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AVIVO HD vs. Purevideo HD: What You Need to Know about High-Definition Video

Image Quality Benchmarks - HQV's High-Definition Video Benchmark

If you've read any Avivo vs. Purevideo reviews in the past, chances are you're familiar with the HQV DVD video quality benchmark from Silicon Optix. The benchmark plays a series of scenes that many video processors have a problem with, suggests scores for different levels of success and you add them up to get a final score. Both Avivo and Purevideo cards get near-perfect scores in the HQV DVD benchmark as DVD video processing has been honed into a razor-sharp edge over the past few years.

It is because of this that you may find the test results for the new HQV benchmark for HD video quite surprising. To make a long story short, we once again find software and drivers playing catch up to new hardware... hardware which, in theory, has excellent HD video processing capabilities. Unfortunately, in many cases those capabilities aren't exposed in the drivers yet.

Nvidia representatives we talked to were a little unhappy with the HQV benchmark as Silicon Optix (the makers of the HQV benchmark) manufactures their own video processors. Because of this they consider Purevideo HD and Avivo to be competing solutions. Unlike other benchmarks, the HQV benchmark wasn't shared with the companies ahead of time so they could prepare their solutions for the types of visual tests it uses. The HQV benchmarks are also quite subjective, with different reviewers handing out slightly different scores in many cases.

Still, I find the HQV benchmark to be a useful tool and without it there are certainly aspects of video quality that would be much more difficult to assess. Like the first HQV benchmark on DVD, I imagine future Purevideo HD and Avivo drivers will improve video image quality.

Nvidia has mentioned that their HD post-processing isn't even enabled yet in the current drivers, but they certainly plan to release that functionality as soon as they can. I imagine the same can be said for ATI. Ready or not, let's have a detailed look at the HQV benchmark results:
- HD Noise Reduction Test: Out of 25 Points

This test shows scenes that are plagued with noise artifacts. Good noise reduction erases most of these artifacts and makes it appear more natural and much less grainy. The trick is to make the noise reduction work without losing detail.