Radeon HD 6990 review -
Universal Video Decoder 3.0
Universal Video Decoder 3.0
UVD, short for Universal Video Decoder, synonym to the video processors embedded into the GPU of the graphics card. With proper 3rd party software like WinDVD or PowerDVD or the free Media Player Classic you can enable support for UVD which provides hardware acceleration for media content like MPEG2, H.264 and VC-1 high definition video formats used by Blu-ray.
In short, this feature allows the video processor in the GPU to apply hardware acceleration and video processing functions while keeping power consumption & CPU utilization low on your movies and video's.
That means a low CPU utilization whilst scoring maximum image quality. Over the years this engine has advanced and it's really not massively different opposed to the older UVD engines but we do see some new tweaks. Dual stream decoding was already introduced in UVD2 So example, if you playback a Blu-ray movie and simultaneously want to see a director's commentary (guided by video) you can now look at both the movie and in a smaller screen see the additional content (like picture-in-picture). Obviously this is Blu-ray 2.0 compatibility here, and the additional content is an actual feature of the movie. But definitely fun to see.
UVD 3.0 allows for
- Hardware acceleration decode of two 1080P HD streams
- Compatible with Windows Aero mode - playback of HD videos while Aero remains enabled
- Video gamma - independent gamma control from Windows desktop.
- Brighter whites - Blue Stretch processing increases the blue value of white colors for bright videos
- Dynamic Video Range - Controls levels of black and white during playback
Dynamic Contrast Enhancement will improve the contrast ratios in videos in real-time, on the fly. It's a bit of a trivial thing to do, as there are certain situations where you do not want your contrast increased.
Another feature is Dynamic Color Enhancement. It's pretty much a color tone enhancement feature and will slightly enforce a color correction where it's needed. We'll show you that in a bit as I quite like this feature; it makes certain aspects of a movie a little more vivid. New in UVD3 is now managing entropy and bit stream support for MPEG2 and MPEG4 DiVX/xVID movies, and also there is of course hardware support for Blu-Ray 3D's multi-view codec. Have a peek at the above block diagram demonstrating that.
To be able to playback high-def content you'll still need software like WinDVD or PowerDVD, a HD source (Blu-ray player) and a HDCP capable monitor or television.
For those interested in MKV / x.264 GPU based content acceleration, playback and image quality enhancements, please read this guide we have written. We spotted this lovely little free application to manage this.
HQV2.0 is a collection of challenging video clips, each of which presents a difficult video playback scenario and then asks the reviewer to evaluate the success with which the video processor under test copes with, or corrects, a particular sort of video artifact which might appear in the scene.
Developed by IDT to showcase the features of their consumer and commercial HQV video processing hardware (typically integrated into consumer and commercial HDTV displays, Blu-ray Players, A/V Receivers, projectors and video processing boxes), HQV2 is also useful in evaluating video playback quality on various other video playback devices, including desktop and notebook computer systems.
|Noise & Artifact Reduction||60||52||44|
|Image Scaling & Enhancement||30||30||30|
The table below displays HQV2 test results based on Windows 7 64bit. The images were evaluated on a 48" Philips HDTV connected via HDMI, at 1920x1080p resolution. CyberlinkPower DVD 10 was used for all testing.
Directly tied to the UVD3 engine is obviously also sound. AMD's Radeon series 3000, 4000, 5000 and now 6000 cards can pass lossless sound directly through the HDMI connector (with the help of the adapter). This has been upgraded as it's now possible to have 7.1 channel lossless sound 192kHz / 24-bit. The HDMI audio output follows HDMI standard 1.4a and supports Dolby True HD and DTS-HD audio. Obviously there is also support for standard PCM, AC-3 and DTS. HDMI 1.4a allows bitrates up to 65Mbps and 3DTV.
So with an AMD Radeon HD 6800 and later series video card, all you need to do is install the card into your motherboard and connect it to your receiver with an HDMI cable as the card removes the need for a separate sound card.
- Playback software , say CyberLinks PowerDVD 9 or newer
- AV receiver that supports Blu-ray player support Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD Master Audio (HDMI v1.3 compliant)
- Two HDMI cables (male to male connectors, rated at 225MHz or higher)
- Appropriate speaker cables for your surround sound speaker system
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