The new Intel US15W (Poulsbo) chipset being used in Centrino Atom UMPCs like the Kohjinsha SC3 and Willcom D4 has so far failed to deliver on its promise of HD video support. H.264 acceleration is said to work with CyberLink PowerDVD [UPDATE: It does!], but other high-definition video formats are still suffering from choppy playback, out-of-sync audio, and dropped frames. The problem, many say, is the GMA500 driver. When I published my SC3 review, which includes a demo of the UMPC playing online Flash video, I was using the original preinstalled driver (184.108.40.2069). A week later, a new developers version (220.127.116.114) was released. Unfortunately, the new driver did not improve HD video playback. Not with certain media players, anyway.
I had been testing 480p, 720p, and 1080p HD trailers (H.264/MPEG-4) using players like GOM, VLC, and Media Player Classic with very poor results since the review (check the comments for proof), but today I tried playing them in QuickTime. See what happened below.
It’s nothing miraculous, sure, but it’s significantly better than it was before. 1080p is still unwatchable, but I think 480p playback is tolerable. It’s still far from being good enough for Poulsbo to be considered HD-capable in its present state, but again, HD playback is much better in QuickTime using the new driver than it ever was using the original driver in other media players.
That’s progress, right?