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ATI's Avivo mark 2 - a preview

ATI's Avivo mark 2 - a preview Introduction to Avivo
Thus runs the slogan of the video and media platform that ATI introduced back with the launch of the X1000 series of cards a couple of months ago. The performance and features of the platform at launch were generally considered underwhelming, although ATI were adamant at the time that the platform launch was a 'base camp' from which to start climbing the Mountain Of Ultimate Video Quality.

ATI have now launched the second phase of the Avivo platform and this functionality will be publicly available to you guys later this week, in the form of a 'bonus' Catalyst 5.13 driver. We sat down with the Canadians last week to go through what the platform now offers and what it will be doing in the future.

In this article, then, we'll be looking at the new features that this week's Avivo update will bring to the table, as well as undertaking some analysis as to exactly what this means for the future, including an insight into Avivo's relationship with Intel's Viiv initiative.

Aviv-what?

Let's get back to basics. Video playback is becoming an increasingly important function of PCs - how many of us watch content, be it DVDs, TV torrents or Apple Quicktime trailers on our machines? Just like we want the top quality 3D graphics in Doom, we also want the best video playback quality.

Good playback quality means zero dropped frames, zero jaggies, zero blurring, top notch general image fidelity and, ideally, the ability to process without tying up valuable system resources.

Avivo aims to deliver all of this. ATI are touting their X1000 series cards as the not only the best 3D platform to game on, but the best video platform to watch on. ATI want to make sure that standard definition TV, DVD video and HD video looks fantastic when you have a Radeon in your system.

Of course, we don't just use our normal PCs to view video on. As living room PCs become more and more commonplace, so video playback will become an incredibly important feature of a graphics card.

ATI's Avivo mark 2 - a preview Introduction to Avivo

Isn't that just PureVideo?

PureVideo is NVIDIA's video platform. PureVideo does some of the things that Avivo does - it corrects framerate issues, improves image quality and generally makes for a great viewing experience. However, it only works in standard definition - at the present time, PureVideo does not accelerate or generally help the playback of high definition content. A large part of ATI's focus with Avivo is on accelerating high definition content.

Obviously, high definition content is a huge growth area at the moment, but perhaps the most crucial difference is that you have to pay to grab PureVideo from NVIDIA - about $30 on top of the price of your graphics card. ATI are including the Avivo technology within their standard (free) Catalyst driver releases.