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  • tdnelson - Saturday, January 02, 2010 - link

    If only Broadcom Hardware Decoder would work with Adobe Premiere CS4 and AVCHD video, it would save me a lot of money on an editing system. I could just get the BHD and put it in my laptop and have a marginally functional editing system to edit the footage from my Canon Vixia HF20. Instead, my only option now is to buy a new computer with a CUDA supported video card. If I want accelerated rendering, I'll have to buy a Quadro FX. Someday somebody will figure out how to bring HD video editing to the masses at an affordable price. Reply
  • aleutia - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    Great post. We've always used Zotac Ion boards to run XBMC but the dual core version requires a fan and the single cores are expensive.

    The Intel D945GSEJT just has an N270 but it's a) fanless b) has a Mini PCIe slot and c) has a DVI port. You'd still be stuck with mediocre sound.

    Has anyone tested this?
  • office boy - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    You could still get good sound (not trueHD etc but 5.1), There is a S/PDIF header just above the pci slot and ALC662 should do 5.1. Reply
  • marc1000 - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    I guess it's the age of "good enough" really.. LOL! Reply
  • marc1000 - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    It was not clear if this card will work on windows. Linux is fine, but a great part of the atom PC's sold are running windows XP (only the absolutely newest of them will run win7). what about support for this OS? Reply
  • T2k - Saturday, January 02, 2010 - link

    All Atom-based netbooks run Windows 7 just fine, I personally installed it on at least 3-4 diff brands. Reply
  • stmok - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Your question will be answered when you click on this link...
  • marc1000 - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    yeah, I found lots of information on their website. It's funny that a media player for Xbox 1 gre "self living".. hehe Reply
  • JNo - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    "We finally have tons of machines that come in these tiny little boxes... that hook straight up to our TVs... Definitely fast enough to browse a bunch of movies or TV shows, but generally too slow to play back high definition video."

    Did I read this correctly? I presume you're only talking about devices that fit the traditional PC build (eg nettops)? Seeing as there's mention of Apple TV though, there's loads of other good stuff out there that has been able to decode 1080p for ages...

    Even my *year old* WDTV was able to play all but the highest bit rate 1080p files.. and the newer WDTV Live should be even more capable.

    Currently have and Xtreamer. It's made by a v enthusiastic korean company. No distributors, just direct sale from internet to keep costs down (€99 or £99). Much more powerful chip than original WDTV and there is now a passive cooled version.

    Plays 1080p mkvs no probs. And it can decode DTS and output it either 5.1 or downmixed to stereo over HDMI (or spdif/optical). No more converting. And get this: it can also output DTS-HD MA, DTS-HD HR and Dolby True HD too. Supports BluRay ISO format plus supports multichannel FLAC on movies.

    Plus has ethernet adaptor +wireless-n optional adaptor antenna, plus internal 2.5" HDD bay. Can use uPnP, SAMBA, FTP. Uses internet for youtube, flickr,, internet radio, has iphone remote app +much more (though this side a little unrefined at moment).

    Active forums with developer participation. Google "xtreamer mavvy" for a comprehensive review.
  • TheNuts - Monday, January 04, 2010 - link

    Uh, I do not believe either the WDTV or the Xtreamer can passthrough Dolby True HD or DTS-MA (non core) Reply
  • fangwoo - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    this will take the slot in most devices that is occupied by the wifi card. lame. Reply
  • kingtrae - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I'm really intrigued to know what case that was that was featured in the article near the top. does anyone know? Reply
  • aleutia - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    It's a T3500 Morex case. $80 on eBay and not a bad form factor though I prefer the World Top ( IT-02. Reply
  • Soulkeeper - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    excellent news
  • LTG - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    XBMC has fast forward/rewind modes of 2x-32x which this solution can't support. Try to use them too much and they become more of a "skip" feature than fast forward.

    XBMC also has skip forward, and if you're happy with that this will work fine.

    If you want true, smooth fast forward and rewind this won't cut it.

    If you want to see how it works, just just Fast forward with 720x480 video which will be smooth, and you can see if you care or not.

  • bjacobson - Friday, January 01, 2010 - link

    Bandwidth limited I gather--very interesting.
    So why can't I just get an Ion board and use that? It does video decoding.
  • ifkopifko - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I have read somewhere, that netbooks based on the new pinetrail platform will have limited digital video outputs to 1366x768. So decoding 1080p is fine, but no way to display it anyway. Reply
  • marc1000 - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I second your opinion. Reply
  • Reven - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Just to confirm, even if I do install this new chip, iTunes still wont have 1080p video right? So its great for streaming native 1080p content off my PC but if I just use it for iTunes video downloads it wont help at all right? Reply
  • KidneyBean - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    How is the performance in XP, or Vista, when running 1080p video on Flash 10.1? Reply
  • icrf - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I'm guessing that Flash 10.1 doesn't support this chip for offloading the video decoding. That's an extra bit of software support that has to be added to any application.

    What would have been nice is if they somehow got this chip to implement some piece of the VDPAU or DXVA APIs. I'm guessing Nvidia can do that because they have some generic vector hardware, but this Broadcom chip is more special-purpose and only supports decoding these kinds of video codecs, which means it can't implement those APIs, only decode functions specific to what it supports. These functions then have to be explicitly supported in every piece of playback software.
  • Kermee - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Taken from:">


    Hardware video decoding of H.264 content in Flash Player 10.1 is supported on the Broadcom BCM70012 video decoding chipset, found in systems with Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Video Accelerator hardware. Driver support is available at
  • icrf - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I stand corrected. Sorry to mislead. Reply
  • crim - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    So, let me get this straight, I can buy Intel's new Pinetrail board and then drop this Broadcom chip into for full 1080p playback ability.... but Pinetrail (D510MO) doesn't have ANY SORT of digital connection. Instead, pretty much the only boards that have this are Ion boards which begs the question "why?" if Ion can already do what Broadcom is trying to do?? The only Intel board you can use this on is the D945GSEJT.... which I guess means that I'm probably going to pick one up even though it uses the slower/crappier single core Atom.... Ugh. I just wish Intel would stop trying to screw us and release the D510MO with DVI or HDMI out on it.... Reply
  • yuhong - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I think that is just a limitation of the on-die graphics, which supports only LVDS or VGA output. Reply
  • Kermee - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Give it time. I'm sure other board manufacturers will come out with miniITX boards based off Pinetrail (i.e. Zotac, ASUS, etc.) -- Intel got theirs out first for obvious reasons and without DVI/HDMI which I agree with you... is stupid. Reply
  • mczak - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    The limitation of no dvi/hdmi output seems to come from pinetrail, not the motherboards (my biggest gripe with pinetrail, long before the no-video-decode). The official specs say lvds (limited to fairly low resolution), and VGA, so it seems to lack TMDS transmitter if true. I can't see how other manufacturers would add digital outputs, short of adding a discrete gpu... This was possible with the old boards at least in theory, since the i945 chipset had sdvo output, which could be used to implement (at the cost of a separate chip) dvi/hdmi. Reply
  • wkeller - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    I have read somewhere (sorry) a review of a thin MSI netbox with the Broadcom BCM970012, which wasn't good in terms of 1080p and Flash playback. There is a new (better?) version called Broadcom BCM970015 announced recently (and certified for Pine by Intel).

    Additionally, we need an available HDMI connector to have a useful upgrade, I think. Both are scarce at netbooks etc. Most netbooks with HDMI already has an ION chip or so.
  • AmdInside - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    The AppleTV should actually be powerful enough to do 1080p. It is likely capped by Apple for heat purposes since it already runs so hot when playing back 720p video. Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    All my worries about no open source drivers for this chip are gone. I didn't think they would be cooperative with their behavior with their wifi cards.

    Frankly, whether it be ION or Pinetrail, all I care about is that the system is fanless, and if at all possible, solid state as well.
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    of course, with no digital output over netbook resolutions what's the point for set top boxes? Reply
  • bjacobson - Friday, January 01, 2010 - link

    ION has digital out and goes to 2560x1600... Reply
  • globetreader - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    I am one of the D495GCLF2 user and seriously hoping for a PCI solution to come out...this PCIe is disappointment :( Reply
  • leonowski - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    The Nvidia 8400 GS is available in PCI and supports VDPAU in Linux. Contrary to what the other guy says, this does work well to decode 1080p. In fact, resolution doesn't dictate the bandwidth - the bitrate of the video does. Reply
  • globetreader - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    any pointers for pci version of 8400? Reply
  • Kermee - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    I use a passive-heatsink only Sparkle 8400GS 512MB PCI card. Sometimes they go on sale for $30-35 USD @ with free shipping. It's been well tested for complete GPU-offload via VDPAU on 1080p/1080i/720p (H264/VC1/MPEG2) in XBMC & MythTV 0.22 in Linux. Reply
  • StormyParis - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    wrong for the broadcomm card, which has to send data back to the vidcard.

    right for a vidcard that also does HD decode.
  • Kermee - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    You are correct, since you're sending the compressed video to be decompressed to the final device that will display the uncompressed video. So all you need to get to the 8400 GS, via PCI, is the MPEG/H264/VC-1 data which is relatively low bit-rate.

    i.e. Compressed H264 Video -> PCI bus -> 8400GS using VDPAU -> Display

    However, the Crystal HD is a decoder only. It is not the device which displays the final video. Once the video stream is uncompressed, you need to send it to the GPU for display. That's where PCI bandwidth limitations come into play; you need to send uncompressed video to the GPU.

    That's where PCIe x1 (i.e. miniPCIe x1) works because even v1.0 of the PCI-Express specifications supports 250MB/s of bandwidth (or 4GB/s in a x16 lane configuration) before it hits the hub to send to a PCIe GPU.
  • Calin - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    PCI bandwidth is limited (and shared with many other devices). For 1080p content, you need to send about 6 MB per frame (1920 by 1080, times 24 bits per pixel). This makes for about 180 MB per second, well above the 133 MB per second of the PCI (33 MHz times 32 bits). Reply
  • mczak - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Should require slightly less bandwidth. Video is yuv, so 16bit per pixel (every graphic chip since about just forever should handle this, so there's no need to convert that to RGB with the decoder chip), so that's only 4MB per frame, and at the typical 24fps that's "only" ~100MB per second - together with the compressed bits possibly still too much to really work in practice with pci. Reply
  • mattmc61 - Friday, January 01, 2010 - link

    I don't usually nit-pick, but since you are being so detailed about your bandwith considerations, let's remember video is diplayed at 30 fps, not 24fps. 24fps is for the movie theater. Reply
  • bjacobson - Friday, January 01, 2010 - link

    3:2 pulldown, which is handled by [not this Broadcom chip]. Reply
  • mczak - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    oops actually video is planar 4:2:2 so only 3MB per frame, hence it possibly might work with pci. I think though it's about time chips use pcie not pci... Reply
  • Penti - Sunday, January 03, 2010 - link

    It's 4:2:0 in practice.

    So even blu-ray none-reencoded should be fine. It uses half of full RGB uncompressed bandwidth. But PCI systems can just use a 8400GS card..
  • Stan11003 - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    PCI and PCI express are two different technology's. PCI-express is good for 250 or 1GB a sec depending the version you are using. Reply
  • Spivonious - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Except 1080p content is always compressed in some way (VC-1, h.264, MPEG-2, etc.) so PCI bandwidth is fine.

    Personally, I'm glad it's only PCI-Express. Maybe this way we'll see fewer motherboards sporting the 17 year-old PCI interface.
  • Zoomer - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    Except that you have to add the compressed bitstream bw to the uncompressed bw, since PCI's bw is bidirectional and you need to send the decoded stream back for display. Reply
  • Xean - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    1080p has to be send back to GPU in order to display an uncompressed content on the screen. Reply
  • Xean - Wednesday, December 30, 2009 - link

    1080p has to be send back to GPU in order to display an uncompressed content on the screen. Reply
  • jmurbank - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    Yes, Broadcom provides the source code to ease the use of their CrystalHD board, but now developers have to add support for it. In Linux, developers have already added Video Acceleration API which is the backend of what nVidia's VDPAU supports. The Broadcom CrystalHD card does not make it any easier. It just complicates things.

    There is a big detail that you missed is that the motherboard have to support it. Most motherboards with a mini-PCIe slot does not support any other expansion boards besides what the motherboard manufacture sells. Motherboard manufactures uses a whitelist to make sure their mini-PCIe board is used and not any other product is used.

    I recommend call Zotac to make sure that the motherboard that you are showing can support this new expansion board from Broadcom.
  • theuni - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    A Zotac ION board was actually used in the XBMC for CrystalHD development (to compare vdpau vs. broadcom). It will work just fine. Reply
  • jmurbank - Thursday, December 31, 2009 - link

    That is still not enough proof. Pictures does provide any proof. Reply
  • solipsism - Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - link

    The AppleTV uses the Mini-PCIe for the 802.11a/b/g/n AirPort card. Unless you are using Ethernet and/or have enabled the USB port with a WiFi adapter then this is less than ideal. Though I am glad to know that it has that option. Reply
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