A New Video Quality Benchmark: HQV

HQV, a high end video processor manufacturer, has released an excellent benchmark for evaluating the image quality of consumer electronics and PC based video products.  The HQV Benchmark DVD is a collection of tests that stress various aspects of motion video quality, with the goal of offering a standard by which video quality can be judged. 

In the past, we've used a handful of problematic DVDs to judge items like de-interlacing quality, but with HQV, we're not only able to replace those DVDs, but we're able to compare de-interlacing algorithms in a much more scientific manner, and for a wider range of scenarios. 

The benchmark is a simple DVD with a bunch of video sequences that each test a different feature that a high quality video setup should implement.  Each video sequence is accompanied with a list of things for which to look, as well as guidelines of how to rate a particular platform's success in playing the videoproperly.  Each test is subjectively rated and given a score from 0 - 10, higher being better.  Most tests can only be rated a "0" for failing, "5" for completing some of the requirements of the test, and a "10" for being perfect. 

The HQV Benchmark DVD is available for public purchase, and documentation is available on each of the tests that the benchmark runs.  The benchmark also provides guidelines on how to subjectively rate each test so that the results may be reproducible and scientific at the same time, despite their subjective nature.

Test Hardware

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ (2.2GHz/512KBx2)
Motherboard: ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe
Motherboard BIOS: ASUS: Version 1013 Dated 08/10/2005
Chipset: NVIDIA nForce4 SLI
Chipset Drivers: nForce4 6.66
Memory: OCZ PC3500 DDR 2-2-2-7
Video Card: ATI Radeon X1600 XT
NVIDIA GeForce 7800GTX
Video Drivers: ATI Catalyst 8.173.1.2
NVIDIA ForceWare 81.82
Desktop Resolution: 1600 x 1200 - 32-bit @ 60Hz
OS: Windows XP Professional SP2
Benchmarking Software: HQV Benchmark DVD
DVD Decoder: NVIDIA PureVideo 1.02-150

Note that we verified that ATI's image quality was the same whether we used NVIDIA's PureVideo DVD decoder or Intervideo's DVD decoder. We chose to benchmark with NVIDIA's PureVideo decoder in order to minimize the number of variables between cards.

Also note that we are only comparing ATI's X1600 XT to NVIDIA's GeForce 7800GTX. We have already compared NVIDIA's GeForce6/7 series of GPUs to ATI's previous generation of GPUs and determined that NVIDIA offered superior de-interlacing quality, so today's comparison will focus on the latest and greatest from both vendors to see if those standings have changed. Remember that the X1600 XT has the same de-interlacing engine as the X1300 and X1800, so the results here are directly applicable to all of ATI's new GPUs.

Both the ATI and NVIDIA drivers were set to auto-detect what de-interlacing algorithm the hardware should use. We found that this setting yielded the best results for each platform in the HQV benchmark.
Index De-Interlacing Quality: Vertical Detail
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  • ST - Thursday, October 06, 2005 - link

    Any chance you can get 1080i deinterlacing tests in the future? 480i source material is fine, but with OTA HDTV widely available now, and the 7800gt/gtx line flaunting HD spatial temporal deinterlacing, i'm sure this is what most readers want to know about. Reply
  • ksherman - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    I installed PureVideo, but what players actually take advantage of it? Reply
  • rbV5 - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    Its nice to see detailed looks into a vastly overlooked area of video card performance. Kudos for using a standard to measure by, now if we see more of this type of scrutiny from more reviewers perhaps we'll actually get to see these features enabled rahter than reading about how great its going to be some day.

    Now lets take a good look at connectivity, custom resolution support, 1:1 pixel mapping, codec support......
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    quote:

    Despite what ATI told us at our Avivo briefing last month (although ATI insists it was a miscommunication), H.264 decode acceleration is not launching alongside the R5xx GPUs. ATI is committed to bringing both H.264 decode acceleration and transcode assist by the end of the year, but for now, we have no way of testing those features.
    nVidia already fooled me with this once. They called it PureVideo and I bought a Geforce 6800 AGP and waited eagerly for driver support that never came for hardware decode of HD WMV files (or hardware encode of MPEG), because the NV40/45 design was borked. nVidia left every single user that bought an NV40/45 card in the lurch. No recourse. So everyone who bought one with the hope of using PureVideo was screwed.

    Not making that mistake again with any company. If a feature isn't supported at the time I purchase a product, that feature doesn't exist. I'm not going to believe press releases anymore, seeing as touted features can be revoked if drivers or hardware don't work out right. Never again.

    Note: I now own an ATI X800XL, and have nothing against ATI or nVidia other than that I 'm too cynical to believe either of them on any feature until I see that feature in action.
    Reply
  • Lifted - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    I was thinking the exact same thing. Never again will I by something that will have features added at a later date. This is just a marketing tactic because they already know the hardware won't handle what they promised. Reply
  • Patman2099 - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    Is it just me, or is there no mention in the article of what Deinterlacing option they used on the ATI board

    you can change it in CCC, Ive found that the Adaptive looks best on my radeon 9700.

    which deinterlaxing mode was used?
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    I just amended the article to include this information:

    "Both the ATI and NVIDIA drivers were set to auto-detect what de-interlacing algorithm the hardware should use. We found that this setting yielded the best results for each platform in the HQV benchmark."

    If I forced the adaptive or motion adaptive settings, some of the HQV tests did worse, while none improved in image quality.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • user loser - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    Am I the only one that thinks the NV version of "De-Interlacing Quality: Vertical Detail" (page 3) is worse? Some of the red/green alternating lines are completely green or lose detail.

    Compare to the original:
    http://www.belle-nuit.com/testchart.html">http://www.belle-nuit.com/testchart.html
    (720 * 486 (NTSC) )

    And how often do the different film cadence modes get used really ? (However, they get the same amount of points (weight) as some more elementary tests.) And I can't tell the functional difference between ATI/NV in the second image in page 9 "De-Interlacing Quality - Mixed 3:2 Film With Added Video Titles".

    Or are the reasons for these differences only visible in moving video?

    Reply
  • TheSnowman - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    [quote] And I can't tell the functional difference between ATI/NV in the second image in page 9 "De-Interlacing Quality - Mixed 3:2 Film With Added Video Titles".

    Or are the reasons for these differences only visible in moving video?[/quote]
    Nah, de-interlacing artfacts would always turn up in the proper still framegrab and be easier to see that way as well, but I can't see any de-interlacing artfacts on any of the shots that are claimed to have such issues so am at a loss to understand the author's conclusions on that page. The first ATI shot does show some nasty compression for some reason or another, but I don't see any of interlacing issues in the shots on that page from either ATI or Nvidia.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, October 05, 2005 - link

    It's tough to see here, but those are actually supposed to be interlacing artifacts. They appear as compression artifacts here, but in motion you get a very clear lined pattern.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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