Hardware DVD Decoder

If i buy a Hardware DVD Decoder, for example the Creative Dxr3, will I be able to watch my DVD’s without instaling WinDVD or PowerDVD?

No sorry, you still need software to play a DVD. The only thing a hardware DVD recorder does is decode the MPEG stream for you, so you don’t need to use your CPU or VGA card for that. On modern systems there’s no real need for such a card (unless you have specific needs), this can be done without any troubles…

But will i have to use WDVD or PDVD, or can i use a freeware player that normaly wouldnt support doecoding DVD’s?

Decoding DVD’s is more than just MPEG-2 decoding, it also involves unscrambling the CSS content protection. You will still need a DVD program.

i used to have a dxr3 board, back when i bought it (win 98 sort of time) it came with a software player on disk, which i forget the name of so i didn’t have to buy any other software. I bought the encore 12x infra, however my experience in xp with it was crap, the released beta drivers that didn’t work well.

Most systems can handle MPEG-2 decoding easily these days anyway. If you still want a hardware decoder though, the best solutions are either a Sigma Designs RealMagic Xcard (which will do DivX and MPEG-4 as well) for under $100, or if you’re willing to spend the big bucks, a Hauppauge WinTV PVR 350, which will hardware decode and encode MPEG-2, as well as have a full TV tuner.

if you have lots and lots of cash, and you can track them down you could get one of the new nvidia cards which come with an onboard mpeg-2 decoder. But not many people would be willing to spend that much on a graphics card…

I used to have some Sigma Hollywood card. As stated in previous posts, it comes with its own DVD player program. The good point for this is that you can have it on less than 200MHz CPU and it runs, unlike new PowerDVD that need 2000MHz to work smoothly :slight_smile:

As the owner of one of those said nVidia cards, I’m not impressed with the decode capabilities. Fortunately my system is fast enough that I don’t need it for MPEG-2.

@lonewolf15, really? thats quite interesting i’d never heard of what the decoding capabilities were like just that they had them…

Uhm… you know, about any video card have MPEG-2 acceleration today.
ATi, nVidia, S3/VIA etc.

yeah but i thought the new nvidia ones came with this special onboard decoder, therefore taking the cycles off the cpu and onto the gpu. I know that all cards come with some sort of mpeg-2 acceleration (hell, my old voodoo 3 came with it) but these ones were supposed to work like a hardware decoder.

PureVideo…main benefit is for Windows Media Video acceleration and is supposedly non-functional with the 6800 chips but functional with 6600 chips. lots of controversy about this on various tech forums around the web.

I had one of those dxr3 crads when I had only a pentium 166 mmx system. Needed it to play dvds because my processor just couldnt cope. The creative software and drivers were really crap so I used the hollywood magic Plus software and drivers and they worked without any problems.

Yes, the NV40/45 GPU chips (namely all AGP 6800 cards and PCIe 6800GT/6800Ultra cards) will not decode WMV9 in hardware like they were supposed to. nVidia has also downplayed their previous advertisement that onboard hardware video encoding was also supported; I have yet to see a Geforce 6 class card that will do this. The GPU will still do at least partial hardware MPEG-2 decode, but any P3 system 500MHz can do this if you’re not multitasking, or with faster CPU’s even if you are. How well the hardware decode works is up to opinion, seeing as nVidia has now laid down a number of guidelines of what software you have to install to get this to work; in fact in most cases you’re required to purchase nVidia’s DVD Decoder software for an additional 20 bucks, leaving a lot of folks feeling really ripped off.
I’m tempted to pull the trigger on a Hauppauge WinTV PVR-150 for the things I want to do, but I’m almost tempted to wait and see if something comes out shortly that will hardware encode MPEG-4 in addition to MPEG-2.

im tempted to go back to ATI due to the “mishandling” of this issue by nvidia.

i had 2 NV cards, then 1 ATI, and another NV. time for another ATI card methinks.

When the X800XL is available in AGP, you can bet I’ll be eyeing it. The SLI issue hasn’t been handled very well by nVidia either.

why hasn’t the SLI issue been handled well? I’ve seen the benchmarks for it etc, look pretty good but the cards are very hard to get a hold of apperently. Just interested, as i’ll probably never have enough cash to own two top end cards with SLI!

A large number of games don’t support SLI. Some never will. Unlike the Voodoo2 SLI situation, where all games that supported the APIs worked (DirectX, OpenGL, Glide), nVidia must code support for specific games into an .xml list that is part of the drivers and enable support for the game in SLI mode. Some games that have problems with SLI are in the list too, but set to SLI disabled (MS FlightSim `04, Everquest 2, etc.) and some games may eventually get support, but don’t have it now, and with nVidia’s slow driver releases, some games may go from new to old before support is enabled. This also raises the question: If a game developer at some point gets in a tiff with nVidia, will their game ever see SLI support?

Games that do not support SLI will run at the same speed or slightly slower than in a one-card machine. nVidia has been far from open about this to the “average joe” consumer, so many people believe that SLI makes all games faster. I actually got modded down on Slashdot for pointing the above out, and called incorrect or a liar by several others.

SLI is mainly for those concerned with benchmarking right now (i.e 3dmark03,05, aquamark, etc.). the price premium isn’t quite commensurate with the performance benefit (yet).