The 550 Pro provides audio and video decoding on the same silicon - a first for the Theater family - which ensures audio and video remain in full synchronisation. The 12-bit video decoder features 3D Comb Filtering for NTSC and PAL, and five-line 2D Comb Filtering.If NVidia doesn't have a similar product in the pipeline, I'd be surprised. I look forward to more competition in this space. Getting one of these chips into a big laptop will be interesting.
The chip was designed to operated on both PCI and PCI Express add-in cards, but ATI is also pushing the product's scope for integration directly onto a PC's motherboard. In the notebook market, in particular, Acer, Compal, Quanta and Wistron have committed themselves to building the 550 Pro into upcoming laptops.
Between Tivo/PVR functionality (now integrated into one chip), P2P file sharing platforms, Hi-Def. TV, BitTorrent, broadband Internet, falling HDD costs, rising CPU power, we're seeing a confluence where entertainment should continue to be interesting and challenging for both the content providers as well as us the customers. Any thoughts on this confluence would be appreciated.