When Adobe launched a public beta of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 yesterday, the company released a list of graphics cards that could work with the software to enable hardware-accelerated HD Flash video playback. Along with graphics cards from NVIDIA, ATI, and Intel, the Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Media Accelerator was on that list.

The Broadcom video accelerator isn’t a standalone graphics card. Rather, it’s a low cost add-on for netbooks and other notebooks that enables HD video playback on low power machines that wouldn’t otherwise be able to handle 720p and 1080p content. The HP Mini 110 is the first netbook I’m aware of that ships with an optional Broadcom HD accelerator, but a number of users have been picking up the cards on eBay and installing them in netbooks from other manufacturers.

And now we’re starting to see reports indicating that the Broadcom Crystal HD card does indeed help netbook users display Flash video from sites including YouTube at resolutions up to 1080p. Duekey posts in the Adobe forums that it helps to skip the HD button in YouTube and instead append &fmt=37 to the end of the video you want to watch. And MyHPMini forum member neonkoala says that he was able to watch 720p movie trailers on YouTube with smooth playback.

If you have a Broadcom video accelerator in your Intel Atom powered netbook and you’ve installed Flash Player 10.1 beta, let us know how it went in the comments.

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5 replies on “Confirmed: Adobe Flash 10.1 plays well with Broadcom’s HD video accelerator”

  1. Gee, &fmt=37 seem to disable the HD option in YouTube. Seems counterproductive.

  2. Does anyone know what Atom powered netbooks have an extra PCIe slot? I’m thinking that for the cost of this card + a closeout older model you could make out $100 better than the new ION machines and still get the HD playback.

  3. I pulled the wifi card out of my NC10 (still running Win7 RC1) and replaced it with a Crystal HD card. Then I installed the Flash Player 10.1 beta and toyed around with it. I will say it’s a dramatic improvement. HD content that used to display as a slideshow is now playing at a pretty decent clip in YouTube. I was even able to watch 1080p videos at something like a decent frame rate. The bottleneck with HD content on netbooks now appears to be the network and disk overhead. The IE UI surrounding the video was really sluggish/non-responsive while the video played more or less flawlessly.

    There are a few different drivers out there for the Crystal HD. I had originally been using one dating back to January, but updated to the latest one on the HP site, and it was noticeably faster. I may get better results if I update to the final Win7 release, but for now, I can say people will be a lot happier with Flash-based video if they’re using this or the ION chipset. (Disclaimer: I work for Adobe, but I don’t work on Flash Player directly.)

  4. Just bought the card on eBay after reading this article and it should be here soon. Wanted to beat the rush, but there are plenty more you can buy from China with free shipping for 25 bucks. JKKmobile has a good video of him plugging in 3G modems to an open pci-e slot. Hopefully it works with this card too!

    Will post how it works in my HP Mini 1000 when I get it. I’m running a dual boot with Win7 RC/Ubuntu UNR 9.10

    1. Card went in quite easily. The driver works flawlessly but the software from Adobe, the 10.1 beta, is the buggiest darn thing ever. I can’t wait for the final release from Adobe, but I can confirm that the card does work with my HP mini 1000.

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