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Acer to launch HD-ready Aspire One

Acer to launch HD-ready Aspire One

The Acer Aspire One 571 features a HD co-processor to aid the Atom chip in the encoding and decoding of HD video sources.

Acer looks set to finally bring usable media playback to the netbook market with a new Aspire One featuring a rather snazzy co-processor along with a miniature optical drive.

Dubbed the Acer Aspire One 571 and first spotted by macles* – via Fudzilla – the device is a pretty straight forward netbook at first glance. The 10.1” screen and Atom N280 1.66GHz CPU aren't likely to raise any eyebrows, but it's the multimedia functionality that will make this model stand out from the crowd.

The Aspire One 571 is the first netbook to come equipped with a multimedia co-processor from Quartics. The Quartics Q1721 is designed to accelerate the decoding and encoding of HD video – including H.264 sources – with full hardware scaling and filtering for lower definition videos. By giving the Atom N280 a friend in the Quartics chip, Asus are basically ensuring problem-free HD playback – something quite new for a netbook.

The 571 also features an interesting miniature optical drive next to the touchpad. Dubbed Vmedia, the miniature 32mm discs are capable of storing 1GB each – with 2GB versions promised in the near future. Sadly, the Vmedia drive in the 571 is read-only – and will rely on consumers being willing to trade quality for convenience and buy films in a format only usable with a portable device, something Sony struggled with when it launched its own UMD mini optical disc format.

To make the most of the multimedia functionality, Asus have opted to boost the resolution – although not the size – of the screen to a not inconsiderable 1280x720, allowing for full 720p playback of HD content. Anyone who's been looking for a netbook with a more usable screen resolution might have just had their wish granted.

Sadly, there's no announcement from Acer on price or launch date – although it's thought the company will be making more information on the 571 available at the Computex show.

Is the Acer Aspire One 571 the netbook you've been waiting for, or are you put off by the Vmedia drive? Should Acer have just bundled an external Blu-ray drive and had done with it? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

10 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
proxess 19th May 2009, 10:15 Quote
They kind of killed it with the funky media drive, but the rest seems pretty cool.
perplekks45 19th May 2009, 10:33 Quote
Quote:
To make the most of the multimedia functionality, Asus have opted to boost the resolution...
Don't you mean Acer? ;)

And I agree with proxess, why the weird format? UMD failed, MiniDisc failed even though they're not that bad. MD even was/is superior to other comparable formats!

Will people ever learn? :roll:
l3v1ck 19th May 2009, 10:34 Quote
Sorry, but if it's not 1080, then it's not HD in my opinion.
Spiny 19th May 2009, 10:50 Quote
heh, Vmedia drive has FAIL written all over it.
perplekks45 19th May 2009, 10:55 Quote
What is 720p then? MiniHD?
neocleous 19th May 2009, 11:01 Quote
Can you imagine using a 10" at 1920 x 1080 you wouldn't be able to read a word on the screen.
Cupboard 19th May 2009, 12:04 Quote
I like the idea, but there are a few issues. As other people have said, what is the deal with the silly optical drive? especially as it is read only? I wouldn't buy a disk that I could only play on my netbook. It might have a chance if you could buy a Blu Ray disk, then convert it to the mini thingywhatsit but I can't see that happening.

And why didn't they just use Ion? That could have done all they wanted and more and wouldn't require a weird funky extra chip that will probably lack drivers in some scenarios.
pimlicosound 19th May 2009, 12:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cupboard
And why didn't they just use Ion? That could have done all they wanted and more and wouldn't require a weird funky extra chip that will probably lack drivers in some scenarios.

Intel would probably have charged them more for their Atom CPUs if they'd used nVidia Ion. This way they get Atom cheaply as part of the regular Intel platform, but add an extra, cheap chip for multimedia.
thehippoz 19th May 2009, 16:44 Quote
what? the acer one already does 720p playback.. just a resolution change to native 720p looks like.. it's 1080 is what it gets choppy with- and youtube's flash hd, it averages around 3fps.. youtube hq plays fine

I tested 720p when we got ours.. and if you really want 1080p playback (no point on 1024x600) but you can take out the mini pci wireless card and put in a decoder.. use usb for the wireless.. I don't see why they need the extra hardware to decode that
Confused Fishcake 19th May 2009, 18:03 Quote
The mini disc thing is just silly, especially when sd cards are so cheap these days. I can't see a 1gb sd card being much more expensive than one of these discs, and they're more durable and most things already have a sd card reader. Also, my eee pc 1000he is capable of playing 720p h264 video already (albeit only displaying at 1024x600), and without any coprocessor.
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