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Nvidia talks Purevideo HD

GeForce 7950GX2 first HDCP enabled Nvidia card

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Computex 2006 Nvidia was talking up Purevideo HD at Computex last week, saying you can now purchase machines that support the Purevideo HD technology.

Nvidia's GeForce 7950GX2 seems to be its first product that is universally enabled for HDCP.

The reason for this is quite simple. Nvidia has had HDCP compliant GPUs for some time and most of the GeForce 6 series of GPUs are compatible with Purevideo HD, but you need a special bond of the GPU in question. This explains why there hasn't been a huge uptake of HDMI cards from Nvidia's partners.

The reason for this special version of the GPU is simply because the GPU has to interface with an HDCP crypto chip, which can't be done using the normal versions. There's also a cost increase due to the additional chip and HDCP licence. Nvidia offers the special bond version of its GPU along with the crypto chip to its partners.

But this is only half of the story, as you need playback software to play retail HD content from HD DVD or Blu-Ray discs. As you may recall, DVD encryption was cracked because a PC software DVD player made some of its keys accessible. The movie industry doesn't want to see this mistake repeated - and this time around, software companies have been under a lot more pressure.

CyberLink, alongside Intervideo and Nero, are the only applications currently available that meet the software requirements to play back retail HD discs. These applications can also take advantage of Nvidia's Purevideo HD decoder.

CyberLink actually went as far as stating that you'd need a quad core CPU to be able to do smooth CPU decoding of HD video without Nvidia's hardware acceleration.

There are no signs from ATI that it is ready for retail HD video playback, but this may be a minor issue, as the optical drives are still few and far between and cost a small fortune.

However, Nvidia was quick to point out that there are already over 100 retail HD discs - a mix of both formats - available to purchase. ®

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