SW vs. HW HD playback, can be equal, or better? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 12-07-2007, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Is it possible to get just as good, or better PQ (and AQ) from an HTPC, with the right add-ons/plugins/cards, etc, than HW-based players, such as ones with Silicon Optix chipsets?

In terms of image processing, SW can do anything HW can do right? I mean, a lot of HW and chip designs start as SW in emulators, design kits, etc, so I would think yes, but I'm not sure if I'm missing some info.

Does anyone have a particular setup or playback chain they can recommend for HD material? I've recently experimented with PDVD/dscaler & PowerStrip @ 48hz with good results, but haven't done much in the image processing/post-processing area.

thanks,
p.
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post #2 of 3 Old 12-09-2007, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by protovision View Post

In terms of image processing, SW can do anything HW can do right? I mean, a lot of HW and chip designs start as SW in emulators, design kits, etc, so I would think yes, but I'm not sure if I'm missing some info.

Hi there

I don't know the answer to your question, but your premise is not correct. SW cannot do anything that HW can do. (BTW I'm a SW engineer.) SW is constrained by the speed of the CPU (processing bandwidth) and has to compete for the resources of the PC (memory, I/O bandwidth). The CPU is a general purpose processor, and is under control of the operating system. Any "image processing" SW would be just one of many processes contending for PC resources.

Video and audio processing has to be done in real-time, otherwise you'll see and/or hear studdering, dropouts etc. Dedicating HW for this task is often the prefered/easier/cheaper solution, rather than specifying a fast(er) PC. If you had a real-time OS instead of Win XP or Vista, and the system was dedicated to image processing, then you have a better chance with the SW solution.

The SW used for HW design runs at simulation speeds, not normal CPU clock speed. The simulation is _very_ slow in comparison.

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post #3 of 3 Old 12-09-2007, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by protovision View Post

Is it possible to get just as good, or better PQ (and AQ) from an HTPC, with the right add-ons/plugins/cards, etc, than HW-based players, such as ones with Silicon Optix chipsets?

That's a tough question to answer. You're going to have a very tough time finding anything PC-based that can match the capabilities of a Silicon Optics Realta HQV or Gennum VXP class video processor:

Scaling - doable
Sharpenning - doable
Denoising - Tougher to match
Deinterlacing - depends.

Deinterlacing really depends, there's no way anything PC based can match the HQV/VXP in terms of deinterlacing, they're just much better. Now that said, depending on what you're talking about that may or may not be an issue. For example DVD is mostly 480p (stored as 480i) and doesn't require deinterlacing, just IVTC and PCs do that just fine.

If you start getting into 480p/480i mixed content, or deinterlacing 1080i, it gets trickier.

Quote:


In terms of image processing, SW can do anything HW can do right?

In theory yes, two issues that make reality different than theory:

1) Are those HW algorithms, or equivalents available as PC software?
2) Can those HW algorithms be run in realtime.

I'd guess the vast array of AVISynth scripts can come close in regard to number 1, but what I've tried as far as processing goes with AVISynth, I'd say 2 is the bigger problem, I have my doubts as to whether current PC processors can run HQV/VXP glass algorithms in realtime.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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