ATI unveils Theater 550 PVR chip

ATI has unveiled a new addition to its Theater line of video chips. Dubbed "PVR-on-a-chip," the Theater 550 integrates a 12-bit video decoder, hardware video and audio encoder, audio decoder, PCI Express X1 and PCI interface, and digital IF demodulation that eliminates the need for an expensive tuner. The chip apparently has some muscle, too. Check out this snippet from the spec sheet:
High horsepower chip ensures that frames are never dropped and smooth and fluid video is recorded, providing an ideal PVR experience.
Unfortunately, no details are provided on exactly what kind of audio and video encoding the Theater 550 can accelerate.

According to the press release, the Theater 550 is targeted at add-in PC cards, motherboards, notebooks, and small form factor systems. Acer, Gigabyte, MSI, Sapphire, and a handful of other ATI partners have already signed on to use the new chip. Expect products to appear later this year.

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