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Cyberlink to launch new TrueTheatre technologies

Cyberlink to launch new TrueTheatre technologies

Future PowerDVD versions will come with new Cyberlink image enhancing software.

Cyberlink, the Taiwanese outfit behind the popular PowerDVD software is about to launch some new technologies – we were given exclusive first access to its new Noise Reduction technologies, Video Stabiliser, Video Upscaling (re-engineered) and fps upsampling engines.

The products are still in the development stages – the noise reduction won’t be available until next year, we were told, so the technology was still a work in progress. Cyberlink is branding everything top to bottom to match its TrueTheatre range – if you’ve already seen PowerDVD 8 you’ll be aware of the TrueTheatre Surround audio upscaling option that’s already nosed its way in there.

First up, the TrueTheatre HD technology – this is the latest generation of Cyberlink's CLEV which is specifically designed to upgrade DVDs to HD resolutions while retaining the quality. Cyberlink admitted it would never be as good as an original HD print, however, it also will try to capitalise on the many DVDs already sold and many HDTVs currently being sold.

From the demo video, it looks pretty perfect (as we’d expect) although perhaps a little too sharp in some places. We were told that the sharpness and other factors were not a changeable setting, it was simply going to be an on or off option at the current time.

TrueTheatre Motion will also see the light between later this year and next – this basically upscales a 24/30 fps movie to 60 fps in order to make panning and fast action scenes look far smoother.

The noise reduction technology hasn't been given its TrueTheatre branding yet (it’s that new), and it basically does what it says on the tin – it reduces noise and grain. It’s mostly targeted for webcams or video that suffers from high ISO or fuzziness like analogue TV (that we’re told is still very popular when you think on a worldwide scale), but at the moment it's only supported on pre-recorded material.

Unfortunately, the technology is a little way off being finished – it’s incredibly CPU intensive, currently requiring a quad-core at a minimum. Cyberlink joked that while this will make Intel and AMD happy, it will obviously alienate a lot of end users and there was still plenty of optimisation to be done.

The new video stabiliser engine works in partnership with the above – if you’ve shot video on a handheld camcorder or cellphone camera that looks like it’s recording an earthquake, again from Cyberlink's video demonstration, it appears to work wonders cutting out and stitching the frames that match together and tracking the overall movement.

All four of these are different technologies but in some way related, however only the TrueTheatre Motion and TrueTheatre HD will be blended into PowerDVD, the rest will see uses in other applications. Another thing worth noting though is that PowerDVD 9 (formerly 8.5) will be available in a Q3 to Q4 timeframe this year – a lot earlier than Cyberlink's previously cited “yearly cycle”.

What still confuses us still about the whole lot is that by the time next year arrives there will be plenty of HD-capable chipsets and even CPUs with integrated graphics available that have their own UVD/ClearVideo/PureVideo decoding engines in them, and they will offer very low power hardware decoding capabilities. Personally, we wish the graphics vendors would work with Cyberlink to make such technologies work directly with the DX 2.0 video overlay and give them access to the GPU functions rather than relying on an unspecific CPU to munch away at very repetitive and highly parallel workloads.

Obviously we’re always naturally sceptical about watching a pre-rendering showing how good something works, but we understand the final product is far from ready – we’ll come back to it once it's ready to see how these technologies turn out and whether everyone will simply be relying on low power IGPs or not by next year.

Do you think the technology has some potential, or do you prefer hardware-based implementations for image quality enhancement? Share your thoughts in the forums.

7 Comments

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Joeymac 30th May 2008, 11:58 Quote
With 'AnyDVD HD', Media Player Classic - 'Home Cinema Edition' and ffdshow, plus a load of filter tweaking, you can play anything.
PowerDVD is bloaty and crap, always has been. I made the mistake of buying it and it didn't do what it was supposed to. They can add all the faux upscaling addons they want, I won't be buying it again.
MPC offloads decoding to the GPU, is less than 6MB and can output via Vista's EVR... why do I need to pay for something?
mclean007 30th May 2008, 12:04 Quote
Quote:
Personally, we wish the graphics vendors would work with Cyberlink to make such technologies work directly with the DX 2.0 video overlay and give them access to the GPU functions rather than relying on an unspecific CPU to munch away at very repetitive and highly parallel workloads.
Surely Cyberlink could implement this through CUDA?
Phil Rhodes 30th May 2008, 13:16 Quote
Has a retail box like that for powerDVD ever actually existed?

I'm long since past the point where I'm even the vaguest bit taken by Latest Buzzword Here Video Processing Technology. Has anyone here ever had a DVD player, VCR or TV on which any of the picture processing - denoiser, whatever - didn't turn things into a hideous blurry mess? And frame rate interpolation? People all over the planet are busting their backsides to shoot stuff in 24-frame-per-second video modes to make it look more dramatic, and you want to interp it up to 60 or whatever? I've seen this done and it makes nicely-shot, well-budgeted TV drama look like an Aussie soap. It's a complete raping of the director's intent.

The reason TV pictures look like crap is simple - compression. I cut HD video uncompressed; that's 1600 megabits per second. Even the current BBC HD demos are only 20, and that's vastly more than any "real" service uses. Standard def DVB as seen in the UK is usually 3 to 5 megabit MPEG-2. I'v worked on channels which proposed two and a half. You do the math. DVDs ten to look OK because they can "afford" better bitrates but even then the compression isn't often that carefully done.
TreeDude 30th May 2008, 14:04 Quote
Some of the latest 120hz TVs are coming with a 5:5 pull down option. This means you can play a Blue Ray DVD in 1080p24 mode, and still take advantage of the 120hz refresh rate, without the soap opera look. So if you are in the market for a new HDTV that is a good feature to look for.

The latest drivers from ATI (Catalyst 8.5) also set up their HDTV mode support. So those of you with home theater PCs with ATI hardware should do a driver update.
HourBeforeDawn 30th May 2008, 18:19 Quote
huh did they work on the audio issue about the audio being downgraded when watching a Blu-ray or HD-dvd? or has this been corrected for some time now?
Er-El 31st May 2008, 01:19 Quote
Well at least these featured aren't forced onto the user allowing us to experiment with them all. You can turn and off whichever you like and save some performance at the same time.
Bindibadgi 31st May 2008, 12:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
huh did they work on the audio issue about the audio being downgraded when watching a Blu-ray or HD-dvd? or has this been corrected for some time now?

Nope not yet, but Asus has a product which will get round it :D
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