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Video Quality

Clarity is very good. The gap between WinDVD and Cinemaster for overall video quality was always small, but it gets closer to even now. ATI beats The Patriot every try (WinDVD sometimes gets by and sometimes not), and ATI's new adjustment sliders finally give users needed tweaks to video output that make the race even tighter. Menus strained a bit on ATI 4.1, several titles suffered slowdowns when loading the root menu or selecting menu items. This may be indicative of a change in how Cinemaster handles Alpha Blending acceleration. Menus and screen text are accelerated through a process called Alpha Blending, and issues with menu jerking/hesitation are often due to poor Alpha Blending implementation.

Speed Control playback was very good overall. I should say its actually one of the best, but the passage of time again dims the opinion of ATI's output. Fast-Forward and Rewind on the ATI Player are smooth and very well done. However, as with most things in the ATI player, it is less impressive when compared to the competition. ATI's FF and RW are limited to a single speed of around 8x. There is no single frame step from a pause, and no slow or faster play speeds; just the single preset speeds forward and reverse using the buttons. Still though, other players struggle badly with playback speeds (Especially Rewind) so ATI's clean FF and RW quality is not to be undersold. Very solid.

Tests with Subtitles and Closed Captions enabled were rock solid. Many players strain badly when displaying movie text (Especially closed captions). ATI flew by smoothly even when BOTH were enabled and displaying onscreen simultaneously. Can't argue with success. There was a slight issue with Captions of some movies appearing slightly shaved. The edges of letters in the text seemed cut off slightly. This happens on many players, it has to do with how the disc text is meant to be displayed vs the amount of room given for text by some players. It worked well enough on the ATI player, only slight edging to some letters, but worth a mention. The fact ATI is smooth with movie text showing is enough, since so many players cannot conquer that issue. There is an option to display subtitles/captions in a window instead of on the movies screen (Actually you can do both at once), and it works well, though a bit difficult to get used to.

I sound like I don't like the ATI player, but make no mistakes: I truly believe this is one of the finest players on the market overall, and even better for ATI users. The playback was consistently smooth, it has very good clarity, and it beats all of the torture tests that make mincemeat of even WinDVD and PowerDVD. How can you not appreciate that? I'd like to see more range and features to go with the powerful video engine, but on video quality alone; few players are this good.

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