Greetings from Vista
I’m back inside Windows Vista again, this time permanently, I hope.
Why? Well, it all started when my brother put together a new computer, a quad core system with 4 GB of RAM to enable more efficiency in his DVD projects (the first of which I hope will be announced before very much longer). Among the components he picked up for it was a new video card, an ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro, which gave him access to the advanced deinterlacing and other hardware video acceleration technologies that weren’t available on his previous Radeon X800. As I previously explained, problems in the hardware video acceleration department were responsible for me crawling back to Windows XP with my tail between my legs. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I discovered that he was getting perfectly good deinterlacing, with subtitles, in Vista using Windows Media Player.
Above: Note the blockiness in the reds
A reinstall of Vista later and I discovered the reason for my video problems. It seems that installing the ArcSoft TotalMedia TV recording software that came with my TV stick buggered up Vista’s EVR video decoding, to the extent that, even when I uninstalled TotalMedia and removed all references to it in the registry, it still continued to be borked. Completely reinstalling Vista was the only way to solve the problem, and solve it it did. (I don’t need TotalMedia anyway because Vista Home Premium comes with the very slick Windows Media Center, which has its own TV viewing and recording capabilities.)
So, here I am, just about as happy as I can possibly be with Vista. There are still some niggles to be worked out - it looks as if EVR video playback, at least on this video card with these drivers, suffers from blocky chroma upsampling (see the image above, from Pocahontas) - but the situation is much better than it was before.
Update, May 2nd, 2008 02:42 PM: Well, slap my face! It turns out XP’s handling of chroma upsampling (in PowerDVD, Media Player or Media Player Classic - take your pick) is identical to that of Vista, and I can’t say it’s bothered me unduly before. It just goes to show the things you spot when you’re in nitpick mode. Ah well, at this point I can’t claim that XP offers anything that Vista doesn’t give me, so I suppose you can officially call the earlier operating system dead and buried as far as my system is concerned.