ATI and NVIDIA Support Windows Media Corona HDTV-Quality Video on PCs Predicted

Reprinted from a Microsoft press release:

REDMOND, Wash. April 23, 2002 Today Microsoft Corp. announced that leading graphics chip developers ATI Technologies Inc and NVIDIA Corp. will support new DirectX technologies that enable HDTV-quality video playback experiences on the PC using the next version of Windows Media code-named Corona. By combining the compression and quality innovations in Windows Media Corona, together with the help of DirectX innovations enabling processing video in hardware alleviating the load on the PC’s central processing unit (CPU) video playback will be possible at resolutions as high as 1080p. With six times the number of pixels in today’s 480p DVD-quality playback these innovations offer the potential for an HDTV quality experience for the first time on a PC. This will be the highest video resolution ever attained on a PC and enable PCs running Windows XP to offer video resolution far beyond what is capable on many TVs today.

ATI and NVIDIA, some of the leading innovators of graphic chips and video cards, will support advanced hardware acceleration, both for de-interlacing and playback of HDTV-quality video in the next version of Microsoft Windows Media Technologies, code-named Corona. This support is enabled with the advancement of the DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) interfaces in the Microsoft Windows operating system. DXVA interfaces allow video processing, including Windows Media Video decoding and de-interlacing, to occur on graphics hardware, freeing the PC’s CPU for other tasks and offer lower power PC processors the ability to render much higher quality video.

This support for advanced video acceleration technologies in DXVA together with Windows Media Corona will be offered in the following ways:

ATI’s Video Immersion technologies, an essential element within the family of ATI’s RADEON graphics chips will, together with embedding the decoding of Windows Media Corona video, deliver the best video quality on desktop and notebook PCs thanks to enhanced Adaptive De-interlacing and Temporal Filtering enabled by ATI’s industry leading Video Drivers.

NVIDIA is planning in the next year to include embedded support for both DirectXVA and Windows Media “Corona” video decode as key features of future versions of their graphics processor chips and video cards.

DirectX Video Acceleration

Developed in conjunction with industry partners and released in Windows XP, DirectX Video Acceleration provides a common interface for hardware and software developers to use for acceleration of video processing routines. DirectX Video Acceleration (DxVA) has gained widespread acceptance as the standard interface for accelerating DVD and broadcast HDTV MPEG-2 playback in Windows. Now video de-interlacing with DxVA brings highly advanced hardware line doubling and scaling to Windows, rivaling the best picture quality possible on any device at any price. DxVA de-interlacing with ATI Radeon 8500 and NVIDIA’s GeForce4 graphics hardware was on display last week at WinHEC and will be available to consumers this fall.

The addition of Windows Media Corona video to the list of codecs supported by DirectX Video Acceleration enables HDTV-quality playback at a fraction of the CPU requirement. Common Windows Media Video operations are off-loaded from the main CPU to the graphics hardware to effectively double the video processing power available on the PC. Support for acceleration of Windows Media Video will be available with the final release of Windows Media Corona.

Windows Media Corona Audio and Video Advances
Today’s announcement follows on the heels of the already growing support by the industry for the breakthrough quality and opportunities offered by Windows Media Corona. Earlier this month at NAB2002 some of the leading developers of professional video and audio production hardware and software including Accom, Adobe, Avid, Creative Labs, Discreet, Drastic Technologies, Echo Audio, M-Audio/Midiman, Steinberg, Syntrillium and Winnov announced their intent to support Windows Media Corona in their upcoming products and demonstrated early versions of that support. In addition, last December the leading manufacturers of chips for DVD players, representing 90 percent of the DVD processors manufactured and shipped in 2000, announced they will add support over the next year for Windows Media Corona audio and video.

Building on the industry-leading Windows Media Audio and Video codecs, Windows Media Corona, which was previewed in December 2001, will introduce two new professional-level audio and video codecs. The new Windows Media Audio Professional is the first codec to enable Web-based delivery of 6-channel surround sound with full-spectrum, full-resolution audio (24 bit/96 kHz sampling). A new version of the Windows Media Video codec provides a
20 percent efficiency boost compared with the previous version and also introduces the ability to provide high-definition video resolutions at file sizes half that of today’s DVDs for local playback on the PC.

Combined with the new advancements in DXVA and the chip support form these leading companies, Windows Media Corona Video and the new Windows Media Audio Professional surround sound capabilities will set a new standard of quality for video viewing experiences streamed or downloaded on a PC. Windows Media Corona technology will be available in beta late this summer.

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