This post may well be more a polemic about my frustration with HTPC software, or a desperate plea for help, than about a specific problem to solve. Just wanted to state that up front.
So, I've lost track of how many years it's been since I picked up a Theater Pro capture card and first realized that you could buy hardware with advertised hardware features that were entirely unavailable through software. At that time it was 3D denoising on capture inputs and as many hours as I lost to figuring out that one (and eventually giving up) I figured, hey, this is ~ 2003-2004 and maybe the software just hasn't caught up yet.
About a year and a half later, I started to feel less forgiving of nVidia and PureVideo, a fancy new feature with my fancy new video card. Sure, it was on the box, but no one seemed to know anything about it. What was it? Where did it work? How could you tell if it was "on" or "in action?" Frustration set in, but eventually I gave up and figured, just another temporary round of hype with little bearing in reality. Actually it was that search for answers that led me to AVS in many ways, but everyone here was pretty much mystified as well.
Fast forward to 2009 and it seems nothing has changed. Protocol support for audio over HDMI? Who knows. Purevideo HD or AVIVO? DXVA video acceleration? Video playback edge enhancement or noise reduction? The boxes still have all these feature logos, and most of us still have no idea whether these features work, what sort of media they work with, whether they are supposed to work out of the box or require some extra software we don't have, and we often don't even know how to tell if they are working. After trying to determine whether edge enhancement (available in CCC in my brand new Catalyst 9.3 drivers on my 4870) is working, and with what sources, and using what player, I've given up yet again. I feel as though in 2009, I shouldn't be repeating this fiasco over and over again with video enhancement.
Is there some tangible progress being made, perhaps a program or a web site or something I don't know about, or are we in the HTPC space still struggling on a quarterly basis to determine whether video features in newly released hardware even work? Are we reaching the point where maybe it's better to just assume they don't, and start focusing on video processing in our displays (or in boxes in the middle)?
Apologies for the frustration. Back to figuring out whether my 4850 can accelerate my dozen or so differently encoded video files--and if so, which ones and why.