HQV Benchmark (Test 1)

Introducing the HQV Benchmark DVD

With this X1900 All-in-Wonder review we are beginning use of a new type of benchmark at PC Perspective.  The HQV test is a video quality benchmark that attempts to quantify the level of video quality that different TVs, DVD players and video processors provide.  In our case, the ATI and NVIDIA GPUs fall under the video processor category.

From the HQV manual:

The video clips and test patterns on this DVD have been specifically designed to evaluate a variety of interlaced video signal processing tasks including decoding, de-interlacing, motion correction, noise reduction, film cadence detection, and detail enhancement. The ultimate quality of the images you watch is limited by any and all of these steps. (It’s a rare signal processor that can handle all of these tasks well!)

Ten test patterns are provided for a thorough workout, including color bars, two ‘jaggies’ patterns, a waving flag, a static, detailed image; a saturated color image to check for noise reduction, a roller coaster sequence for motion adaptive noise reduction, a test for film detail, a series of tests for film and animation cadences, and a title crawl that mixes film and video elements.

Basically, while watching video being played back from the HQV DVD, I attempt to make an observation of the quality I am seeing based on the sample results that the DVD shows me while its running.  This is by far the best video benchmark I have used, but it is also far from a perfect solution.  I’ll briefly go over each of the 10 or so tests as we progress through them and give you my opinions on the tests and the results I saw.

One note: since taking screenshots of DVD playback is somewhat troublesome and can introduce issues that affect what is output to the clipboard, all the images you see here of the playback were taken with my Canon Digital Rebel XT camera and its highest quality levels.  You’ll notice that some times the brightness level may differ slighlty between shots, but I attempted to correct this as much as possible.  Also note that the scores I gave each card were based on my actual viewing of the output, NOT the screenshots themselves; they are provided to help illustrate my observations to you all, the readers.   

Test 1: Color Bar / Vertical Detail

From the HQV manual:

The color bar pattern will show if the color hue and saturation controls are set properly and provide a means to evaluate the vertical resolution of the device.

You will see varying degrees of detail in the alternating black-and-white bar pattern at marker ‘1’. The more detail you see, the higher the quality of static de-interlacing that is being employed.  If these bar patterns flicker or are soft or missing you are not seeing the full vertical resolution possible in the source. Simple de-interlacers will not preserve the full vertical resolution of still images. A stable image with image detail at ‘1’ and correctly shaded colors gets a passing grade.

ATI Radeon X1900 All-in-Wonder Video Card Review - Graphics Cards  1

ATI Radeon X1900 All-in-Wonder Video Card Review - Graphics Cards  2

ATI Screenshot; Score: 10

ATI Radeon X1900 All-in-Wonder Video Card Review - Graphics Cards  3

NVIDIA Screenshot; Score: 10

No flicker was seen in either the ATI or NVIDIA playback, though the NVIDIA one did have a slightly sharper line differential than ATI had.  Since this score is based on interlacing quality rather than anything other points, the scores remained the same at 10 each.

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