ATI Avivo Video Pipeline
Another major addition to ATI's GPU core architecture is their recently announced Avivo video and display pipeline. ATI thinks so much of Avivo, that they actually made a separate announcement outlining the technology a few weeks ago. Basically, Avivo is the name ATI has given to a number of enhancements that have all been made to various stages of the video and display pipeline in the X1000 family and accompanying "Theater" chips. Avivo was designed to enhance overall video quality, and better prepare the PC for playback of high-definition content like H.264 and VC1.
Each stage of the video pipeline, which ATI breaks down into five separate groups, has been enhanced in some way by Avivo. The Capture stage of the pipeline has capabilities that include automatic gain control, a 3D comb filter, 12-bit analog to digital converters, and noise reduction capabilities (Rage Theater). The Encode stage of the pipeline is enhanced by hardware based encoding, and GPU assisted transcoding of H.264, VC-1, WMV 9, WMV 9-PMC, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and DivX media (this feature likely won't be available until exposed in ATI's Catalyst drivers sometime late in the year). And the decode stage of the pipeline also features hardware assisted decoding of H.264, VC-1, WMV 9, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4.
In addition to the features previously found in older ATI GPU architectures, the Post Processing stage of the Avivo video pipeline is further enhanced by a new vector adaptive de-interlacing algorithm and an advanced video scaler that helps preserve fine detail when scaling video up or down. Which finally brings us to the display stage of the pipeline. This stage is enhanced with a number of new capabilities that include a Xilleon TV Encoder leveraged from ATI's CE division, dual-link DVI support with 10-bit/16-bit output, and HDCP and HDMI support. The 10-bit Avivo display engine also performs Gamma and Color correction, scaling / compression, and dithering where necessary. The net effect is an increase in quality at every stage of the pipeline, which in turn should generate a better final image.
We should mention that the enhancements made to the display stage of the pipeline affect all aspects of video, including 2D and 3D output, and offer more flexibility in terms of connectivity as well. ATI's goal was to create a video engine that not only increased overall image quality, but was able to connect to virtually any type of display. And best of all, because multiple stages in the pipeline support 10-bit precision, not just the DACs like some older architectures, data integrity is preserved and the final output should be closer to the original input signal.