R520 to accelerate HD content in hardware
Xbit Labs is reporting that ATI's R520 will feature hardware acceleration for high definition content using the H.264 Advanced Video Codec.
H.264 compression technology allows High Definition videos in 1280x720 or 1920x1080 resolutions to fit into 8Mbps – 10Mbps bit rate, whereas typical MPEG-2 consumes 15Mbps – 20Mbps for this type of quality. This increased compression efficiency is highly computationally demanding, therefore graphics hardware assistance is crucial for real-time decoding of high bit-rate video. Furthermore, graphics hardware designers should keep in mind that demand for increased computational resources means higher energy consumption by the chips, which is not a good news for mobile computers with battery time constraints.
Hardware-accelerated H.264 decoding will hopefully trickle down to ATI's mid-range and entry-level products for home theater PC's.