no-blu-rayIntel’s upcoming GN40 chipset is designed to provide improved HD video playback. But what exactly does that mean? You can already watch plenty of 720p content on a netbook with an Intel Atom N270 CPU and 945GSE chipset.

According to Fuzilla, an Intel product manager says the new Intel Atom N280/GN40 chipset will be able to handle 1080p playback. But it is not designed to decode Blu-Ray discs. In other words, you’ll be able to stream 1080p videos over the internet or watch high quality files stored on your hard drive. But the chipset won’t be able to keep up with Blu-Ray playback.

If you’ve got a netbook, that’s probably not a big deal. After all, most netbooks don’t have optical disc drives at all. And were you really planning on carrying around a USB Blu-Ray drive to plug in?

But if you were planning on picking up a nettop (or low power desktop) with the N280/GN40 combo and using it as a video player, you might want to hold out for NVIDIA’s ION platform to arrive. NVIDIA plans to pair a GeForce graphics processor with an Intel Atom CPU to deliver higher performance graphics. Machines with the ION chipset will probably cost a bit more than Intel-only hardware. And they’ll consume a little more electricity. But they should also be able to handle Blu-Ray playback.

via Netbook

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2 replies on “Intel GN40 chipset supports HD video, but not Blu-Ray”

  1. We had hoped that it would be able to cope with Blu-Ray media, but it’s not the end of the world that it doesn’t. The real question is will it be able to decode a 1080p MKV rip of a Blu-Ray title? It’s a lot lower bit rate so hopefully it will be able too.

    As for streaming HD, I really don’t think it will be able to do that, as I have not heard of a card that can accelerate flash. That’s pretty much a processor thing. Also, support for Intel HW decoding has been pretty lame. The mobo I have in my HTPC has a G45 chipset. With the right software it can decode some HD content, but I have yet to get HW decoding working on MKV files, simply because most of the codecs needed for that are proprietary and complicated to get working with content other than Blu-Rays.

    Even if this can do 720p, as Brad said, we can already do that. My brother got a 1000HE recently and I was able to get it doing 720p MKVs easily with CoreAVC. So this begs the question, why do we need the extra hassle of HW decoding and tweaking if we can already do it? Hopefully the answer is better battery life. If the GN40 chipset is more efficient at it then it might be worth the time to tinker with it.

    In conclusion, I couldn’t care less about it’s decoding capabilities. WHAT I DO WANT IS HDMI OUT!!!

  2. I guess it takes up some real horsepower to decode all the DRM on BluRay. Guess that won’t be in Sony’s marketing material.

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