Quartics QVU video processor brings HD, 3D playback to netbooks

There are a growing number of solutions for improving the graphics performance of low power netbooks. NVIDIA and Broadcom have the two most popular solutions at the moment, with NVIDIA’s ION platform replacing the Intel Atom’s integrated graphics with the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M chipset, and Broadcom’s Crystal HD Accelerator working alongside the integrated graphics to accelerate HD video playback. Now it looks like there may be a third player: Quartics.

The company’s Qvu platform works sort of like Broadcom’s solution. It doesn’t replace the integrated graphics, but rather comes into play when you’re running an application that needs the extra boost. The Qvu chip can handle 1080p HD video playback. But that’s just the start. It can also do real-time conversion of 2D video to 3D. And even with 2D content the Quartics card doesn’t just play the video. It actually enhances the video as it plays, enhancing the contrast and tweaking a few other things to generally make even low quality YouTube videos look better.

Laptop Magazine’s Dana Wollman got a chance to check out the Qvu platform in action, and she was pretty impressed. Quartics is targeting the product at netbooks, televisions, and set-top boxes. It’s not clear what adding Qvu to a netbook would do to the price, and the company doesn’t plan to sell the product to end users. But it does provide netbook makers with another option for improving video quality on netbooks.