NVIDIA's ForceWare Multimedia - An In-House Productionby Andrew Ku on July 11, 2004 12:05 AM EST
We have been waiting to take a look at NVIDIA's ForceWare Multimedia application since December of 2003, when we had our GeForce FX Personal Cinema Roundup. The biggest issue that we had back then was the lack of an in-house software solution from NVIDIA, since they turned to Intervideo's WinDVR, which, as a software solution, wasn't even designed to accompany the Personal Cinema cards in the first place.
WinDVR was a general PVR solution that could be used with almost any TV tuner card (yes, even ATI's stuff), and what NVIDIA needed was a software solution that was designed specifically to accompany Personal Cinema cards with the same amount of time invested developing the software as the hardware. The multimedia field takes both into account unlike the gamer/pure video card market. With video cards, ATI and NVIDIA both duke it out over pure performance; granted, there is still debate over the fairness of the performance, but that is the general gist of it. Multimedia cards still compete over the hardware in the sense of supported features and performance, but just importantly, the software must be able to back up the ability to interact with these features. One without the other makes for a basically worthless multimedia card.
This was our main frustration behind not having a NVIDIA software solution accompanying Personal Cinema cards. In our view, NVIDIA made a bad strategic choice by trying to compete with ATI in the "All-in-Wonder market" by rushing their product to market without having the software to back it up first. Granted, the software was suppose to come out much sooner (October of '03), but the fact that it didn't meant Personal Cinema users were left with a card that had (in our opinion) poor software support.
And what do you do when you have a bad experience with a product? You go for the competing product (ATI's All-in-Wonders), especially if the competing product has a relatively long history of happy customers. NVIDIA is vying that this is no longer going to be the case, since their Personal Cinema cards are going to come hand-in-hand with ForceWare Multimedia from now on.