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Unified Video Decoder

Unified Video Decoder is hardware component of graphic engines produced by American company AMD. The decoder is designed for hardware decoding of video data bit streams, compressed by H.264, MPEG-2 and VC-1 video codecs. Initially UVD was developed by the Canadian company ATI Technologies. However soon AMD company has bought it and continued the development, improvement and supporting of UVD. UVD is a part of ATI Avivo HD technology that includes software components needed for operations with UVD.

The UVD specifications are supported by API DirectX Video Acceleration for Microsoft Windows operating systems and Microsoft Xbox 360 game consoles. Video, contained on these two hard-and-software based platforms and encoded by the means of H.624, MPEG-2 and VC-1, can be hardwarily accelerated with the help of UVD. In addition to that, the media player should support DXVA AND UVD for hardware acceleration.

For the UNIX similar operating systems, Linux included, the UVD support is realized through API X-Video Bitstream Acceleration.

Unified Video Decoder is based on the ATI video processor named Xilleon. It is available on all Radeon HD 2000 graphic engines, except Radeon HD 2900. The decoder in question processes the decoding of H.264/AVC and VC-1 video codecs on graphic engines. However after-processing of video is carried out by GPU shaders. MPEG-2 is also not supported by UVD, being fulfilled on shaders.

The Unified Video Decoder meets the requirements of specifications and performance of Blu-Ray and HD DVD. It is able to decode H.624 video streams with a bit rate up to 40 Mbps. UVD is supported by Context adaptive binary arithmetic coding for H.624.

UVD processes the variable length code, context adaptive variable length coding, frequency transform, context-adaptive binary arithmetic coding, inloop deblocking and pixel predition. The post-processing of video that includes deinterlacing, denoising, scaling and resizing is performed on shaders.

Why Do You Need a DVD Decoder?

There are hardware based decoders and DVD software decoders. The hardware based decoders are recommended for people who have computers operating on the basis of Pentium 90..200. There is no need of some additional potentialities of a video board. This fact represents an obvious advantage of the given decoder. Its connection to the video board is effectuated thanks to the passthrough connection by analogy of 3D daughter cards on the basis of Voodoo/Voodoo2 by 3Dfx. It is worth mentioning that a hardware based decoder will display all its performance capabilities by depicting the image on TV screen. The advantages of video transfer to TV screens have a range of advantages. First of all one may single out the big size of picture, the capability of TV connection in the ratio 16:9. The capability of such operating is specified in a great number of DVD discs. In addition, hardware based decoders have S/PDIF connectors. Thus by connecting a special receiver with corresponding audiosystem , which is equipped by AC3 or DTS decoder, you will receive multi-channel sound and will change your computer into DVD drive-in theater. However the side effect is explained by the fact that many TV sets have small resolution, therefore one can not see a maximal size picture.

Hardware based decoders are very easy to use. The video is transferred independently on TV screen. So you can work at your computer, while the others may watch a film. Owners of the computers which operate on the basis of Pentium 11/ Celeron 300+ processors can install software decoders. The given decoders imply the hard-ware-based supporting of overlay video boards. This function is of great importance because it ensures the video transfer to the screen without speed and ranging losses. In this case while purchasing a video-board it is advisable to give preference to such video-boards, which have TV-Out. Generally software DVD decoders are supplied with the unit of a video board. They can also be purchased per Internet.