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Product: ATI DVD 1.2
Company: ATI
Review By: Byron Hinson
Where To Buy:

The ATI-DVD Player was the first software DVD Decoder that I ever used. It comes bundled with most ATI AGP graphics cards (Or download it from their site if you got SoftDVD with yours). The ATI DVD Player uses the Cinemaster decoder engine, and that is mostly a good thing. It means that it supports ATI's Hardware Motion Compensation for better picture quality and less processor usage.

How It Grades
Playback Quality: B+
Sound: A-
Use Of Hardware: B
Options: C
Price: N/A
Overall: B+

I'm not going to beat around the bush with this player, the quality of picture and sound is still the best I have seen and heard on any software decoder program, but there are a number of major problems that I would have expected ATI to have fixed by now - yet we are still on version 1.2.

ATI DVD 1.2 crashes, I wouldn't mind one or two crashes every so often, but when you click on Help or About you may get a crash, selecting options may cause a crash...and there are also some bad error messages, for example: I put in a region 2 DVD when the ATI DVD player was set for region 1, but instead of informing me that the region was wrong and that I would need to reinstall the player, I got some bizarre error code that had nothing at all to do with region encoding.

Thankfully with the ATI DVD 1.2 Player you can change the region settings by just uninstalling then reinstalling (Or using the fab region selector). This is a blessing to those of us who order region 1 DVD from the US and import them over to Europe.

Now if you would rather have stability over quality of sound and picture then I would recommend going for the XingDVD player as it almost never crashes no matter what you try, and the XingDVD player also has far, far more options available to fiddle with. I assume with the release of the new ATI Rage Fury cards that ATI will also release a new version of their ATI DVD Player, but whether it will work on older ATI AGP cards is still a mystery that maybe ATI will contact me about.

The Good and The Bad

DVD Player Good:

  • Uses the CineMaster Decoding Engine
  • Nice, well thought out user interface.
  • Can play stand alone VOB files.
  • Comes with an updated (Compared to v1.03j) CineMaster decoding engine.
DVD Player Bad:
  • Uses the CineMaster Decoding Engine.
  • Highly unstable, tends to crash and lock video memory when adjusting the settings forcing reboot before trying to play again.
  • Doesn't seem to bring up the CineMaster driver setting in the control panel
  • No Brightness or RGB control.
  • Low volume problems
  • Problems when using the SoundBlaster Live! card - The volume fades out every so often when certain sounds are played (Mainly gunshots)


Minimum PC requirements for ATI DVD Player:

  • Minimum processor: Pentium II 266MHz
  • DVD drive
  • 32Mb RAM
  • Windows 95 OSR 2.1 with USB or Windows 98
  • Sound Card with DirectSound driver.
  • Direct X 5 installed in Runtime Only mode
  • ATI's Graphics Adapter with Advance Graphics Port (AGP)
  • AGP support.


Reviewers PC Setup

  • Pentium II 450MHz
  • Windows 98
  • 128 Meg RAM
  • Voodoo 2 - 8mb
  • SoundBlaster Live Value
  • Toshiba SD-1202 DVD-ROM - 32x
  • 17" LG Electronics Monitor
  • ATI 8mb XPert AGP Graphics Card


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