The Intel Atom N270 and N280 processors found in most netbooks can handle 720p HD video playback reasonably well. But they tend to choke on higher resolution 1080p videos. DigiTimes reports that Intel is working with Broadcom to address that for the launch of the new Pine Trail platform later this year.

Notice I said “Pine Trail,” and not “Pineview.” That’s because Pine Trail describes the platform, while Pineview will be the next generation Atom processor itself. Intel won’t be building the HD video decoding capabilities onto the CPU. Rather, the company will offer the Broadcom BCM70015 graphics chip as an option for computer makers that want enhanced video performance. The chip can handle 1080p while using less than 1W of power and play 720p video using less than half of that. The chip will work with Windows and Linux and supports MPEG2, H.264, WMV9, VC-1, and AVC.

But it sounds like it won’t be included standard on every Intel Atom powered netbook. That’s probably a good thing, since it will keep the price down (as well as battery consumption) on non-HD models, while offering improved HD video performance for customers who want it. But it does add one more variable that netbook shoppers will have to keep an eye on later this year.

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5 replies on “Next gen Intel Atom chips could feature better HD video performance”

  1. Seems like I am the only person out here that doesn’t care about HD on a netbook. My Sammy plays Hulu videos just fine. With 600 vertical lines of resolution on the screen anything more is just a waste. Yes I can hook it up to an external monitor, but I have desktops that can feed large monitors or HDTVs, why use a netbook?

    1. You are not alone. 1080p playback and HDMI ports on a netbook are very low on my priority list.

      I don’t see a laptop replacing my desktop computer anytime soon. Desktops still offer the most power and biodegradability for the dollar. A netbook just needs to get me on the internet and open up office documents.

  2. I’ve been wondering whether Intel would look into any kind of outside media co-processor chip for a while now. You constantly hear about these little chips put into various pieces of consumer electronics that help them decode 1080 h.264 content, or various other codecs, and I’d wondered if it was even possible to integrate them into a standard netbook. Thankfully it appears you can.

    Of course others are taking matters into their own hands. As you reported yourself, the Aspire 571 is going to have a Quartics QV1721 chip…which according their own site actually claims to accelerate *flash* codecs as well as the standards of H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2…with full support for linux at launch.

    Interesting times to continue to have my infatuation with a netbook/nettop HTPC…now if the XBMC folks can get this thing working under linux…

  3. Pineview? Pine Trail? Doen’t matter because if it doesn’t ‘bring the goods’ it will be called ‘what nobody wants’ or ‘I’d pay $100 more for ION.’

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