HP Using Broadcom Video Decoder In Netbook

Crystal HD will be available in future Acer netbooks and available to computer makers as an add-in card.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

June 2, 2009

2 Min Read

HP Mini 110 netbooks
(click image for full view)
HP Mini 110 netbooks

Hewlett-Packard has chosen Broadcom's Crystal HD video decoder for the Mini 110 netbook, giving the latter company a boost in cracking the mini-laptop market.

HP's use of the video-playback technology was announced Tuesday at the Computex trade show in Taiwan. Broadcom's technology competes with offerings from Nvidia and Qualcomm.

Netbooks, which typically have screens of about 10 inches or less, are the fastest growing category in the PC market, with sales increasing in the double digits while computer makers report declining sales of mainstream laptops and desktops in the economic downturn. To differentiate their products, computer makers are starting to increase the size and video-playback performance of netbooks.

Acer, for example, is selling an 11.6-inch model, and Lenovo is getting ready to launch a 12-inch system. Lenovo also recently announced the option of having an Nvidia Ion system-on-a-chip for handling graphics and HD video playback.

Broadcom's technology, like Ion, runs alongside an Intel Atom to off-load video playback from the CPU. By doing this, computer makers can offer systems capable of displaying higher-quality video while maintaining reasonable battery life, chipmakers say.

Besides the HP Mini 110, Crystal HD will be available in future Acer netbooks, Broadcom executives told InformationWeek. The technology is available to computer makers as an add-in card.

Also at Computex, Broadcom introduced the InConcert line of modules that provide Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless capabilities. Combining both capabilities in one card uses 30% less space than having separate modules, giving computer makers more design flexibility, according to Broadcom.

The semiconductor company released three InConcert products, each with different performance levels and price points. Broadcom is offering samples to computer makers and expects to begin shipping the products in volume in the third quarter.

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