Digital Nerd

Monday, June 06, 2005

Turbocharge your WMV-HD Playback

Sean Alexander has a great article on an update for WMP 10.

(Disclaimer- this is particularly geeky and not a mainstream upgrade yet) :)

Remember the "old days" of playing back a DVD on a PC? When it required a beefy processor and you couldn't do anything else with the PC at the same time? Then the video gurus figured out you could free your PC's CPU to do other tasks by moving video decode to your 3D graphics card with a technology called "DirectX Video Acceleration" (or DXVA). Well thanks to a new update for Windows Media Player, if you have a card that supports DXVA video acceleration, chances are you're going to see a performance boost when playing back HD content compressed in Windows Media Video High Definition (WMV-HD). WMV-HD paves the way for reasonable delivery of HD-quality movies over the Internet and reduces the requirements on CPU speed when pared with a mid to high-end video card.

WMV-HD has been around for a little bit now, delivering true 720p and 1080p video quality in a reasonable package. Unfortunately, you've needed a beefy processor (recommended 3Ghz) in order to play back. Thanks to work done in hardware by ATI, Nvidia and others as well as the Windows Media Player 10 team, you can now drop CPU usage by some reports up to 40%!

According to this support update, the software update enables WMV-HD decode acceleration after users meet the following prerequisites:

  • The graphics adapter must support this update. Check with your card manufacturer to see if your card supports DXVA and get the latest certified drivers.
  • The user must install hotfix 891122 first<- Very important.
  • Download the update at http://www.support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;888656

  • The content must be WMV-HD clips (720p and 1080p) with a frame rate that is less than or equal to 30 frames per second.

Here's a link to feedback from others who now have WMV-HD playing back on 2.66 Ghz systems and others with reduced

Go download free WMV-HD trailers and clips at http://www.wmvhd.com and enjoy. I'll check with the team on plans for new trailers etc.

Enjoy :)




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