When Intel introduced its Pine Trail platform to succeed the original Atom, it was met with mixed reaction. Yes, the new CPU brings better battery life, but there’s not all that much of a performance gain. And with the integrated graphics choice, Intel-powered netbooks still struggle with some high-definition video playback.
Brad Linder at Liliputing says Jolicloud has a solution for that in the newest version of their netbook operating system. Even better is video proof from Jolicloud, showing smooth playback of a 1080p file.
Now this version won’t help the orignal Atom netbooks that use Intel’s GMA 950 for video, so don’t go thinking that you’ll give new video capabilities to an old netbook. And there’s still a bit of a limitation to the Jolicloud solution — 1080p media works well with nearly every MPEG-4 codec except for H.264. Still, this is great to see on the new N450 and N470 CPUs paired with the Intel GMA 3150 graphics. It means you don’t necessarily have go with other graphic options — like adding a hardware video accelerator such as Broadcom’s solution, nor spending a little more for an Nvidia Ion device.
I realize that many keep wondering why 1080p video is important to netbooks since the displays typically max out at 720p — or even lower on a 1024 x 600 display. The answer in my mind is compatibility with the highest common denominator. I know that sounds odd, but hear me out.
Wouldn’t you prefer your device capable of smooth playback with a 1080p file, even at a lower resolution, than having to find a 720p version of the same file? Or worse: having to waste time re-encoding that 1080p file to something lighter for your device? Video on the web is moving towards 1080p, so for content producers, it’s far easier to create one 1080p file than to create various files of the same content in different resolutions, formats and bit rates. I think of it as a “create once, play anywhere” situation — even on the small screen of a netbook.