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How To Play HD Video On a Netbook 205

Barence writes with some news to interest those with netbooks running Windows: "Netbooks aren't famed for their high-definition video playing prowess, but if you've got about $10 and a few minutes going spare, there is a way to enjoy high-definition trailers and videos on your Atom-powered portable. You need three things: a copy of Media Player Classic Home Cinema, CoreCodec's CoreAVC codec, and some HD videos encoded in AVC or h.264 formats. This blog takes you through the process."
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How To Play HD Video On a Netbook

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  • And? (Score:3, Informative)

    by psycho12345 ( 1134609 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @09:41PM (#31194278)
    Or I can just get an ION powered netbook, install Linux and use VDPAU, and play any HD without any issue. Why is this news?
    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      There are also laptop upgrade cards that you can get that work as external video decode cards (like the old days of 3D).

      Given how truely pathetic an Atom CPU really is, I kind of doubt that even CoreAVC can let it play HD video.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wed128 ( 722152 )

        I wouldn't say the atom is solves a certian problem reasonably well.
        It's a little slower then your white hot core 2 whatever, but it serves it's purpose as a low-power x86 compatable processor. Beats the crap out of a pentium or celeron running at the same clock.

        That's not to say an arm or similar might not solve the problem better...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) *

      If you're playing HD MKV files on Windows 7 just install DivX for Windows. It includes a media foundation component that lets Windows Media Player read the MKV file then decode it using DXVA. If you don't want to install the whole DivX bundle you can even get the component standalone from DivX Labs [].

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by neorush ( 1103917 )
      That may not be easier []
    • Re:And? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday February 19, 2010 @12:00AM (#31195492)

      Crystal HD [] would also be a valid solution.

      XBMC supports it. I'm not sure if mplayer itself does yet.

      It turned my AppleTV into a 1080p beast. Just need a Mini-PCIe slot.

      And if you're reading this and HAVEN'T heard of XBMC [] you're missing out on hands down the best HTPC front end ever made.

      I've used it since '05 and on an original XBox and they've come a long way.

    • by nmg196 ( 184961 )

      That requires buying a new netbook, instead of using one you've already got. Duh!

  • I have a Celeron 900 you insensitve clod!
  • Skip this story (Score:5, Informative)

    by syousef ( 465911 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @09:46PM (#31194330) Journal

    It's no more than an ad for a codec.

    • I came here for the hilarious parody of a productive exchange of comments; I barely skimmed TFS!

      I suspect I'm not alone in this, what what?

    • I'm able to play HD video on my netbook, and it has a shitty VIA 1.2Ghz processor AND video card! Not to mention that it has a higher resolution than typical netbooks. Stupid story.

    • I agree. I've had GPU accelerated decoding for over a year now. I had it before it was even available in common codec packs like Klite.

      This seems like a plug for CoreAVC. A great codec, for sure, but it's still a plug.

  • going to need a netbook with a graphics chip that support DXVA 2.0

    If you have a GMA950 you're SOL.

    • by Again ( 1351325 )

      If you have a GMA950 you're SOL.

      So I read that as SQL. And since I happen to have a GMA950 my first thought was "Huh, I am not!" And then I realized that I should clean my glasses.

  • VLC (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alcoholic Synonymous ( 990318 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @09:47PM (#31194350)
    This works for Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD... Step 1. Install VLC. Step 2. Done. I use Hulu Desktop on my Aspire One under Ubuntu NBR, and there is no magic to it. How did this shit make the main page?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by batkiwi ( 137781 )

      VLC on an aspire one will play back 1080p video files without stuttering?

      • Re:VLC (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @10:46PM (#31194932) Homepage Journal

        Where can I buy a 10" 1080p netbook?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          two words: External display

      • Corecodec won't play back 1080p on an AspireOne with gma950 without stuttering either, unlress you're dealing with VERY low bitrates.

        720p worked fine though...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Since you obviously missed this, TFA is a advert for CoreAVC trying to sell you a magic pill for HD playback by changing the format. TFA doesn't claim no stutter, just less. It's not quite the same to say it's 1080p just because it's 1920x1080 after you've lowered the quality down to substandard level, which is what they've done. More lossy means faster decoding, more so than the total dimension. For what it's worth, if you plan to re-encode your files anyway, you may as well shoot for the screens actual r
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kitgerrits ( 1034262 ) *

      Step 3: grab a cup of coffee, because the standard h264 codec with VLC can't manage 720p on a netbook. (have you even tried the listed video?)
      Corecodec is a highly-optimized codec that can squeeze just that extra bit of power out of your CPU. There's even a wrapper for it on Linux.
      Should you be (un)lucky enough to have a GMA500 GPU in your netbook, it can take care of the decoding for you by using mplayer-vaapi (custom build)

  • Resolution is merely one factor, and is relatively unimportant compared to the others.

    My netbook (Atom N280) can decode 720p, but the bitrate needs to be pretty low (think less than 4mbit -- which is fine for a lot of movies, but really bad for others). If CAVLC (as opposed to CABAC) is used I can get away with a little higher bitrate.

    • lol, I wish I had your eyes. I can hardly notice anything wrong with the picture at 800kbps, nearly 1/5th what you seem to think is a minimum threshhold. And I am wearing contacts so my vision should be reasonably close to 20/20... Though I also can't tell the difference between hdtv and regular on a television. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if 30% of people with hdtvs can't tell the difference in a double blind test.

      • I can tell TV and HDTV, but (ignoring aspect ratio) they would need to be side by side or have a picture where either there is an amount of small text or the detail jumps out at you like a detailed landscape. People in suits on talk shows with bland backgrounds will be harder, although the face/hair gives it away.

        I would assume, you too, could tell TV vs HD, just use get your monitor to think it's projecting to your normal resolution and somehow downgrade the signal along the way to 640x480 somehow (idk if

  • by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @09:52PM (#31194408) Homepage Journal
    I expected some homebrew usb2.0 or somesuch gadget with a hardware decoder ... That would have been slashdot-worthy, but hey, it would have been old news [] ...
  • by tji ( 74570 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @09:54PM (#31194430)

    Come on.. an advertisement for a commercial codec to use in a Windows system / application?

    How did this make it as a story?

    I could maybe understand a story about doing this on an OSS system. But, that would not have been news because many of us have been doing that for years.

    When the OSS Nvidia or Radeon driver gets full VDPAU support, that merits a front page story.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      You can use wine to shoehorn this API into Linux.

      Although I still remain skeptical that CoreAVC can help an Atom that much. Perhaps they use Phoenix tails somewhere...

      • Corecodec is actually very efficient compared to most other decoders... decoding in software, it uses about 40% less CPU time than the Win7 decoder...

        Actually made 720p halfway enjoyable on an N270...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tepples ( 727027 )

      I could maybe understand a story about doing this on an OSS system.

      You'll have to wait at least a decade. In the country where Slashdot is operated and hosted, a consortium of about two dozen companies conspires to keep H.264 decoding out of open source software. This consortium is called MPEG-LA.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        Yeah... that certainly explains my 2 HD-PVRs and the 6TB of h264 transcoded DVD's here.

      • In the country where Slashdot is operated and hosted, a consortium of about two dozen companies conspires to keep H.264 decoding out of open source software.

        And that consortium has failed. See x264.

  • They're a pain in the ass. Most of us don't have screens that can make them look any better (especially if those screens are on a netbook!) and don't care if we did. I prefer to convert my HD videos to a lower bitrate so they can display on a generic video adapter without any fancy software. Not always convenient, of course.

    But this post is really an excuse to make a cute observation about netbooks: they seem to be marketed as less powerful than they are! This is mainly in the way netbooks are described to

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      why do netbooks have really cruddy speakers?

      Because good speakers would make the case bigger.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        ...and driving good speakers takes more power. I agree with fm6 that netbooks are undermarketted but the space factor and at least the illusion of long battery life are not compatible with a good speaker system.

        Hell, today's artificially-loudened-during-mastering transient-loaded bass-heavy music like this* [] would shred even laptop cones.

        *Fun fact: early in the song, a "hot bowl of grits" is mentioned.
        • by unitron ( 5733 )

          *Fun fact: early in the song, a "hot bowl of grits" is mentioned.

          Are we talking Natalie Portman hot grits or Al Greene hot grits?

    • The first feature is that the default config typically underclocks the CPU. OK, this makes the battery last longer, but not a lot longer.

      You're sort of right. Changing the cpu frequency on a netbook saves a small amount of power... a few percent. Lowering the core clock speed saves tons of power... for instance there's about 30% difference in idle power between the normal and low power modes using ASUS's utility to change the bus frequency. This corresponds to hours of battery life, and it's a big deal. Changing the cpu freq only saves minutes.

      But getting linux to easily change the core clock speed is really difficult. There's no icon t

    • by nxtw ( 866177 )

      Most of us don't have screens that can make them look any better

      Do you have a screen with more than 480/576 lines?

      why do netbooks have really cruddy speakers?

      Do you have headphones?

      • my netbook has 600 lines...

        playing 1080 or 720p content would be a mild improvement but not particularly noticeable vs 480. I do have a vga output which can get me 768 lines on my hdtv (can't go higher without DVI/HDMI) so it might be usable there...but if I just want to play to my TV, I just need a 20ft DVI-HDMI cable or a $200 acer computer with ION and xbmc and not a netbook.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nxtw ( 866177 )

          I do have a vga output which can get me 768 lines on my hdtv

          Seems like a problem with your setup. My HDTV supports 1080p VGA input, and any netbook with the GMA 900 or newer should support output at this resolution.

  • There was kind of a big splash back in December about this Broadcom chip... Crystal HD or something. Basically, it's a $2 (or some other absurdly low price) video decoder chip that'll take pretty much the full load for decoding most common codecs in use today. It was certified by Intel as well. Wonder why we aren't seeing more netbooks out there being announced with this bugger. I mean, it'll cost next to nothing, and put plain-ass Atoms at par with Ion powered netbooks (well, for 90% of users who only need
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by batkiwi ( 137781 )

      They're about $40 for the mini-pci-express addin card, and the problem is you will lose wireless (easily fixable with a usb dongle though...).

      XBMC has support, other programs are coming online quickly.

  • ...any netbook with an ARM chip has hardware video acceleration, and can play HD video in fullscreen without problems.

    Oh, you were talking about an Atom mini-laptop? That’s no a real netbook with that platform power profile, now is it? ;)

    • What model is it? Where do I buy one?

      Of course, since you pulled that out of your ass, you might have a little trouble answering. We all know such a machine does not exist.

  • As long as the screen resolution is high enough view HD why would HD video take any time or money to get? and if you do not have a screen capable of it then it is going to be impossible.
    • As long as the screen resolution is high enough view HD why would HD video take any time or money to get?

      The video itself is copyrighted and DRM'd, and the most common codec used to store it is patented and compute-intensive.

  • Err... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rm999 ( 775449 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @10:11PM (#31194618)

    What good is 720p video on my 1024x600 monitor? Too bad they don't make 600p videos.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Too bad they don't make 600p videos.

      In 50 Hz countries, they make 576p videos, which are close enough.

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      Not all netbooks have low res. There's a couple of 12 inch that have higher resolution, and some like the nokia booklet have 1280x720 on 10 inch.

      • When my iBook had a 12" screen, it was a laptop not a netbook.

        Don't let the term slip like that... if it's 12", it's a freakin' laptop. Otherwise, the word "netbook" becomes even more meaningless than it already kind-of is.

        Hell, next thing you know, my 13.1" tablet will be a "netbook", and then my 14.1" work laptop will be a "netbook"...

    • by Trogre ( 513942 )

      you might appreciate the ability to play back 720p content when your friend sends you his high-resolution videos and you don't want to wait a few hours while your netbook transcodes them down to 600p.

      Honestly, do people not think about these things?

    • by nxtw ( 866177 )

      What good is 720p video on my 1024x600 monitor?

      You might be interested in learning about the VGA port [].

      • still won't get you to 1080p like mentioned in the article...I can't get past 768 lines without switching to dvi/hdmi (which my netbook lacks)
        • by nxtw ( 866177 )

          still won't get you to 1080p like mentioned in the article...I can't get past 768 lines
          This is not a limitation of VGA, but a problem with your configuration. 1920x1080 at 60 Hz is well within VGA supported bandwidth - it is suported by the GMA 950 and 1080p displays which have non-broken VGA input processing.

    • Ever resized a blurry image to be smaller? It gets sharper.

      Same thing applies to video. 720p on 1024x600 looks very sharp! At its native size, it might look a tad less nice.

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Thursday February 18, 2010 @10:22PM (#31194714) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, this is looks like any of the rest of the spam, especially with the opening statement.

  • by Sheik Yerbouti ( 96423 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @10:29PM (#31194798) Homepage

    Just buy the right netbook the Asus 1201N plays High def video perfectly well because it has an Nvidia 9400M graphics processors with Cuda and hardware video decoding. It will even output 1080P via it's HDMI port. It also has a dual core Atom 330 running at 1.6 ghz. All together it's a hell of a gadget for the money.

  • My first-generation MSI Wind has no problems playing HD video when running Windows 7. I can even multitask to some extent.

    What's the point of this story? Next are you going to post a summary of how to view webpages on a netbook? Or maybe some special $10 solution to connect your netbook to wifi?

    What a waste of bits.

  • Ummm? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anticrawl ( 1632013 )
    Or... you could download CCCP, and just use that. With a bit of tweaking and just the stock codecs supplied one can easily get a 720p/1080p video playing on a standard retail netbook. However with an uncompressed bluray rip or something of that nature I'd imagine you're out of luck, I've never tried myself. The ability to play HD video on a netbook is easily obtainable free if you are using the right file format/player and have the proper codecs. As I said though for the average person just download CCCP, i
  • And actually MPC-HC is capable of decoding videos using the hardware h264 decoder the laptop probably already has built in. CoreAVC would just decode the video in software.

    • by nxtw ( 866177 )

      And actually MPC-HC is capable of decoding videos using the hardware h264 decoder the laptop probably already has built in.

      Not Atom netbooks with Intel GPUs.

  • AVC's Secret Sauce (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @11:24PM (#31195250) Journal

    The secret to CoreAVC's speed is that it cheats... If you compare the frames output, with any other codec, you'll see that the results are not the same. People have commented on how CoreAVC looks different, sometimes "fuzzy". Again, it's going for lower-precision in exchange for speed. This is particularly galling in the case of H.264/AVC, since it has lossless modes, which are supposed to be bit-exact, not "close enough".

    Honestly, if you want slightly faster + blurry video, why don't you just grab a lower-resolution copy of the same video, and save yourself the disk space, and money on the software license.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'd be interested to see the comments you alluded to. If you see sub-standard or blurry video, you need to ask for help (you might be doing something wrong) or file a bug report. Any issues I've seen with CoreAVC have been fixed quickly -- there is a small community of experts [] who expect nothing less than excellent quality.
  • And to get rid of those unsightly stutters, free up a slot and install a dedicated co-processor. []

    Supported by XBMC under Windows, Linux and OS X. Cost $49 at that site, under "accessories, adapters". I just ordered one and will put it thru its paces on my Asus EEE 901 soon.

  • If you want to play HD on a netbook, just don't encode it in h.264. It may be great for file size, but the hardware requirements are ridiculous.

Forty two.