NVDVD ReviewOriginal Page URL: http://www.digital-digest.com/dvd/software/players/nvdvd.html
Author/Publisher: Digital Digest
Date Added: Dec 2, 2002
Date Updated: Dec 2, 2002
Introduction:NVIDIA are well known for their great range of display adapter chipset, notable the GeForce line that is probably the most popular at the moment. One thing you do notice when you purchase an NVIDIA based graphics card is that the bundled DVD software, often, is outdated and not optimized for the NVIDIA chipset. And so, it seems, NVIDIA has released their very own DVD software player, suitable named, NVDVD.
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Below is a review for the latest version of NVDVD.
Video quality was more than acceptable, and would please the average user. However, from a reviewer's point of view, the video quality was a little disappointing. The overall sharpness of the picture was a little lacking, especially during heavy movement (it did not matter which deinterlacing method was selected in the setup). This could be attributed to a contrast problem with the picture, which sees some color bleeding occuring. There also seems to be quite a few more video artificacts than the same scene played back in WinDVD, for example. All in all, as a casual viewer, you probably won't notice these things, and so video quality is acceptable.
NVDVD uses Directshow decoders (but not in the usual fashion - more on that later) for decoding the video and audio. From first appearance, the decoders are quite good in terms of efficiency, and I must say that with 1+ GHz processor these days, efficiency is not the most important factor anymore. While the NVDVD decoders produced smooth playback with no jerkiness in either audio or the video, I did notice that the scrolling of web pages was very jerky, which probably means the decoder is taking up quite a bit of CPU time. This did not happen with players such as WinDVD or PowerDVD. Of course, most people won't usually playback a DVD while browsing the web. On anything but the most budget systems sold these days, the decoder's efficiency won't be a problem, and here was no exception - in other words, there are not the most efficient decoders, but it probably won't matter (if you don't intend to use your computer for other applications while watching a DVD).
The graphic acceleration support is, as expected, tipped towards NVIDIA based graphics card. There is hardware acceleration support in the form of Motion Compensation for NVIDIA based cards (that supports MC). For further information, please refer to the features list readme file (note : this list may only apply for NVDVD 1.x versions only).
Multi speaker support (2/4/6) is featured, with support for a wide range of sound cards (including most in the Creative range, and of course, the NVIDIA nForce audio chip). Unfortunately, I had trouble getting 4 and 6 speaker modes to work, although 2 speaker output worked without any problems. I had the exact same problem with the 1.x version of NVDVD. The quality of the audio was quite good, although on the default "Dynamic Range Control" setting. Volume improved considerably when the DRC setting was changed to "Late Night" and matched (and just beat) the volume level of PowerDVD, although it could not compare to the volume level of WinDVD, the leader in terms of audio quality at the moment. For further information, please refer to the features list readme file (note : this list may only apply for NVDVD 1.x versions only).
Only a single subtitle is supported, and there is closed caption support. Default settings (for audio, menu, subtitles) can be setup in the properties section.
Video capture is supported, and is quite advanced. The user can select either to capture to a JPEG file or to a BMP file. A captured image browser, with option to delete, set as background or send the picture through email, is available. There was no option to capture to the clipboard, which I found a little disappointing, since this is the option I would use most often. But the other options are simply a great thing to have.
User interface is quite a subjective thing, and while there are some scientific benchmarks one can take, in the end, it still depends much on personal experience. I must say that out of all the software DVD players I have ever used, NVDVD ranks as one of the best.
One thing I have concerns over is the stability of NVDVD, and any Directshow based players. The problem is that installing new Directshow filters won't usually replace existing filters that are already in your computer. However, this is not a problem here, as the Direcshow filters that NVDVD use are localized, in that, they are accessed directly by the player, and not through the usual "register filter in Windows registry" method.
NVDVD is Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) Certified and works on Windows ME, 2000 and XP - although Windows 98 SE is not stated as being supported on the feature list, it should be supported since it is very similar to ME - I actually tested this software in Windows 98 SE for this review.
Zooming support for NVDVD is one of the best I've seen - bringing together the best aspects of PowerDVD and WinDVD's zoom functions. First of all, just like PowerDVD, there are presets to allow you to zoom into a widescreen movie and turn it into a full screen picture, with suitable moused based panning. There there is also a WinDVD 3.x like free zoom, where you mark out a region using the mouse to zoom to (this feature, unfortunately, has been removed for some reason from the latest version).
NVDVD is priced at a very affordable $39.95. On the surface this may appear to present excellent value, but you have to factor in the limited feature-set, comprared to other players such as PowerDVD 5.0 (also at $39.95).
NVDVD 2.0 Overall result
NVDVD is a quality player with some very good features, in particular the capturing and zooming functions. Although video and audio quality is not the best around, it is more than adequate for normal or casual usage. It's pricing, being lower than most other DVD software players, makes it extremely attractive, although those looking for better audio support (eg. DTS) will have to look elsewhere. Overall a good all around player with many good features - it should give the powerhouses of the software DVD player market, PowerDVD and WinDVD, a run for their money.
System RequirementsProcessor : PII-400 (without HWMC*)
Graphics card : DirectX 8.x compatible chips
Memory : 32 MB
Sound card : 48kHz PCI recommended
DVD-ROM drive : 1x or better DVD-ROM drive
Operating system : Windows 9x/Me/2000/XP
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