ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, plans to enable playback of protected high-definition content under Linux operating system (OS) sometime in October, 2008. The move will allow the company to address the market of Linux-based computers with a unique feature, which is not currently available.
At present neither ATI nor Nvidia offer accelerated playback of high-definition video content from Blu-ray disk media on Linux-based desktops or mobile computers, but this does not mean that there is no demand for such a feature among those, who want to watch high-definition movies on their systems that do not use Microsoft Windows operating system.
According to slides seen by X-bit labs, ATI intends to enable hardware-accelerated playback of protected high-definition content with its ATI Catalyst drivers for Linux sometime in October, 2008. Initially such support will be offered for OEMs only, which means that appropriate drivers will only be available for system integrators and/or will work on certain systems only. Potentially, this will allow computer manufacturers to create home-theater personal computers (HTPCs) featuring Linux operating system, which means reduced price compared to HTPCs featuring Windows.
Nevertheless, enabling drivers with high-definition video playback acceleration does not automatically mean that it will be easy to build HTPCs powered by Linux. Firstly, special software players that can take advantage of ATI’s universal video decoder (UVD) and Avivo HD technologies for Linux need to be released; secondly, in order to enable high-quality HTPC experience, makers of remote controllers need to develop Linux drivers for their remotes.
ATI/AMD did not comment on the news-story.