The Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator is a media coprocessor that lets you watch 1080p HD video even on netbooks with small screens and slow processors. The upside is that you can watch high quality videos without transcoding them. The downside is that not a lot of computers actually ship with the HD video decoder preinstalled. We’ve already seen plenty of people open up Intel Atom-based netbooks and pop an off-the-shelf Broadcom chip inside. Now SammyNetbook forum member La Shred has posted details on how to do the same thing with a Samsung NC20 notebook with a VIA Nano processor.

In order to make room for the Broadcom Crystal HD accelerator, he had to remove the integrated PCI-E wireless card. But he hacked a USB WiFi adpater onto one of the internal USB ports instead.

The end result is a Samsung NC20 12.1″ notebook that can handle 720p video playback with ease — although La Shred says he’s seeing some frame skipping when he tries 1080p HD video.

Unfortunately, while you could pick up a Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator for about $25 on eBay a few months ago, they’re no going for closer to $100.

You can find more photos and details at the SammyNetbook forums.

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6 replies on “Samsung NC20 hack: Adding an HD video decoder”

  1. I’d always said I couldn’t put a crystal HD card in my Eee 900ha because I only had one mini pci-e slot. I’ve already modded it to add a couple of internal USB ports though. Never thought about using a usb stick wi-fi card…Might have to try it.

  2. Brad, why are you so obssessed with 1080p HD content?

    Most HD torrents are 720p and I think many netbooks can play 720p well.

    Nobody downloads 1080p and watches on their netbook. And no netbook has a bluray player either

    1. I have to disagree with you.

      Many videos available on the net have both 720p and 1080p versions posted. I always get the 1080p version if available.

      NO netbooks can play 720p cleanly AT ALL without ION or crystal HD.

      Watching HD video on a netbook is about watching the same video across the highest number of platforms you own without having to convert it. Desktop, laptop, HTPC, netbook, tablet, smartphone, etc.

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