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