Avivo is ATI’s technology for 2D video enhancement, for example, MPEG2 decoding. With a graphics chip with this function, the decoding is done by the graphics chip and not by the system CPU anymore, increasing the system performance, since the CPU will have more free time to do other things at the same time.

In Figure 10, you can see all stages involved on ATI’s Avivo solution. The first two stages – capture and encode – are present inside an external video capture chip, like ATI Rage Theater. If your Radeon X1000 series video card doesn’t have this chip, it won’t have these two stages. Decode, post processing and display stages are embedded in all graphics chips from Radeon X1000 series.

AvivoFigure 10: Avivo pipeline.

Radeon X1000 series chips can decode formats like H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC-1 and WMV9.

The post processing stage includes a de-interlacing engine. Videos originally targeted to TVs are interlaced, because that’s they way TVs work. In interlacing, each video frame has only half of the total lines available. Video monitors used by computers uses non-interlaced scanning, which is capable of showing all line available per frame, so when reproducing this kind of video on your computer, you can see it doesn’t have the best possible quality. A de-interlacing engine creates the missing lines from each video frame, thus improving 2D video quality.

The display stage features gamma correction, color correction, scaling/compression and dithering. In other words, it will correct the image to the best quality. It is interesting to note that this stage works internally using 10-bit color quality. If the digital display used with the video card has 8-bit or 6-bit color quality, the dithering engine will make the proper color conversion.

The display stage also features ATI’s Xilleon processor embedded. Xilleon is a digital TV decoder chip and, according to ATI, 80% of digital TVs in the US use this chip.

AvivoFigure 11: Avivo display stage.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.