Video: 1080p H.264 HD on Centrino Atom UMPCs


If you’ve been following the epic tale of Poulsbo, the Intel US15W chipset who wishes to break into the Fortress of Video Acceleration to bring smooth HD video playback to the nearby village of UMPC enthusiasts, then you’ll remember that our hero was last seen at the foot of Lord Lolento, a wise man who held the key to the fortress.

Poulsbo bowed down before Lolento and asked for the ancient secret of media acceleration. Lolento reached deep into the pocket of his robe and pulled out the old scroll that had been given to him by a mystical group of nomads called Intel Technical Support.

Be aware that each OEM is responsible for obtaining the appropriate license from the MPEG Licensing Authority in order to ship the codecs on their Mobile Internet Devices powered by Intel Centrino Atom processor technology. Please contact the OEM again and ask them for the specific codec which you want to use.

Without the appropriate codec, video acceleration can be achieved by using media players which are capable of utilizing the hardware acceleration entry point of the Intel graphics driver. As one example, CyberLink PowerDVD (build can provide this support for H.264.

Armed with the wisdom of Technical Support, Poulsbo mounted his horse and galloped through the forest to the CyberLink Castle. Unwilling to sell his steed to purchase PowerDVD, he crossed the drawbridge with a 30-day free trial.

Upon arriving at the high walls surrounding the Fortress of Video Acceleration, Poulsbo drew his weapons (the Kohjinsha SC3 and Willcom D4, of course) from his knapsack and aimed their screens at the gate.

"Behold!" he cried. "Flawless 1080p H.264 video playback!"


  • The excessive transcoding process (ripping original video from DVD Handycam into DivX, converting DivX to WMV, then uploading/converting WMV to Vimeo’s format) caused the audio and video to be out of sync. In person, there are absolutely no problems with synchronization (confirmed by Replevin and others).
  • The Willcom D4’s mono speaker is maxed out; its volume is just very, very low (especially compared to the Kohjinsha SC3’s stereo speakers).
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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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15 thoughts on “Video: 1080p H.264 HD on Centrino Atom UMPCs

  • The ‘Old Scroll’? How dare you young lady.

    Had this one on my to-do list since yesterday but it just jumped to the top!

    Whats the cheapest Cyberlink purchase option that gives the required codecs?


  • LOL! I didn’t realize how that could’ve been interpreted until just now! :-D

    The cheapest one with H.264 and WMV HD is $70 (PowerDVD 8 Deluxe), which I think it pretty steep for something I would never use in real life (I’m not an HD fan).

  • Avatar of Maarten Hammega

    Sweet article :-D

    And of course thanks for the heads-up, will check out the video when I get back to my stronghold without any video-killing proxy’s.

    My D4 is in delivery as I write this reply.
    I hope to hold it in my arms on thursday evening :-P

  • So I’m watching your video and thinking she must be crazy..this thing is choppy as hell. LOL…then I realize I am watching it on my 7 year old Dell laptop with slow inet….funny. I need to get out more.

  • It is definitely nice to see that they are capable of playing HD video.

  • To back up the claims here, I can confirm h.264 is working very well indeed with Cyberlink. I wont buy Cyberlink but if Real is going to disribute codecs for MIDS asd planned then the MIDs could make superb PMPs. Prediction: Menlow-based Archos in 6 months!

  • You shouldn’t need any special codecs: WMVHD VC1 and WM9 is included in media player. And for H264 you can install free k-lite codec pack (with compact fast media player classic). Alternative faster H264 codec is Corecodec (less than $10).

    I don’t hope that special software programming is
    required to unleash the full H/W power of Poulsbo.

  • Avatar of Replevin

    Yeah Jenn! Glad that it worked for you too.

    Lucien – Agreed that you shouldn’t need additional codec – unfortunately those options don’t work. WMVHD files in media player are slideshows. They run with just a few glitches in powerdvd.

    Klite codec also does not work, unfortunately.

  • In that case it must be that the included PowerDVD codecs are more performant? Which would match forum post where someone managed to use media player classic (MPC) with the faster CoreCodec codec to run HD smoothly on SC3.

    Also note you can increase perf in MPC (and VLC) by choosing different renderer and change process priority. I’d be surprised if that wouldn’t work as well (with couple of tweaks). I was able to get 1080i running smoothly on a 3 year old 1.2 GHz notebook using MPC with integrated graphics. Otherwise divx should requires less CPU power.

  • Avatar of Replevin

    I don’t think that the cyberlink codec necessarily performs better. Instead, as mentioned by the Intel rep, the codec has been written to take advantage of the hardware acceleration on the chipset.

    VLC and other players may be decent as software renderers – or take advantage of hardware for certain devices – but not poulsbo (or at least not yet). I tried various configurations of vlc to no success.

    For example, when rendering a wmvhd file in media player, the cpu is pegged and the video is a slideshow. Using cyberlink codec, cpu utilization drops and the video plays reasonably well. According to a forum post, power utilization also drops.

    So it would seem we either need better drivers that utilize existing codec, or codec that are writen for poulsbo.

  • Avatar of Curious George

    I’ve never bought into the HD craze but why all the fuss about playing HD quality on such a small screened device? Is the resolution even HD?

  • Wow! that is very impressive! The more I see the D4 the more I seem to salivate and drool with excitement as I await Jenn’s review when she gets the extended battery!

    I do see the value of HD on this small screen. If this is your primary mobile computer for work, etc. then when you are on a plane, or have some free time when mobile it would be great to view a movie, etc.

    I can not wait til you get that extended battery and provide a complete review! So far I am extremely impressed and tempeted to purchase one right now!

  • Thanks Replevin that would explain it:-(. Let’s hope Microsoft updates media player one day.

    Regarding HD there are 2 formats:
    – 1280×720 (720p)
    – 1920×1080 (most commonly 1080i and 1080p24)

    So yes most UMPC’s are close to 720p and compared to SD at 720×480 (854×480 stretched for wide-screen) this does make a big difference. Sure on the smallest screens you need really great eyes to pick up the extra detail.

  • The fuss about HD video on these devices comes as more and more people (myself included) are archiving their movies and TV to the drive in HD format. If the device can’t play 720p/1080p, then a time-consuming reencode is necessary for each file you want to play on the device. With the support for them, you can just play them as-is.

  • I think this is the best looking UMPC I have seen so far! I’ve been wanting a pocket size clamshell computer for years. I only glanced at this and several other UMPC sites as most of the other UMPC’s to me were way too big and did not have normal keyboards. In addition to being a great business computer, it can provide some airline entertainment via the great resolution! very cool!


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