Video Post Processing and HTPC Configuration Options

Our HTPC reviews over the last few years have used the HQV 2.0 benchmark to estimate and compare video post processing quality of the GPUs. We are at a stage where almost all GPUs end up scoring around 200, leaving very little differentiation. Put bluntly, the HQV 2.0 benchmark is dated, and presenting scores from it delivers no practical value to readers. That said, the tests themselves are relevant, but, instead of the HQV 2.0 Blu-ray, we used clips from Spears & Munsil's HD Benchmark (2nd Edition).

Intel has been paying particular attention to video post processing (courtesy of the pressure put by AMD's high scores in the HQV benchmark during the Sandy Bridge era). Haswell manages to clear common deinterlacing, chroma upsampling and cadence detection tests without issues, as shown in the gallery below

The disappointment comes in the form of the revamped Intel Graphics Control Panel. While the changes in appearance can be excused as migrating to be friendly with the Windows 8 touchscreen devices, the distribution of the various configuration options makes no sense at all. For example, it is only fair for users to expect the 'inverse telecine' option to be present under the Video category. However, it makes its appearance under the advanced display settings. Input range (Full / Limited for 0 - 255 / 16 - 235) is under advanced video settings, but the YCbCr / RGB setting is under the Display settings. It would make sense to have both settings under one category as users usually modify both when trying to calibrate and ensure that their setup is working optimally.

As I found out when trying to calibrate using Spears & Munsil's HD Benchmark, the mixture of settings in the control panel makes it very difficult to calibrate the correct output color space (amongst other things). For example, there is no way to choose YCbCr 4:2:2 / YCbCr 4:4:4 / Limited RGB / Full RGB. This is just one of the missing features in the configuration utility. I hope Intel's engineers try to calibrate a few displays by driving them using an Intel GPU and using the HD Benchmark 2nd Edition calibration disk (just to understand how badly the layout of the control panel is designed).

Andrew at Missing Remote also brings out the fact that clipping issues still exist. In addition, the current control panel completely removes the ability to create custom resolutions (in any case, the previous feature was also not very user friendly compared to NVIDIA's solution). The drivers and UI / UX still need work, but Intel hasn't been as responsive as we would like (partly due to the fact that casual HTPC users don't really care about these issues).

Note of Thanks:

Thanks to Spears & Munsil / Oppo Digital for providing us with an evaluation version of the HD Benchmark 2nd Edition Blu-ray

Testbed and Software Setup Refresh Rate Handling - 23.976 Hz Works!
POST A COMMENT

94 Comments

View All Comments

  • mindbomb - Sunday, June 02, 2013 - link

    The current version of madvr does support dxva native actually. Reply
  • gevorg - Sunday, June 02, 2013 - link

    The near $300 price of i7-4765T is extremely price prohibitive for HTPC use. Majority of users will find AMD's Trinity APUs to be perfect for HTPC job.

    Also, unless Intel handicapped it, you should be able to downclock any i7 Haswell CPU to be near i7-4765T speed/TDP. This is possible with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge chips.
    Reply
  • meacupla - Sunday, June 02, 2013 - link

    the only problem with trinity is the rather limited choice of mITX mobos and rather high power consumption and thermal output, which makes them not ideal for compact HTPCs...

    Although, granted, for $300 for the CPU alone, I'd much rather buy an xboxone or PS4.
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    You just listed four problems while saying, "the only problem with trinity." That's the real problem with AMD's options. There's like "one problem" for everyone. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    Except for those of us for whom there are none, and/or are prepared to live with limitations to not have to shell out $300 on a CPU. Reply
  • vnangia - Sunday, June 02, 2013 - link

    Very true. The SNB low-TDP parts were within spitting distance of their equivalent regular-TDP parts (about $25-50 more), not $200 more. Reply
  • JDG1980 - Sunday, June 02, 2013 - link

    If you can wait six months or so, you're probably going to be better off going with Kaveri. AMD is going to be substantially increasing the GPU power of their APU and switching to a homogenous memory architecture so everything uses GDDR5. What little I've heard (which may not be reliable) seems to indicate that the GPU in Kaveri may be about on par with the discrete 7750. I don't know if they can pull that off, but if they even come close then they will have basically rendered all sub-$100 discrete GPUs obsolete. Reply
  • lmcd - Sunday, June 02, 2013 - link

    Inaccurate. $100 GPUs will have improved by Kaveri's release. And AMD's drivers won't necessarily meet the expectations set here either. Reply
  • medi02 - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    This driver FUD is getting old... Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    Very old, but don't expect it to stop. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now