A new Netbook from Asus, the 1005PR, is set to offer a Broadcom HD Decoder which might be considered as a cheaper (but as effective) alternative to Nvidia's ION platform.
The Broadcom BCM70015 HD Decoder was announced in May 2009 and has already been certified by Intel, which means that manufacturers can pair it with Atom processors.
As for the 1005PR, it is based on the seashell format and has a 10.1-inch WXGA (1366x768 pixels) LED backlit screen as well as the N450 Pineview Atom processor from Intel with integrated graphics.
There's only 1GB RAM onboard although this can be doubled via a simple upgrade process. Asus chose to drop a 250GB hard disk drive which is complemented by 500GB worth of online storage courtesy of the Taiwanese company.
The rest of the feature list reads like a standard netbook spec sheet; WiFI, Bluetooth, SVGA camera, 6-battery cell, VGA & USB ports, card reader, Ethernet port and a choice of four colours.
The EEE 1005PR is expected to be sold for around $400 in the US (roughly £250) but no official availability dates have been confirmed. The Broadcom chip consumes only 1W when decoding 1080p content and half that when watching HD ready footage.
Asus will also be bundling the ArcSoft Total Media Theater application to ensure that its users "can enjoy HD video entertainment on the unit's 10.1-inch high definition screen".
We're shocked that only one netbook has managed to integrate the Broadcom solution for now. It is cheaper than the Nvidia ION and could be a major roadblock to the product's success. Note that the 1005PR comes with a 11-hour battery life.