Whither Avivo Video Converter?
Interestingly, ATI Avivo Video Converter is now an optional download, not part of the standard Catalyst package. As mentioned, no changes have been made to it as part of this launch. ATI even refers to it as a “reference design for partner developers” and fails to mention the application at the end of its presentation alongside the other Stream-compatible apps. As a true tool for everyday consumers, Converter is unintuitive and surprisingly unsexy. The UI is buried inside of the Catalyst Control Center, accessible through one of two or three basic wizard routines in a menu. You select a source file, change the target folder if you like, and pick from a pull-down menu of non-customizable target profiles, such as iPod or H.264 720p. It’s not difficult, just Spartan and limited.
At a time when there are so few applications to showcase the Stream platform, why would AMD smother its own offspring? Over the last five months, it’s easy to imagine AMD being faced with a choice: do we invest more time and resources to develop Converter, or do we let it stand as-is and work to help partners like CyberLink grow our Stream platform? Pretty obvious answer. Just like AMD is no longer in the chip manufacturing business, it belongs even less in the application writing business. My guess is that AMD will let Converter slip quietly into the night in the months to come. After all, Nvidia doesn’t have a free transcoder, so what’s the pressure for AMD to have one? Early and almost mandatory comparisons between Converter and the far more polished Badaboom couldn’t help but paint a night-and-day picture. There would be no point in AMD trying to belabor such comparisons.
Would I have liked for development to continue on Converter? Sure. Having a fully featured free tool on the ATI Stream side could have been a competitive advantage for AMD at this stage in lieu of a lengthy partner roster. And it’s not like Converter has vanished. You can still download and use it. But it’s no Espresso, nor does AMD appear to want it to be.