Credit: PC Pro

Intel’s Pine Trail platform wasn’t designed to give netbooks a huge performance boost. For most day to day tasks, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between a netbook with an Atom N450 processor and GMA 3150 graphics and one with an older Atom N270 CPU and GMA 950 graphics. But there’s one thing that Pine Trail netbooks can do that older Atom powered mini-laptops can’t: handle 1080p HD video playback.

Surprised? Well, the truth of the matter is that most Pine Trail netbooks won’t do this out of the box. But it turns out that’s a software issue rather than a hardware one. The drivers that come with Windows 7 aren’t optimized for 1080p HD video playback. So while most videos with resolutions of 720p or lower will play back fine in Windows Media Player, you’re going to need to install some software if you want to be able to watch 1080p content without first transcoding it.

I’ve already told you that the latest version of the Jolicloud Linux-based operating system brings support for 1080p video in a variety of formats including MPEG4, DivX, and Xvid. And you don’t have to wipe Windows off of your hard drive in order to install Jolicloud. The operating system makes dual-boot setups pretty easy. But if you’d rather not have to reboot your netbook to watch a video, there is apparently another way.

The folks at PC Pro discovered that you can purchase CoreCodec’s CoreAVC codec for Windows for $9.95 in order to add support for 1080p AVC or H.264 video playback to a Windows netbook with a Pine Trail processor. The CoreAVC codec won’t work with every media player, but a safe bet is the free Media Player Classic Home Cinema.

Of course, while some netbooks have 720p, 1366 x 768 pixel displays, I don’t think we’re going to be seeing any 10 inch netbooks with native 1080p screens anytime soon. But if you have a large collection of 1080p videos that you’d like to be able to watch on the go without first transcoding them to a lower resolution format, Jolicloud and/or the CoreAVC codec may be the way to go.

via Slashdot

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9 replies on “Pine Trail netbooks can handle 1080p HD video – with a little help”

  1. I don’t know how much faster an N450 is than a Celeron-M 353, but I can barely play all 720p encodes on my eee PC 900HD. And I both use CoreAVC 2.0 *and* overclock the processor to 1.1GHz.

    And it still has problems keeping up.

    (Maybe without softsubs it’d work better, since rendering subtitles eats almost as much CPU time as decoding the video…)

  2. Seriously Brad, I honestly don’t know what is the fixation about playing 1080p on a netbook. Most people don’t bother. They only play 720p. Why? Firstly, 1080p files are super huge. Secondly, 720p and 1080p really has no difference to the eyes on a netbooks resolution.

    Come on, even on a FULL HD (1080p) plasma, you hardly can see any real visible difference from a HD Ready (720p) unit, so do you think people can ee the difference on a netbook?

    No one cares if netbooks can play 1080p. Even if you look at torrents, most people go for 720p mkv files. No one even bothers downloading 1080p.

    And why play a 1080p Bluray? The netbook does not even have a normal dvdrw writer, what more a BluRay player. And it defeats its purpose of portability if you are going to carry an external bluray player to hook into your netbook.

    1. Well it makes perfect sense if you play the “rips” available on the net. A 1080p AVC would play perfectly fine on a modern laptop/desktop, on the contrary a netbook may suffer from frame skips and jerks. In case you prefer not to re-encode the entire video, it’s just convenient to install CoreAVC and let it perform for you.

      I’ve tested this on my HP 210 Netbook powered by N450 CPU which now seamlessly plays Full HD through Gom Player (with internal codecs disabled). And just in case you are troubled by the codec affair, there is CorePlayer that does the same and it’s hardly over two Mb…sparks up in no time.

      And while there might not be significant difference between 720p and 1080p on a plasma, there certainly a noticiable difference when it comes to LCD/OLED display of a laptop/desktop.

  3. I don’t get it, what chip or hardware device does the actuall HD hardware acceleration in the 3150 then?

  4. Didn’t the Pine Trail GPU specs state it couldn’t output more than 1440×900 from the VGA out? Haven’t heard about anyone confirming or proving this info wrong, but I saw it on official Intel docs…

  5. Not having a Pine Trail machine to try this on, what about the K-Lite codec pack? I’ve yet to come across a chipset that doesn’t benefit from it.

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