broadcom comparisonHD video on netbooks is sort of a funny beast. On the one hand, most netbooks don’t have HD displays, which kind of makes me wonder why anyone needs the ability to watch HD video on these little laptops. But a growing number of mini-laptops do have 1366 x 768 pixel or higher resolution displays, and more importantly, there’s  growing amount of HD video out there in the world and you’re not going to want to go through the trouble of converting it to a lower resolution format just so you can watch it on a netbook.

While most Intel Atom based computers have enough oomph to handle 720p video in a variety of formats, 1080p video is another story. One solution is NVIDIA’s Ion platform, which bundles an Atom CPU with an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M GPU to provide enhanced video playback. Another is the Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Video Accelerator, which is basically a co-processor that handles HD video playback in some applications. It’s not a full GPU and doesn’t replace the integrated GMA 950 graphics bundled with most Intel Atom N270 or N280 processors. And oddly, thanks to Intel’s convoluted pricing schemes, that can make Broadcom’s solution cheaper for PC makers than NVIDIA’s.

Right now the only netbook available with the Broadcom solution is the HP Mini 110. Buthow exactly does the Broadcom chip work? Broadcom has put together a little video to show you. You can check it out after the break, but here are the highlights:

  • An HP Mini 110 with the Broadcom chip can handle 1080p with 20% CPU usage, while a Lenovo IdeaPad S10 struggles with the same video while at 100% CPU usage.
  • The Mini 110 needs a special video player in order to handle HD video, Windows Meia Player won’t suffice.

via Portable Monkey

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6 replies on “Broadcom demonstrates video accelerator for netbooks”

  1. Plus, it looks like it would take up the only Mini PCIe slot that most Natom netbook’s have. So in the case of the MSI Wind U100 you would need to open the case, take out the Wifi card put in the HD card put the case back on, watch your video, then reverse the process. Then do it all over again the next time.

  2. Good solution for the N-Atoms. Z-Atoms or the new “Pineview” have a HD-Decoder built in, together with Windows 7 there is no need for third-party decoder chips (Broadcom, ION) or players like PowerDVD ect.

  3. That’s nice, but I have seen versions of Big Buck Bunny that are 720p. Maybe that’s what’s running on the HP.

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