Oppo Beta Group
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Massachusetts, USA
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I had posted my initial impressions of the ArcSoft TM trial version in the other ArcSoft thread. Basically, I felt it looked promising but had some definite issues. I had a bit of time to play with it some more this past weekend. My feeling is still the same, but I'm somewhat optimistic that we could be a few releases away from no longer having much use for PowerDVD. When I initially installed it (and after a reboot), I tried playing 300. I saw very high CPU usage and ArcSoft crashed and exited on me 3 or so minutes into playing the movie. Until the crash, the picture quality was very good EXCEPT that it was frequently breaking up on the top 3rd - primarily on the left side of the screen.
I did some more testing over the weekend. I switched the audio output from 2 channel to SPDIF, experienced no crashes (with the same movie), and noticed that CPU usage stayed at pretty reasonable levels (indicating that hardware acceleration must have been working).
I also found that the picture breakup problem exists at 1080i, but not at 1800x480 or lower (my Mitsubishi RPTV is pretty limited in that it will only accept 480p, 540p, and 1080i timings, so I can't test 720p, for example). The 1800x480 resolution I have is actually a 540p timing - by doing this I eliminate overscan and can see the Windows taskbar and the full width of the desktop or maximized windows. I'm curious if this picture breakup problem is an ArcSoft problem, my card not having enough horsepower (ATI 2600XT), or due to ArcSoft's decision to not fully support ATI hardware acceleration under XP for now. Switching to nVidia isn't an option for me (I need custom resolutions), but I wonder if switching to a 3000 series ATI card would improve the situation (my understanding is that the AVIVO features are supposed to be the same, but it's become pretty clear that the 2400 series cards don't really have the horsepower to handle 1080i).
At 1800x480, I have to uncheck the maintain aspect ratio button and end up with excellent results with HD-DVD's. Unforunately, with Bluray movies the maintain aspect ration box gets checked and disabled, so I end up with a horizontally squished picture.
So with just a slight improvement in aspect ratio control (or if I could find a way to fix the picture breakup problems at 1080i), I think I could be pretty happy with this software.