At Computex in Taipei this week,
ATI Technologies Inc. is demonstrating its Radeon graphics hardware accelerating the playback of H.264-encoded video — the company claims it’s the first public demonstration of such technology.
ATI’s demonstration of hardware-accelerated H.264 playback at Computex isn’t related to a specific new product announcement, but it does demonstrate new capabilities that could be incorporated into future Radeon processor and graphics card designs — designs that could ultimately find their way to the Macintosh platform, according to ATI spokesman Stan Ossias.
“There are various technical challenges but nothing I am not aware of that prevents us from enabling the Mac platform in a similar manner,” Ossias told MacCentral. “The Mac platform is an integral part of ATI’s PC business.”
Mac users have heard much about H.264 over the past year. Introduced on Mac OS X with the recent release of Quicktime 7, H.264, or Advanced Video Codec (AVC), provides much higher-quality video at much lower bandwidth rates than was previously available. What’s more, the technology is being used in new high-definition video players based around Blu-Ray and HD-DVD technology.
While H.264 provides more efficient video compression, it does cause a toll on the hardware:
Apple recommends a minimum G5/1.8GHz system or better to play back HD-quality QuickTime videos and movie trailers, for example. ATI’s support of H.264 playback with hardware acceleration could help take the edge off that in future Mac models.