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Broadcom announces Crystal HD chip

Broadcom announces Crystal HD chip

Broadcom's new Crystal HD chip promises full HD playback and hardware Flash acceleration on netbooks.

If you're still hankering for a netbook capable of full 1080p HD playback - or even just one that doesn't chug while playing the higher quality streams on YouTube - Broadcom might have the solution for you.

Earlier this week the company announced the Crystal HD BCM70015 single-chip processor for netbooks which promises a whole host of high-definition multimedia fun, all hopefully without draining the battery too much.

The "low power, low cost solution" certainly ticks a lot of boxes, starting with hardware acceleration for Adobe's Flash and Microsoft's Windows Media Player - along with "other third-party media players including both commercial and open-source [software]."

Next up is the news that the chip will support Blu-ray playback, with full decoding of both standard definition and high definition content in H.264/AVC, MPEG-2, VC-1, WMV9, MPEG-4, DivX, Xvid, and AVS with the promise of no dropped frames even when the main system CPU is heavily loaded.

Interestingly, Broadcom is releasing the chip in two packages: a single chip which can be integrated into the motherboard at design time, and a PCI Express mini-card which can be easily added to existing motherboards - meaning manufacturers can start adding the Crystal HD processor into their systems without the need to completely re-tool for a new motherboard layout.

While the Crystal HD chip has been in the company's public pipeline since back in June when comments were made at Computex suggesting a launch in the first half of 2010, this is the first firm announcement the company has made suggesting the product is almost ready for release. As usual, pricing information is not yet available - nor is there any hint that the chip will be made available at retail for system modders hoping to add the mini-PCIe variant into their existing netbooks.

Does the thought of full-speed HD playback on a netbook fill you with joy, or are you struggling to see the point on devices which rarely come with HDMI outputs and have tiny, low-resolution displays? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

10 Comments

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OWNED66 24th December 2009, 09:10 Quote
wow
getting HD without the cons
Cupboard 24th December 2009, 16:57 Quote
Hardware flash support sounds good to me, tempting to get one to put in my laptop, it can struggle with the more difficult flash games even with a 1.8GHz C2D.

I may finally have a use for the empty "HSDPA" slot.

Do we know how it compare in power consumption to an ION chipset, bearing in mind you will have to have the Intel one too?
HourBeforeDawn 24th December 2009, 18:15 Quote
Quote:
Does the thought of full-speed HD playback on a netbook fill you with joy

yes, yes it does ^_^
rickysio 29th December 2009, 01:54 Quote
I prefer if manufacturers used ION over this, but what the heck, I should count my blessings before wanting more.
IanW 29th December 2009, 06:44 Quote
Broadcom are Linux haters.
They've never released linux drivers for their wifi chips, they won't for this.
I'm looking towards ION for next time.
RichCreedy 30th December 2009, 16:38 Quote
can they put one on a low profile pci card, for those atom boards that didnt have an ion chipset ????
hewittd 30th December 2009, 19:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanW
Broadcom are Linux haters.
They've never released linux drivers for their wifi chips, they won't for this.
I'm looking towards ION for next time.

This will be the first then : http://www.broadcom.com/support/crystal_hd/
hewittd 30th December 2009, 19:51 Quote
TomH 31st December 2009, 19:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by hewittd
Already on the way to XBMC : http://xbmc.org/davilla/2009/12/29/broadcom-crystal-hd-its-magic/
I would have preferred that they'd created a back-end to VA-API for the Linux support and then seen to implementing further support for that within XBMC, but it's really, really awesome to see a unilateral support coming for a new piece of hardware so soon. Now to see about buying one in PCI-E x1 guise!
IanW 1st January 2010, 06:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by hewittd
This will be the first then : http://www.broadcom.com/support/crystal_hd/

Read that, colour me genuinely surprised.
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