Though some would have you believe that netbooks are a thing of the past, some folks at Dell disagree. And I think a lot of netbook customers feel the same way. That's why, back in December, I wasn't surprised there was some interest around Broadcom's Crystal media accelerator card when sites like Anandtech and CNET wrote articles about it. The reason? We've heard from several Mini customers that they want to be able to play back HD content on their netbooks.
There continues to be interest on the topic. Last month, sites like Engadget posted an early review of our Mini 10 equipped with a Broadcom card to test HD playback. Today, the Broadcom Crystal HD accelerator card is available on Dell's new Mini 10 netbook. It's part of a solution that includes on both hardware and software, the software part being the driver for the Broadcom card plus one other key piece of software you may have been reading about—Adobe's Flash Player. Speaking of it, Adobe Labs just released the 10.1 Beta 3 version of it.
Just to put the pieces together, besides the Broadcom HD card, here's software you'll need:
These enable hardware acceleration that will work with a lot of players out there (see list of supported players below). On the web, this means optimized HD video on sites like YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Pandora.tv, jaroo, CBS.com and more.
So, how can you purchase? The Broadcom card comes as part of a Mini 10 bundle. To check it out, go to the Mini 10 product page on Dell.com, then look for the Performance Plus option by clicking on graphic (or by clicking on the image below).
Besides the Broadcom Crystal HD card, this performance bundle features a 720P-capable display (1366x768), SRS Audio, the 56WHr 6-cell battery and a 250GB hard drive. In other words, just about all the options you'll need to get a great HD playback experience.
And to give you perspective on what that experience is like, check out this post on Engadget that shows off a Crystal HD-equipped Mini 10 running a YouTube clip in 1080P.
Hardware Acceleration Video Player Support
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For those of us that own a mini 1012 and have the PCIE slot available (WWAN owners) How can we order the card separate? Is there a part number?
SRS Audio is a huge addition. I have it in a desktop, and for a smallish netbook computer or headphones it will dramatically improve the audio. For those already with a Dell Mini, will the Crystal media accelerator card or even 2gb daughterboards for the 1010 be available for individual purchase on Dell.com?