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HDCP, HDMI, DVI, 1080p, And Other Definitions

Part 4: Avivo HD vs. PureVideo HD
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This is the latest in a series of Avivo vs. PureVideo articles, so some of the terms might justify re-explanation for those who are joining us fresh. For detailed definitions, we encourage the reader to check the other article links from the first page of this review.

HDCP

High-Definition Content Protection is an encryption scheme for 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, both 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 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 carry video information, but does not work for audio. If the hardware is compliant, it can also carry an HDCP signal.

1080p

This refers to the horizontal resolution of high-definition content, in this case 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. For reference, 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

This also refers to the horizontal resolution of the high-definition video signal; in this case the signal is 1280x720.

LPCM

Linear Pulse Code Modulation is an encoding digital audio method.

Video Codecs: H.264, VC-1, And MPEG2

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 onto a Blu-ray disk. There are three video codecs used in Blu-ray disks today: H.264, VC-1 and MPEG2. H.264 is the newest and most demanding codec to play back, but offers the best compression. The VC-1 and MPEG2 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 disk.

HDMI Outputs And Audio Controllers

Since HDMI is capable of carrying both video and audio information through a single cable, it has become important for video solutions to carry audio as well.

While the Radeon 3000-series pioneered an integrated audio processor for use with the HDMI output, they are limited to compressed 5.1 channel sound (like Regular Dolby Digital or DTS) or uncompressed 2-channel LPCM. These same limitations are found on the 780G chipset with the integrated Radeon 3200.

Nvidia upped the ante with its MCP78S chipset/GeForce 8200 by enabling the platform to support eight-channel uncompressed LCMP audio. The board fully supports TrueHD and DTS-HD uncompressed 7.1 surround sound as long as it’s decoded in software like PowerDVD. Because of this, audiophiles may find the GeForce board preferential, although some issues did occur during video testing that may detract from this appeal. More about that a bit later.

On a side note, the situation is reversed in the discrete video card market, where AMD’s 4000-series Radeons support eight-channel sound over HDMI, but the GeForce GTX 280 and 260 do not.

Display all 58 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    abzillah , September 29, 2008 7:31 AM
    Don't the 780G chips have hybrid technology? It would have been great to see what kind of performance difference it would make to add a discrete card with a 780G chip. Motherboards with integrated graphics cost about the same as those without integrated graphics, and so I would choose an integrated graphics + a discrete graphic card for hybrid performance.
  • 0 Hide
    liemfukliang , September 29, 2008 9:02 AM
    Wao, you should update this article part 5 in tuesday when NDA 9300 lift out. 9300 vs 790GX. Does this NVidia VGA also defect?
  • 3 Hide
    TheGreatGrapeApe , September 29, 2008 9:21 AM
    Nice job Don !
    Interesting seeing the theoretical HQV difference being a realistic nil due to playability (does image enhancement of a skipping image matter?)

    I'll be linking to this one again.

    Next round HD4K vs GTX vs GF9 integrated, complete with dual view decoding. >B~)
  • 0 Hide
    kingraven , September 29, 2008 9:57 AM
    Great article, specially liked the decrypted video benchmarks as I was indeed expecting a much higher difference.

    Also was expecting that the single core handled it better as I use a old laptop with pentium M 1500mhz & ATI 9600 as a HTPC and it plays nearly all HD media I trow at it smoothly (Including 1080P) trough ffdshow. Notice the files are usually Matroska or AVI and the codecs vary but usually are H264.

    I admit since its an old PC without blueray or HD-DVD I have no idea how the "real deal" would perform, probably as bad or worse as the article says :p 
  • 0 Hide
    modtech , September 29, 2008 10:39 AM
    A refreshingly informative article. Well done.
  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , September 29, 2008 10:51 AM
    I have a gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H m/b (780G)
    I just bought a Samsung LE46A656 TV and I have the following problem:

    When I connect the TV with standard VGA (D-SUB) cable,
    I can use Full HD (1920 X 1080) correctly.

    If I use the HDMI or DVI (with DVI-> HDMI adaptor) I can not use 1920 X 1080 correctly.
    The screen has black borders on all sides (about 3cm) and the picture is weird, like the monitor was not driven in its native resolution, but the 1920 X 1080 signal was compressed to the resolution that was visible on my TV.

    I also tried my old laptop (also ATI, x700) and had the same problem.
    I thought that my TV was defective but then I tried an old NVIDIA card I had and everything worked perfect!!!
    Full 1920 X 1080 with my HDMI input (with DVI-> HDMI adaptor).

    I don't know if this is a ATI driver problem or a general ATI hardware limitation,
    but I WILL NEVER BUY ATI AGAIN.
    They claim HDMI with full HD support. Well they are lying!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 29, 2008 11:24 AM
    That's funny, bit-tech had some rather different numbers for HQV tests for the 780g board.

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/03/04/amd_780g_integrated_graphics_chipset/10

    What's going on here? I assume bit-tech tweaked player settings to improve results, and you guys left everything at default?
  • 0 Hide
    puet , September 29, 2008 11:39 AM
    What about the image enhacements in the HQV test posible with a 780G and a Phenom procesor?, would this mix stand up in front of the discrete solution chosen?.
    This one could be an interesting part V in the articles series.
  • 8 Hide
    genored , September 29, 2008 12:12 PM
    azraelI have a gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H m/b (780G)I just bought a Samsung LE46A656 TV and I have the following problem:When I connect the TV with standard VGA (D-SUB) cable, I can use Full HD (1920 X 1080) correctly.If I use the HDMI or DVI (with DVI-> HDMI adaptor) I can not use 1920 X 1080 correctly. The screen has black borders on all sides (about 3cm) and the picture is weird, like the monitor was not driven in its native resolution, but the 1920 X 1080 signal was compressed to the resolution that was visible on my TV.I also tried my old laptop (also ATI, x700) and had the same problem.I thought that my TV was defective but then I tried an old NVIDIA card I had and everything worked perfect!!!Full 1920 X 1080 with my HDMI input (with DVI-> HDMI adaptor).I don't know if this is a ATI driver problem or a general ATI hardware limitation, but I WILL NEVER BUY ATI AGAIN.They claim HDMI with full HD support. Well they are lying!


    LEARN TO DOWNLOAD DRIVERS
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 29, 2008 1:45 PM
    Guys...I own this Gigabyte board. HDCP works over DVI because that's what I use at home. Albeit I go from DVI from the motherboard to HDMI on the TV (don't ask why, it's just the cable I had). I don't have ANYDVD so, I know that it works.

    As for the guy having issues with HDMI with the ATI 3200 onboard, dude, there were some problems with the initial BIOS. Update them, update your drivers and you won't have a problem. My brother has the same board too and he uses HDMI and it works just fine. Noob...
  • 0 Hide
    pogsnet , September 29, 2008 2:18 PM
    Yes I own GeForce 8300 IGP... I can confirm it does frame skips in just normal high quality DVD, i hate it... watching some stops... I test using ATI HD2600 external, wow it moves flawlessly and more vibrant, I regret my mobo, I should have bought ATI
  • 0 Hide
    Joe_The_Dragon , September 29, 2008 2:21 PM
    Why did not test the 780g and 790gx boards with side port ram?
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , September 29, 2008 2:32 PM
    remixmeThat's funny, bit-tech had some rather different numbers for HQV tests for the 780g board.http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2 [...]


    HQV is, unfortunately, somewhat subjective - but I don't know how they could have gotten these scores. Ati told me directly that their low-end cards won't provide any HD enhancements. That was some time ago, and bit-tech aren't a bunch of incompetents, so it's hard to say exactly what's causing the diffrence here.
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , September 29, 2008 2:35 PM
    puetWhat about the image enhacements in the HQV test posible with a 780G and a Phenom procesor?, would this mix stand up in front of the discrete solution chosen?.This one could be an interesting part V in the articles series.


    I don't believe the quality will change with faster processors - I tested a Phenom 9500 and didn't see any diffrence. But I'll run a proper test and let you know.
  • 1 Hide
    yottabit , September 29, 2008 2:38 PM
    "In this author’s opinion, motherboard manufacturers would much better serve their customers by offering an HDCP enabled DVI output with a DVI-to-HDMI adapter, instead of HDMI outputs."

    Wow. You seem to be REALLY missing the point here. The whole point of this is for HTCPs, and the nice thing about HDMI is that it can send both video and audio to your tv over the cable. If they had a DVI port on the motherboard and you had to use an HDMI adapter, you would have no sound. Doing it the other way around though ensures that people who use it for an HTCP like it is intended get their sound, and those who want to use a monitor buy a DVI adapter. You didn't even seem to mention or test the capabilities of sending audio over HDMI!

    I don't complain about my laptop not having a DVI out, and when I want to hook it up to my friends 32" HDTV all I have to do is plug in a simple HDMI cable. If I wanted to run and LCD at home I'd buy an adapter.
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , September 29, 2008 2:49 PM
    kingravenGreat article, specially liked the decrypted video benchmarks as I was indeed expecting a much higher difference.Also was expecting that the single core handled it better as I use a old laptop with pentium M 1500mhz & ATI 9600 as a HTPC and it plays nearly all HD media I trow at it smoothly (Including 1080P)


    I have found that even slow CPUs can playback H.264 AVI files; something's going on when playing back a blu-ray, probably the encryption. I was hoping the AnyDVD HD benchmarks would expose this but that's not what we saw. I'll be digging into it further in a future review for sure.
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , September 29, 2008 2:56 PM
    byusinger84Guys...I own this Gigabyte board. HDCP works over DVI because that's what I use at home. Albeit I go from DVI from the motherboard to HDMI on the TV (don't ask why, it's just the cable I had). I don't have ANYDVD so, I know that it works.


    That is really bizarre... are you sure it works? Have you played back protected Blu-ray or HD DVD's over the DVI cable?

    During my testing it didn't work at all, and then when I checked around I was led to understand HDCP wasn't supported on the DVI out of that board.
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , September 29, 2008 3:00 PM
    yottabitWow. You seem to be REALLY missing the point here. The whole point of this is for HTCPs, and the nice thing about HDMI is that it can send both video and audio to your tv over the cable. If they had a DVI port on the motherboard and you had to use an HDMI adapter, you would have no sound.


    Well, I'll disagree with you that these boards will ONLY be used for HTPCs, as I've stated I believe that these value-priced boards would be attractive to a whole lot of people with decent monitors who would like HD playback.

    As for sound, you can certainly play it back over the integrated sound chip instead of HDMI, so I don't think "you would have no sound." is an accurate discription.
  • 0 Hide
    Nossy , September 29, 2008 3:36 PM
    Would've been nice to see Intel's X1300HD included.
  • 0 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , September 29, 2008 4:09 PM
    CnQ on? Why not test 8450e as well? 8200 doesn't work well with Athlon 64 X2, but it seems to work better with Phenom. I don't have blu-ray so I can't confirm how it perform with Phenoms.
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