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Adobe Flash HD-Video GPU Acceleration Guide E-mail
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Written by Servando Silva - Edited by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Adobe Flash HD-Video GPU Acceleration Guide
ATI GPU Acceleration Problems
Setting up your ATI GPU
NVIDIA Control Panel Settings
Testbeds and Methodology
High-End PC CPU usage
ION PC CPU Usage
ATI Image Quality
NVIDIA Image Quality
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

GPU Acceleration Final Thoughts

DXVA for all kind of videos, that's the tendency. When AVIVO and Purevideo were launched some years ago, the main targets were to playback and enhance video quality for DVDs. This was later opened to a wider sector and different formats. Then they evolved to an HD version targeted to HD-DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs. Right now, DXVA technology is growing more and more, so that you can enhance any video in your PC. While the formats list is still large, adding DXVA support to Flash Player is a great and very big step. Even Flash is not recognized as a perfect nor excellent format, I can´t say it´s not used worldwide. Many websites use flash format to upload videos, and of course, Youtube, vimeo and Hulu are just some big examples. adobe_flash_logo_round_benchmark-reviews-com.jpg

Technology grows and now many of these popular sites added HD support, which is great, but not as popular as it should because a low-end CPU won´t be able to reproduce the videos fluidly. All this means that GPU applications are growing more and more to a visual computing concept and if you want to flow with the current, you must know how it works. Again, the advantages of using GPUs instead of CPUs normally result into lower power consumption and better IQ, while some others even make possible to watch HD content in a low-end system like the ION used in our tests.

My Flash Videos are not being reproduced and enhanced by my GPU? Sure, this can happen. When I was testing many videos on the net, there were some which didn´t received GPU acceleration or enhancements. Keep in mind this is a BETA release of the Flash Player, and still has some bugs around. The reason your videos probably aren´t being reproduced by your GPU is because they may have an odd resolution. For example, if you playback any 1280x720p video you will have DXVA working and IQ enhancements. Now try weird resolutions like 1235x712 and DXVA won´t work.

In Youtube, an easy way to force DXVA is adding &fmt=22 (for 720p) or &fmt=37 (for 1080p) at the end of the URL. This way you make sure the video resolution to be recognized by your Flash Player even if the video isn´t actually recorded at that resolution. Most problems will be solved on the official release and some will be solved with new ATI/NVIDIA drivers, but you can enjoy DXVA on many flash videos already.

DXVA Flash Conclusion

I can resume the whole article in 5 words: DXVA works great on Flash. The reality is that both ATI and NVIDIA have done a great work on DXVA. Videos are reproduced flawlessly even on low-end systems, and CPU usage is lowered in a big percentage which sets your CPU free to do some other stuff at the same time. DXVA also allows HD flash videos to be reproduced on low end systems which won´t be able to reproduce HD flash with the CPU power, so that's a great start and the main target of DXVA.

About image quality enhancements, that´s an easy choice. We can draw a winner so easily because at the time we tested IQ ATI was just amazing and it offers more variables to set. Personally, Dynamic Contrast and Edge-enhancement totally rock on ATI GPUs, while NVIDIA GPUs didn´t make much of a change on the IQ of our videos. ATI also added Video Demo Modes which lets users to tweak their settings until they find the IQ desired and even compare it to the original image in real-time. That's great, but I can´t say NVIDIA won´t come with similar controls near in the future, so... ATI, enjoy the IQ crown for the moment, because it could end sooner than you think. Now that you know how to playback and enhance your Flash videos, enjoy the tests!

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