High-Definition video has really taken off in the mass market now, with HDTVs left right and centre, Blu-ray and HD-DVD movie formats etc. - But as far as being able to playback a lot of HD content using a computer, it'll tend to run like a bit of a dog unless you've upgraded your platform recently.
Broadcom have come up with a solution for this, announcing the world's first HD Video Accelerator, a dedicated processor optimized specifically for the decoding of high-def formats - thus taking the load off the CPU/GPU.
The BCM70010/BCM70012 solution from Broadcom is apparently supported by new versions of popular playback software such as Cyberlink's PowerDVD and will come packaged in several formats (including a PCI Express mini card, PCI Express desktop adapter, ExpressCard 34 or as standalone processing chips for integration on a motherboard).
The other nice thing about this processor is that it's actually quite cheap, around $40 according to Broadcom.
You can learn more about it over at XBit Labs folks.
Broadcom Corp., a leading communication company, has introduced the first special-purpose high-definition media accelerator for personal computers. The company hopes that its solution will allow watching HD movies even on inexpensive computers. Nonetheless, market prospects of the solutions are not truly clear.
High-definition videos in 1280x720 (720p) or 1920x1080 (1080p) resolutions encoded with H.264, MPEG2 HD and VC-1 codecs require a serious amount of processing power to decode and not every central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) have enough power to decode them without lagging or dropping frames. As a result, movies in high-definition formats, including Blu-ray, HD DVD, or just those distributed via the Internet may not play well on outdated or low-end computers.