Poor video acceleration – stuttering and frame rate drops – is something of a blight for netbooks when it comes to playing HD video.
Now Intel has confirmed that the GN40 chipset for Atom chips, when paired with the Atom N280 processor, is capable of playing 1080p video.
That doesn’t, however, stretch to Blu-ray HD footage.
An Intel product manager has told Fudzilla that the GN40 is "designed to do 1080p HD playback for typical broadband internet content".
The semiconductor firm says the more advanced graphics acceleration in GN40 can decode most common bitrates of the full HD resolution without the problems of poor video acceleration encountered with the 945 chipsets used with most Atom-based netbooks.
It is likely that Microsoft’s own compressed HD format, 1080p WMV, will be playable through the GN40.
The same may not be true for H.264 and VC1 decoding.
This will be encouraging for NVIDIA, which has its Ion platform – capable of bringing Full HD-capabilities to the netbook.
However, Intel says the chipset wasn’t engineered to enable full Blu-ray capability "where the bitrates and demands of multi-layer content are significantly higher than that of internet HD content" – as high as 24Mbps for the video as well as extra layers like picture-in-picture commentary.
So when are we likely to see a successor to GN40 that is capable of Blu-ray video?