is not the way to go.
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    Proximon , September 21, 2009 6:38 AM
    Great article. I think maybe the 4650 is a bit overkill, but that's just nitpicking.

    As long as you are talking about HTPC builds though, you might want to mention temps... aren't the 9300/9400 boards very hot?
  • 0 Hide
    epsiloneri , September 21, 2009 6:42 AM
    Power draw is not interesting because of the electricity bill, it is the generated heat needed to be dissipated with the associated noise levels due to cooling that is critical for an HTPC.
  • 14 Hide
    HalfHuman , September 21, 2009 7:24 AM
    i don't get it why a home theater would use a 1200w power source. at the same time i don't get why would someone evaluate the power efficency using this kind of power sorce. if you ask me i'd make this crazy ass power supplies illegal. a normal hometheater should not use more than 50w at idle and 100-150w at load. seems that this is what these actually consume. factor in the less than 5% load on the power supply and you get a masterfull 50-60% power efficency. i'd love to see some proper power supply test.
  • 11 Hide
    HalfHuman , September 21, 2009 7:43 AM

    the 1200w power supply is green as in blue-green mould green.
    this is in fact an excellent power supply... if you use it. at 100watts load it has a "cool" 76% efficency. if the intel pc uses less than 82watts in load and 66watts in idle you can only imagine the efficency a power supply has at below 5% load. the site suggest around 65% so instead of having a proper power supply using 40watts or less when idle, you get this "green" efficient hummer who swollows 66w. i really like you articles guys but this kind of testing is not the way to go.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 21, 2009 9:14 AM
    Efficiency isn't even tested below 20% load i believe But it should still be around 70-80% it is a Thermaltake Toughpower 1200w and all of them(3 listed on their site) are standard 80% eff rated or bronze. Ture a more modest Delta,Seasonic 250w or 300w would be much more appropriate for a htpc.
  • -4 Hide
    HalfHuman , September 21, 2009 9:23 AM
    20% for this would be 240watts and efficency would still be reasonable.
    i posted some link but i see it's been removed. that review said something about 65% minimum.
  • 2 Hide
    drew_a , September 21, 2009 9:31 AM
    Uh, guys... you might want to edit this article...
    "For the last CPU utilization test, we will check the capability of these graphic chipsets to accelerate picture-in-picture (PIP) video streams. To do this, we will use the Blu-ray dick Sunshine, which utilizes the H.264 codec and features PIP commentary during playback."

    on page 6
  • 1 Hide
    icepick314 , September 21, 2009 2:00 PM
    "If you are an audiophile, you should know that out of these remaining options, only the GeForce 9300/9400 can handle uncompressed eight-channel LPCM audio over HDMI 1.3."

    i did NOT know this...

    i thought only way to listen to uncompressed audio on blu-ray was using Asus Xonar HDAV 1.3 audio card to bitstream to your receiver...

    it's nice to know that IGP has enough power to handle 1080p while streaming HD audio codec....
  • 0 Hide
    raptor550 , September 21, 2009 2:21 PM
    "To do this, we will use the Blu-ray dick Sunshine"
    I hate Blu-Ray dicks!

    Otherwise nice article. How about throwing in a GTX260 or other high powered card just for shits and giggles?
  • 0 Hide
    videoxprt , September 21, 2009 2:21 PM
    I've tried the HD version of HQV a few weeks ago on my G45 based HTPC (Asus P5Q-EM), with slightly different results.
    The Film Resolution Loss test actually works, almost perfectly. There is just a minor glitch at the beginning of each scene, that you can see only if you know what to look for.
    In fact, if the "Film Mode Detection" control is toggled in the middle of playback, I can see a significant improvement in image quality at runtime.
    I would actually give 90 points to G45, for the simply reason that the denoise is not as good as the GeForce - but still one of the best HTPCs in the market.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , September 21, 2009 2:25 PM
    I find this review to be problematic on several fronts.

    First of all, there is way too much emphasis given to de-interlacing tests. This is mostly an issue with standard-definition DVDs and with some HDTV channels. The VAST majority of Blu-Ray content is stored in 24p format (23.976 frames per second, progressive). It does not need to be de-interlaced at all because it originated on film. This is even true of many newer TV shows, which are often shot on film, not video.

    Rather than wasting time with obsolete de-interlacing tests, you should have tested stutter-free 24p playback with compatible TV sets. Most new LCD flat panels that run at a 120Hz refresh rate are capable of supporting smooth 24p playback with 5:5 pulldown. However, not all chipsets can send this out properly. There have been reports of problems with the Intel G45 and some other chipsets - stuttering on 24p playback has been an issue in the past. I would be interested to know if this has been fixed. Also, you should have tested whether the HDMI repeater function (needed for hooking up through an A/V receiver) works properly with all chipsets.
  • 0 Hide
    burnley14 , September 21, 2009 2:35 PM
    I'd love to see an update in this after the release of the integrated GPUs on the upcoming Clarkdale chips.
  • 0 Hide
    philosofool , September 21, 2009 4:15 PM
    I'm not really sure why anyone would even both spending money to build an HTPC and not spend the $40 for a Radeon 4350 or a 9400GT. They're passively cooled solutions that will easily outperform anything reviewed here today. It could even save you money because it would allow you to get a less expensive motherboard. Anyway, if you are serious about building an HTPC, it seems to me that one of these cards is just a no brainer. Why would you even risk blu ray stutter or graininess in your home theater?

    Anyway, I would really like to see a review of the 9400gt and hd 4350 as far as their effectiveness in video play back.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 21, 2009 5:09 PM
    I did not see any mention of what software was used to playback the blu-ray disks. I would like to see an article comparing various software options against a couple dedicated Blu-ray players.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 21, 2009 5:12 PM
    It would be nice next to the graphics card roundup, to see some articles about integrated graphics!

    Most people buy a mobo or laptop with integrated graphics card, and don't even bother to see how their performance could differ between AMD, intel, or an NVidia graphics powered mobo.

    I think it could really help the people who want to buy a new computer,eg: for work purposes, but would like to casually game on it, without suffering too horrible resolutions or lagging framerates.
    Ofcourse everyone serious about gaming would buy an additional graphics card to play their crysis, and I don't expect IGP's to run that game.
    But perhaps they are good for games like Tycoon, Formula 1, some basic 3rd and 1st person shooter games, etc...
  • -1 Hide
    cangelini , September 21, 2009 6:14 PM
    icepick314"If you are an audiophile, you should know that out of these remaining options, only the GeForce 9300/9400 can handle uncompressed eight-channel LPCM audio over HDMI 1.3."i did NOT know this...i thought only way to listen to uncompressed audio on blu-ray was using Asus Xonar HDAV 1.3 audio card to bitstream to your receiver...it's nice to know that IGP has enough power to handle 1080p while streaming HD audio codec....


    Actually, the ASUS card is used to bitstream those high-def audio codecs to your receiver, where they can be decoded (giving you 24-bit 192kHz, if the content offers it). If you're happy decoding the audio locally on the HTPC and sending the uncompressed LPCM (16-bit 48kHz) to your receiver, Nvidia's GeFOrce 9300 will do the trick!
    Regards,
    Chris
  • 2 Hide
    cleeve , September 21, 2009 8:44 PM
    HalfHumani don't get it why a home theater would use a 1200w power source.


    It wouldn't... It's a testbed. I don't think there's any recommendation for a 1200w PSU in the article.
  • 0 Hide
    Major7up , September 21, 2009 9:35 PM
    I still prefer the discrete card solution, I just feel better about my systems with em.
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