We've completed part 1 of our investigation of the differences between Avivo and Purevideo in the Radeon X1k and Geforce 7x00 generation. What have we learned?
Personally, I like a close race. For me, the best reviews are the ones where I have a hard time saying a particular brand of hardware is always better than a second one because I like to see lots of healthy competition as different manufacturers put their own twist on the hardware we enjoy.
Well, color me happy because this is about as close a race as you can get. Purevideo does surpass Avivo in the final score, but either one is a fine choice for DVD playback with all of the important bases covered: noise reduction, pulldown detection, detail enhancement and de-interlacing.
As far as secondary concerns go, Avivo seems to use less CPU power, but frankly that's not a big deal unless you have a very specific personal requirement. For video encoding, Avivo offers a free encoder, which is a nice free tool for sure but not the GPU accelerated wonder-software that would make it a must-have.
Remember, though, the game is not over folks. Nvidia has two aces up their sleeves: the first is the new Geforce 8800, and the second is Purevideo HD for high-definition video. We haven't even looked at either of these yet, but we will examine them in a follow-up article. Will either competitor turn out to be the high-definition video champ after the close race we've seen in this review? Stay tuned!
Author's Rant: What Happened To User-Friendliness?
For a second we're going to mention the companies who provide the excellent DVD playing software and hardware out there. Guys, you're doing a great job and these players work fine, but we can't help but wonder - why no automatic hardware detection? Why are these settings defaulted to off? And why are they so darn hard to find?
When testing with both Cyberlink's PowerDVD 6 and Nero 7 Showtime, we had to seek out the hardware acceleration option and enable it. Is there a reason these players couldn't check the hardware and set this option on startup? I can't think of a reason why you wouldn't want hardware acceleration enabled if it's available.
On the Avivo and Purevideo side, why aren't these fantastic IQ options on by default? I imagine a great deal of time and money has been invested in these excellent features, but it seems like very little thought has gone into getting it enabled for the average user.
It's time for developers of DVD playing software and hardware to step up to the plate in this regard. Games can detect 3D cards and suggest IQ settings, so why can't DVD playing software detect 3D cards as well? All you video developers out there, please start detecting the available hardware, or at the very least, inform the user about the option to use it in a better way. 'Nuff said.