I didn't read all the messages but I've seen a "nVidia's headstart" argument. Unfortunately ATI had it first, literally years ago, in Radeon 8500 era. It was called VideoShaders and VideoSoap. Did anyone hear it? It's unlikely because nobody except ATI tech demos used it. It was a CPU independent video acceleration and post-processing pipeline and worked very well.
I said that. I should have clarified myself more. What I meant was that Nvidia had a headstart when it came to hardware decoding on UNIX-like operating systems.