Google's open-source WebM video codec has received a boost from Intel's claims that future processors could include in-built hardware acceleration.

According to InfoWorld - quoting comments by Intel's Wilfred Martis - future editions of the low-power netbook-oriented Atom processor range could well include in-built hardware acceleration for the WebM codec.

Martis, Intel's general manager for retail consumer electronics, stated that "if VP8 [on which WebM is based] establishes itself in the Smart TV space, we will add it to our [hardware] decoders" - and if Atom processors for Internet-connected TVs get the support, by extension so will netbooks and slates based around the same processors.

The announcement - which, it must be said, is far from a firm commitment - will come as good news for anyone hoping that Google's open-source codec will take off as the de facto standard for HTML 5 video, but relies on the industry accepting WebM into its heart. With concern growing that the WebM codec could be vulnerable to attack from patent holders - including the MPEG LA group which is in charge of the competing H.264 standard - that's far from a given.

While Google will be hoping that the codec takes off and receives some much-needed support from hardware manufacturers, WebM is likely to remain a niche format for some time yet.

Are you pleased to see that Intel would consider adding hardware support for the WebM codec, or is such support never likely to appear so long as competing codec manufacturers can hold their patent pools over Google like the Sword of Damocles? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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