Broadcom Crystal HD, It`s Magic.

Posted By: Team XBMC on Dec 29, 2009 in Site News

1080p HD content playback has always been the Holy Grail for any Media Center application but this has traditionally been difficult; playback using software decode alone requires a very hefty CPU and hardware decoding has only been made available recently using the nVidia’s VPDAU technology, available only on Linux. Windows has its own platform specific solutions and poor old OSX has no public APIs available at all. There really is nothing around with a common API that enables hardware accelerated 1080p HD content playback that can also be used under all three major platforms (OSX, Linux, and Windows). Well, that situation is about to change.

Through hard work and the joint efforts of several TeamXBMC/Redhat developers and the Broadcom Media PC Group, cross-platform hardware decoding of mpeg2, h.264 and VC1 video content up to 1080p will be coming to XBMC on OSX, Linux, and Windows via the Broadcom Crystal HD Hardware Decoder (BCM970012). The Broadcom Crystal HD is available now in a mini-PCIE card with ExpressCard and 1X PCIE form factors to follow. This means that the AppleTV and all those lovely new netbooks, Eee Boxes and older Intel Mac Minis have exciting new potential.

This solution has a common programming API, so many 3rd party developers and applications will be able to leverage hardware accelerated video content playback across OSX, Linux, and Windows platforms with minimal source code changes. Best of all, this is an open source solution with full source code for driver and library available for OSX and Linux under a GPL/LGPL license. Wow, this indeed is the Holy Grail and a major score for the open source community as this means no more tainted Linux kernels! Support has already been added to XBMC under the svn trunk. Our bleeding-edge users can expect to find the feature in the next nightly builds from our community builders, the more patient can wait until the next stable release. Other media projects such as FFmpeg, MythTV and Xine will soon follow as their developers add support.

The Windows driver binary, as well as the Linux source code for the driver and library can be found at the Broadcom web site. For OSX, the binaries and source code for the driver and library will be hosted at google code. Users in the USA can purchase the Crystal HD mini PCIE card from Logic Supply for $69 at the time of this posting, and of course there’s always ebay for those outside the USA.

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Discussion - 179 Comments

  • onesojourner Dec 29, 2009 

    great news indeed.

  • queeup Dec 29, 2009 

    Bravo… I love my community :) Keep up guys.

  • Johny007 Dec 29, 2009 

    This is amazing, thanks Broadcom and TeamXBMC! One chip will rule them all!

  • RC Dec 29, 2009 

    Great job guys!

  • Nick V Dec 29, 2009 

    Does anyone know if these are the same chipsets that Dell and other PC manufacturers traditionally bundle with low powered small-form-factor PCs and laptops when you get a Blu-Ray drive (in order to do smooth BD playback)?

    I think there is a slot for a mini PCIe card used for BD playback on my Dell Studio Hybrid for example.

    If this is the case, there is great potential for low powered devices to use these chips with XBMC.

  • davilla Dec 29, 2009 

    @Nick V yep, same mini pcie card.

  • Nick V Dec 29, 2009 

    @davilla Thanks for the info!

    So, I just picked up one of these cards on eBay for a steal at $21 shipped. I’m looking forward to trying it out on my Dell Studio Hybrid and maybe my old AppleTV. If it can make the AppleTV play HD video without stutter that would be amazing.

    Thanks everyone!

  • Bahndit Dec 29, 2009 

    Congrats to Davilla and the XBMC Team on this great accomplishment. XBMC continues to amaze me and all that I show it to. Keep up the good work gents.

    Sincerely,
    Will Alley

  • vbonline Dec 29, 2009 

    “The Broadcom Crystal HD is available now in a mini-PCIE card with ExpressCard and 1X PCIE form factors to follow. This means that the AppleTV and all those lovely new netbooks, Eee Boxes and older Intel Mac Minis have exciting new potential.”

    IMHO ATV and Intel Minis dont have ExpressCard nor PCIE or mini-PCIE, how should this help?

    Don’t get me wrong, having the same API available on OSX, Linunx and Windows is a good thing ™, but I don’t get the hardware part with ATV and/or Minis…

  • Blackstar Dec 29, 2009 

    @vbonline

    Yeah, I was confused about that part as well. Is there someplace where we can get conformation or an explanation of what will and won’t work for Mac OSX users with this new board support?

  • Daryoon Dec 29, 2009 

    vbonline,
    The ATV has a mini-PCIE that is taken up by the included wifi card. You remove that and add Broadcomm Crystal HD in it’s place. So it’s very pertinent and great news indeed. Been waiting for this solution forever.

  • DesktopMan Dec 29, 2009 

    Is the crypto module also available? Might be interesting for e.g. TrueCrypt if it’s fast enough.

  • diego Dec 29, 2009 

    good news but im still waiting for dxva for ati cards :)

  • Pericles Dec 29, 2009 

    Wow! I’m gonna try this one!

  • Pericles Dec 29, 2009 

    I wonder if the Linux driver is already implemented in the latest XBMC Linux Live CD….?

  • matt Austin Dec 29, 2009 

    Wow, this is very exciting news!

    Just to confirm, will this work with the Eee Box B202 – and what type of card would I need? Would I have to sacrifice wireless? Cheers!

  • Jezz_X Dec 29, 2009 

    Pericles :I wonder if the Linux driver is already implemented in the latest XBMC Linux Live CD….?

    No Its not

  • davilla Dec 29, 2009 

    @vbonline

    IMHO you are so wrong :) ATVs and Intel Minis use a mini pcie slot for wifi support. Pull that card, insert Crystal HD card, done deal. I’ve been running this way for oooh so many months.

  • Dan Dec 29, 2009 

    Great Job on this, guys, it’s amazing the progress XBMC for windows has made since the projects beginning.

    Although my current CPU can run HD without the HW assist, it will be cool to play with the new hardware (picked one up for 21 bucks on Ebay) as well as keep my CPU fan quieter during HD playback. Always a joy to be able to be on the bleeding edge :)

  • Hitchhiker Dec 29, 2009 

    I know that this just dreaming but will this allow for the playing of Blu-Rays on linux now, or am I still dreaming?

  • tanthony Dec 29, 2009 

    I remember looking at these a while back before I built my HTPC…if I’m running an NVIDIA ION box with VDPAU, would the Broadcom decoder benefit me in any way?

  • Mordred Dec 29, 2009 

    So does this mean my 1080p mkv’s aren’t currently playing back at 1080p in XBMC?

  • Kujo Dec 29, 2009 

    Damn, this comes out just when I’m starting to buy the parts to build my first HTPC (Zotac IONITIX A-U board) to replace my aging Xbox. :)

    Awesome option for those that have the supported hardware.

  • Wimpy Dec 29, 2009 

    Does this apply only to those buying the mentioned HW or does it benefit for example those already running ION based platforms aswell ?

  • davilla Dec 30, 2009 

    @Hitchhiker

    Look at the screen shot, that’s a decrypted bluray disk image playing on the appletv. And no, before anyone asks, decryption via crystalhd is not part of this source code release.

  • Maverick-DBZ- Dec 30, 2009 

    This is the best price I found on eBay. If someone finds a cheaper price let the community know.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320436937576

    $21.56 US, free shipping, shipped from Hong Kong

  • jjgod Dec 30, 2009 

    Good news. However, I see no Mini PCI-E slot on my Mac Mini, no ExpressCard slot either…

  • Jezz_X Dec 30, 2009 

    @jjgod
    Its on the inside you have to crack it open (and void your warranty probably)

  • Ziq Dec 30, 2009 

    For those of you who want to use hardware acceleration in windows and no extra hardware or external player there is a new player called dsplayer:
    http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?t=61355
    Although it seems to lack support for subtitles..

  • Hudson_Hawk04 Dec 30, 2009 

    This is great news, but as it looks right now im gonna hold out (or atleast attempt to) and pick up the 1X PCIE version. If i cant hold out i am going to to go the apple tv route i believe. guess we will see what happens.

  • reven Dec 30, 2009 

    so the builds available in the apple tv menu will contain this new code? and then all i would need to get it to work is buy a mini pcie card and install it? and then i can play 1080p mkvs etc without any stuttering etc?
    because if i can get a ATV to play 1080ps then i can get rid of my HTPC and just use that… that would be so awesome.

  • caino Dec 30, 2009 

    …….why don’t you just add the Nvidia CUDA acceleration support?!!?!?!?

  • Jaco2k Dec 30, 2009 

    @Maverick-DBZ-

    Thanks! Just ordered one :)

  • Carlos Dec 30, 2009 

    As if it wasn’t hard enough to pick the right hardware for xbmc :) Thanks for this great enhancement!

    For image quality, is the crystal HD better or worse than vdpau? (with and without the new nvidia high quality upscale on gt210/220…)
    Really hope someone can answer on this as it will greatly help ;)

  • Sranshaft Dec 30, 2009 

    To those wondering if this is only limited to netbooks / nettops and the like, you can use a mini PCIe card in a desktop by using an adapter. If you’re in Australia, you can try: [URL=http://www.darkwire.com.au/html/on-line_store.html]Darkwire[/URL]. I’ve heard some decent responses regarding them. This is of course if you can’t hold out for the PCIe version. Any word on when they should start hitting the market?

  • TjaLfE Dec 30, 2009 

    Have anyone been able to find the 1x PCIE edition anywhere?

  • bash Dec 30, 2009 

    “Best of all, this is an open source solution with full source code for driver and library available for OSX and Linux under a GPL/LGPL license.”

    This is not entirely true. As a matter of fact, the Linux drivers contain a fairly large firmware blob that is not covered under the GPL and will probably prevent this driver from ever reaching mainline kernel. Looks like Broadcom did it again. Sad….

  • Carlos Dec 30, 2009 

    Just to make sure, if i buy this motherboard: http://www.intel.com/products/desktop/motherboards/D510MO/D510MO-overview.htm

    and add the pci-e broadcom card, it will be ok right?

  • Carlos Dec 30, 2009 

    As if it wasn’t hard enough to pick the right hardware for xbmc :) Thanks for this great enhancement!

    For image quality, is the crystal HD better or worse than vdpau? (with and without the new nvidia high quality upscale on gt210/220…)
    Really hope someone can answer on this as it will greatly help ;)

    [edit]: just to make sure, the pci-e broadcom card with this motherboard will work fine?http://www.intel.com/products/desktop/motherboards/D510MO/D510MO-overview.htm

  • caino Dec 30, 2009 

    no, really, what about the CUDA acceleration?! i can’t understand why it shouldn’t be supported…

  • Elbert Dec 30, 2009 

    Thanks a lot guys! Great work as always. I’m looking forward to put the card to work in my ATV.

  • spiff Dec 30, 2009 

    @caino; we add what we feel like adding. you can add what you feel like adding.

  • ferry Dec 30, 2009 

    Does this mean that a via nano-itx board with one of these in the slot could do 1080p ?

  • seeker83 Dec 30, 2009 

    Nice more hardware support ftw!

    Does this mean that platforms other than the ION will be the ultimate choice soon, or is ION still the best if you’re building a new HTPC from scratch?

  • Richard Leo Ayotte Dec 30, 2009 

    How difficult would it be to install a Crystal HD in an XBOX?

  • TjaLfE Dec 30, 2009 

    seeker83

    I believe that depends on the operative system you are planning to use. If you want to go with Windows, this i definitely the most awesome hardware, being able to decode video using hardware in XBMC in Windows!…

    Personally i have a ION board with XBMC live installed, and that’s fine for me, BUT! if i someday desides, that i need the features of windows on my HTPC, i would definitely go buy this piece of hardware, to be able to playback 1080p in XBMC + Windows.

    I’m actually quide PISSED that i just bought an ION board two days ago, and now realizing i could have saved some money buying a standard A330 board and a this amazing hardware…

  • jjgod Dec 30, 2009 

    @Jezz_X: Unfortunately the Mac mini with Nvidia chipset does not have any mini PCI-E slot inside.

  • americantabloid Dec 30, 2009 

    So cool! Thanks Team XBMC

  • Bob Dec 30, 2009 

    So am I correct in assuming that if I use this Crystal HD card then I will have to do without Wifi?

  • JaccoH Dec 30, 2009 

    @jjgod

    It has an ION chipset though. It can run VDPAU under Linux. VDPAU uses even less CPU.

  • JaccoH Dec 30, 2009 

    @caino

    CUDA is nVidia only. This news is about something else.

  • woooooo Dec 30, 2009 

    This chip will also be optional in Intel Pine Trail-based netbooks coming Q1 2010!

  • Martin Dec 30, 2009 

    Interesting. Does anybody know if any of those Broadcom cards support decoding of multiple streams at the same time?

  • foobartel Dec 30, 2009 

    Will the driver be included in the main line Linux kernel?

  • NathanJones Dec 30, 2009 

    Not to mention CUDA isn’t really aimed at video acceleration…so unless they’re adding some high-end physics simulation to the UI, or some other GPGPU-type application to the UI, I doubt if CUDA is necessary. :-)

    I picked one of these up…I’ve got an ION box already, but I love to tinker, and maybe I can help out with troubleshooting if something goes wonky.

  • lehite Dec 30, 2009 

    So there’s still no hope for a PPC Mac Mini? Maybe it’s time for me to get something newer…

  • Revo Dec 30, 2009 

    This is amazing! How can we all help spread the word about this great news?

    Does this mean that one will be able to playback 1080p on any old Linux PC?

    I read about the new BCM70015 chip, does XBMC support it and DivX/Xvid?
    http://www.linuxfordevices.com/c/a/News/Broadcom-BCM70015/

    BCM70015 even supports the chinese codec AVS = Audio Video Standard.

  • Topnet Dec 30, 2009 

    @vbonline The Apple TV and Mac Mini with Intel process does have a mini-PCIe (PCI Express Mini Card) slot inside them on the motherboard, it is just that it is by default occupied by a WLAN/WiFi card.

    So you have to remove that WLAN/WiFi card first, and thus you have to be willing to sacrifice the integrated WLAN/WiFi capability for full 1080p high definition playback. On the Mac Mini you can always just get a USB WLAN/WiFi adapter if you absolutly need it, you are going to need a 802.11n speed WLAN/WiFi card anyway if you plan on streaming full 1080p high definition playback over wireless.

  • JDizzy Dec 30, 2009 

    Will there be docs on exactly what needs to be done to use this? I have an ATV and can probably open and swap the WiFi chip with this one, but then what? Will it just start working by itself or do drivers need to be installed on the ATV?
    Running Camelot, and not using the SVNs, ill it work now, or do we have to wait until it is officially added to XBMC?

  • Topnet Dec 30, 2009 

    davilla :@Hitchhiker
    Look at the screen shot, that’s a decrypted bluray disk image playing on the appletv. And no, before anyone asks, decryption via crystalhd is not part of this source code release.

    Sorry but I have to ask anyway; I understand that the Blu-ray Disc DRM decrypting (of AACS, BD+, and BD-ROM Mark) is not supported by this source code release yet.

    Could however Blu-ray Disc DRM decrypting on these Broadcom Crystal HD chips be added in the future? and could it in theory be released as open source so that it will only decrypt it if you have the hardware and this legally?

    It is just that from my research I understand that Broadcom include the legal license for u-ray Disc DRM decrypting on at least some of these chips, meaning that the licenses for decrypting Blu-ray Disc DRM is included in the price of the hardware?

  • davilla Dec 30, 2009 

    @bash

    So sorry bash, you really need to check this further before making such very wrong statements, The kernel driver does NOT contain the firmware binary, that’s up to the userland library to handle. So expect this to enter the LInux kernel untainted :)

  • davilla Dec 30, 2009 

    @Richard Leo Ayotte

    As soon as you add a pci-e interface to the XBOX, then……

  • tofu713 Dec 30, 2009 

    In case anyone is interested… i found a blog that shows how to take apart the AppleTV and where to install the CrystalHD card and it has pictures.

    http://rufn.it/aTV/

  • gangsta75 Dec 30, 2009 

    Kudos to Davilla and to every guy that worked hard on this project.
    I’m watching 1080p mkv right now on my cheap AppletTV with the greatest media center ever.Is it a dream?

  • hohn Dec 30, 2009 

    IMHO support of DirectX Video Acceleration would be more intresting for many users. That Graficcards are widely spreaded, so why should i buy that seperate Hardware decoder.

  • WSz Dec 30, 2009 

    @Daryoon

    All Macs have their WIFI cards occupying this slot. That means anyone that wants full decoding of HD just has to swap them out. They lose wireless but that’s easily replaced by a usb stick or cat5. Those of us with Macbooks have a difficult decision to make however ;)

    This is beyond great news. And is exactly what media players need. SD is long dead. This is the future… and the future looks damn bright!

  • misoa Dec 30, 2009 

    I am interested if this will ever get on a PCI card. I am not willing to give up my ABIT NF7-S v2 yet.
    any news of this ?

  • Jezz_X Dec 30, 2009 

    @hohn
    If you go to the forums and search for DSPlayer you can see its allready being worked on, this just beat it to the official in the main version we compile and release to public

  • seeker83 Dec 30, 2009 

    @TjaLfE
    ah, true, vdpau only works on linux, but dxva might work soon on windows aswell ;) in any case support for this hardware is very nice aswell.

    I just read some articles about the new atom platforms (pine trail), and such a system coupled with a crystal hd card could very well be pretty much perfect for a tiny, low power, no noise htpc… :)

  • szuszak Dec 30, 2009 

    hello,

    I just want to say, if I don’t make a mistake, that the new version of the Crystal HD is the reference BCM70015
    http://www.broadcom.com/products/Consumer-Electronics/Netbook-and-Nettop-Solutions/BCM70015
    and
    http://www.broadcom.com/press/release.php?id=s431589&industry_id=1

    the BCM970012 is not the same that the new one (BCM70015 )
    http://www.broadcom.com/press/release.php?id=s387278

    You can find the BCM970012 for 20 bucks on ebay !

    szuszak

  • szuszak Dec 30, 2009 

    I forgot

    “Users in the USA can purchase the Crystal HD mini PCIE card from Logic Supply for $69 at the time of this posting”

    logic supply provide the BCM970012 version for almost 70 bucks… I have no actions with ebay but it seems cheaper !

  • yzeyze Dec 30, 2009 

    @Jezz_X
    Hi Jezz_X,
    Call me slow, but can you just clarify….
    Yes it is in Camelot,
    or No it was too late for Camelot and is in new SVN release.

  • Stefan Dec 31, 2009 

    Does the live version also support this? That is does it include the necessary drivers to support the hardware? Also while I know this device is mainly designed to be used with small form factor systems like laptops, etc., Is there are reason it wouldn’t work in a desktop system provided you used a mini PCIe to regular PCIe adapter? The driver wouldn’t be tied specifically to the chipsets used in laptops would it?

  • Jezz_X Dec 31, 2009 

    No its not in Camelot

  • yzeyze Dec 31, 2009 

    @Jezz_X
    Ok, thanks for that.
    They are so cheap on ebay, had to order one for my ATV.
    Looking forward to trying it out later….

  • Roman Dec 31, 2009 

    Great work!

  • Joker_ Dec 31, 2009 

    Stefan :
    Does the live version also support this? That is does it include the necessary drivers to support the hardware? Also while I know this device is mainly designed to be used with small form factor systems like laptops, etc., Is there are reason it wouldn’t work in a desktop system provided you used a mini PCIe to regular PCIe adapter? The driver wouldn’t be tied specifically to the chipsets used in laptops would it?

    I’m not a kernel developer but I’m pretty sure it is not tied to any specific chipset. You should be able to use it with any system you can attach it to.

  • erree Dec 31, 2009 

    so is it safe to buy the BCM970012 or should one get the BCM970015 model?

    thanks

  • Topnet Dec 31, 2009 

    @erree From my understand only BCM970010 and BCM970012 are supported in XBMC so far, isn’t that correct?

    Question is if autodetection of the chip and its functions will be added once BCM970015 is also supported?

    Would be great if future stable versions could autodetect Broadcom and VDPAU and enable automagically.

  • davilla Dec 31, 2009 

    @erree

    You can’t buy a BCM970015 yet. ETA is first or second quarter 2010 and even if you could purchase one, the release source code is not compatible with the BCM970015 yet.

  • pokerface Dec 31, 2009 

    Only problem I see vs a cheap Nvidia card with VDPAU that this Broadcom card only supprorts L4.1 encoding. That means some 1080p videos encoded in L5.1 will stutter.

  • well Dec 31, 2009 

    @pokerface
    well at least you could play those 1080p (h264) videos that are compliant with bluray (LP4.1).

    anyway about those h264 encodes with L5.1, theyre encoded out of spec of bluray compliance and intended to be played in a high-end computer. most of these 1080p encodes (lp5.1) wont even play in ps3. (try some mkv encoded with lp5.1 and use tsmuxer by smartlab to make a *.ts or m2ts, which ps3 can read. try playing them, either they dont work or work with problems.

  • pokerface Dec 31, 2009 

    I don’t know anything about ps3 but all L5.1 encodes playing fine on my HTPC (cheap 1core 2ghz amd + GF8400Gs) with VDPAU.
    And that is something I really miss from the Broadcom product.

  • davilla Dec 31, 2009 

    @pokerface

    The Broadcom Crystal HD will handle in HP@L5.1 with 10 ref frames or less, it’s just not listed in the official specs.

  • Jeff Jan 01, 2010 

    My GMA 500 netbook MSI U115 with the impressive Z530 CPU fully supports 1080p playback at about 40% CPU usage by making use of DXVA. Do you really wanna tell me that in 2010 I need to buy additional hardware for doing the same under Linux, like in the 90s when people had to buy Voodoo cards to accelerate 3D gaming? Wow – and I thought that Linux was an option…
    Video playback cards: What a joke!

  • mulder77 Jan 01, 2010 

    @Jeff
    For Linux there is VDPAU support on Nvidia cards. CPU usage while playing back 1080p stuff on N330 is at about 10-20%.

    These cards are interesting because the drivers are available as open source and they can be used with any graphics solution.

  • mike Jan 01, 2010 

    I might be wrong but as far as I can find out a non-hacked Apple TV can only output a stereo signal over S/PDIF. Since I don’t want to upgrade my receiver my question is if this is relevant on a hacked box running XBMC?

  • howaboutthis... Jan 01, 2010 

    @davilla
    care to ask this thing regard appletv with broadcom, what if i have videos in HP@5.1 with 10 ref frames or more (like 12-14), but the videos have lower resolutions like 720p (536p and lower etc), do you think it can handle those videos without problems? i know its kinda stupid why would a encoder reach that kind of profile despite of lower resolution were used. do you mind answering this question. im excited what are the effects and changes that would get after installin broadcom hardware decoder in myappletv.

  • erree Jan 01, 2010 

    @davilla
    thanks for replying
    i just hope i did the right choice, and you and the devteam eventually release the drivers for appletv. hope it will be soon. just want to say thanks, i’ve almost sold my appletv, but now, it has the right of second chance!

  • plexuser Jan 02, 2010 

    @gangsta75 What type of audio output is possible on the Apple TV? HD Audio over HDMI?

  • fox_nl Jan 02, 2010 

    What would be the minimum specced Mac Mini to be able to play 1080P fluently? Would any dual core or core 2 duo be sufficient?

  • gangsta75 Jan 02, 2010 

    @plexuser
    I’m using ubuntu live.No HDMI audio support yet AFAIK, i’m using analog output to my T-AMP :) .

  • Uxorious Jan 02, 2010 

    well :
    @pokerface
    well at least you could play those 1080p (h264) videos that are compliant with bluray (LP4.1).
    anyway about those h264 encodes with L5.1, theyre encoded out of spec of bluray compliance and intended to be played in a high-end computer. most of these 1080p encodes (lp5.1) wont even play in ps3. (try some mkv encoded with lp5.1 and use tsmuxer by smartlab to make a *.ts or m2ts, which ps3 can read. try playing them, either they dont work or work with problems.

    There are 3 main reasons a video could be L5+
    1) Higher macroblock rate than L4+ can support (super high resolution or high framerate).
    2) More memory requirements than L4+ can support (Typically number of reference frames used).
    3) User error.

    I would say that about half the files in the wild using L5+ are user error, and the remaining are memory restricted.
    Since PC’s generally don’t care much about memory, these L5+ files will play fine.

  • lucaiuli Jan 02, 2010 

    Look at this miniITX board at http://www.mini-box.com/D510MO-mini-ITX-Intel, with a miniPCI express slot:) it will be available this week, as I see, and the price is not too bad. I am considering buying it with a Broadcom Crystal HD miniPCI Express card (I don’t need wifi, or if I do the board has plenty of USB ports) with their M350 enclosure (that has a good airflow and already got it) – it would be a nice, cheap, fanless HTPC for my living :)

  • Dave Jan 02, 2010 

    @misoa I’m hoping for the same. I have a silent HTPC with a 10 month olf mini-ITX bord, but it’s only PCI :S

    @davilla Any ideas if there’s likely to be a PCI version? – I’m assuming the PCI bus can more than handle the bandwidth?

  • erree Jan 02, 2010 

    @lucaiuli
    hmm… this board does lack a HDMI port?..

  • lucaiuli Jan 02, 2010 

    @erree
    Yes, It does. I don’t mind that. I have an LCD with VGA port and an audio system.

  • multipass Jan 02, 2010 

    I installed windows 7 on a macmini and now it plays 1080p mkv’s at 20% cpu instead of the 110% in osx! Why isnt apple just giving support for the 9400 nvidia? They say QTX has hardware support but not for mkv?

    I’m still hoping for official support in snowleopard or am I dreaming?
    Great job from xbmc to make it happen with crystal HD, there is some hope now.

  • john Jan 02, 2010 

    yes, poor OLD OS X – so old, so old!… use OpenCL, you slowpokes.

  • ijhammo Jan 03, 2010 

    @john
    XBMC uses FFMpeg so its down to them to code for OpenCL support. I really hope they go this route is its the only standard across Windows/Linux/OSX and would make everyone’s live a whole lot easier :-)

    I have 2 Mac Mini’s waiting for the cards to be installed once they get to me from HongKong. I just hope I can get them working!

  • Topnet Jan 03, 2010 

    @john Problem with OpenCL is that it is only supported on the newer Macintosh computers with Nvidia GPUs, while Broadcom Crystal HD will work on all old Mac Mini’s out there with Intel GMA GPU, that means that people who own those can reuse them as a 1080p capable HTPC.

    @multipass My quess is that Apple will not officially support Matroska any time soon, maybe in a couple of years if and when the MKV format becomes more popular than AVI, I bet Perian will support GPU accelerated video decoding on Nvidia in QuickTime X or OpenCL before then.

    @Davilla, will Broadcom Crystal HD eventually also work on the even older PowerPC G4 and G5 based Mac’s with XBMC?

  • Carl Jan 03, 2010 

    Hi,

    Will having the broadcom crystal HD card installed in the ATV allow it to view 1080p content whether or not XBMC is in use. I dont always use XBMC to view movies thats all?

    Thanx

  • Topnet Jan 03, 2010 

    Carl :Hi,
    Will having the broadcom crystal HD card installed in the ATV allow it to view 1080p content whether or not XBMC is in use?

    No, the Broadcom Crystal HD will only be used by XBMC as it requires the developers to code support for it into the software application. I guess that Boxee might get support for it one day too as it is based on XBMC source code.

    Don’t count on Apple ever adding official support for it to their software, it will as already stated simply ignore that the Broadcom Crystal HD card. Perhaps the developers of Perian could add support for it if support for Broadcom Crystal HD could be added to FFmpeg as that is what Perian is based on?

  • erree Jan 03, 2010 

    @Davilla, any updates?
    thanks

  • VladGur Jan 03, 2010 

    Does apple TV have SPDIF/multichannel sound out?

  • Carl Jan 03, 2010 

    Topnet :

    Carl :Hi,
    Will having the broadcom crystal HD card installed in the ATV allow it to view 1080p content whether or not XBMC is in use?

    No, the Broadcom Crystal HD will only be used by XBMC as it requires the developers to code support for it into the software application. I guess that Boxee might get support for it one day too as it is based on XBMC source code.
    Don’t count on Apple ever adding official support for it to their software, it will as already stated simply ignore that the Broadcom Crystal HD card. Perhaps the developers of Perian could add support for it if support for Broadcom Crystal HD could be added to FFmpeg as that is what Perian is based on?

    Thanx Topnet

  • rickatnight11 Jan 03, 2010 

    Does anyone else feel that this is just a hardware solution thrown at a software problem?

  • Jezz_X Jan 03, 2010 

    rickatnight11 :Does anyone else feel that this is just a hardware solution thrown at a software problem?

    Thats kind of a crazy statement. How else would you solve that the ATV and others do not have the required hardware speed to decode 1080p. No matter how much tuning you do to the software it isn’t going to magically change the fact that the cpu isn’t quick enough to do it.

  • erree Jan 04, 2010 

    i’ve just realised that my LCD is HDReady, only. So it’s 720p (but has 1080p input, don’t know what it is).
    But anyway, I would be very glad if my ATV would run 720p smoothly!

  • davilla Jan 04, 2010 

    @rickatnight11

    If you have a high powered CPU in a box, then yes, you can do everything in software but that also means large/noisy box in the media room. This solution is aimed at small, low powered (both CPU and Watts) boxes that are silent. Pick the flavor of solution that works the best for you. For me it’s several AppleTVs with CrystalHD inside along with some VDPAU based boxes.

  • multipass Jan 04, 2010 

    So basicly Perian or rather FFmpeg is able to add the full software support for the nvidia based gpu’s so we get accelerated video?
    I understand that the crystalHD solution is perfect for ATV and old macmini’s with GMA’s.

  • zesty Jan 04, 2010 

    I find this all very exciting.
    Is it clear what the new specs will be . For example a 1:1 blu ray rip with makemkv will work, or will we have to use handbrake and lower bitrate or reduce frame rate somewhat.

  • davilla Jan 04, 2010 

    @zesty

    look at the pict again, this is a anydvd decrypted bluray disk image. No rips needed.

  • Topnet Jan 04, 2010 

    multipass :So basicly Perian or rather FFmpeg is able to add the full software support for the nvidia based gpu’s so we get accelerated video?

    Not yet, but they could in theory. FFmpeg does not yet support any type of GPU assisted video decoding on Mac OS X, and Perian will most likely not support it until FFmpeg developers coded it first, it could however in theory be coded in OpenCL which with Nvidia since Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, but I am sure that would not be a trivial task to code, so don’t expect it anytime soon. As far as I know no one is working on making that happen.

  • hvicioso Jan 05, 2010 

    So to install this we need to unmount the factory installed airport card on the apple tv? So do we loose wifi? if not how and where do we install the broadcom card?

  • erree Jan 05, 2010 

    good news: code.google.com/p/crystalhd-for-osx/

  • problem9 Jan 05, 2010 

    broadcom crystal hd ordered yesterday … waiting for great XBMC with fullhd on my appletv :)

    you’ve done very good job, thx

  • Multipass Jan 05, 2010 

    Are you guys buying the xxx12 instead of the xxx15 that will come out soon?

  • fishy007 Jan 05, 2010 

    Woohoo! Thanks for all your hard work on this davilla. I’ve been lurking and following for the past week when I saw the announcement. Now I just have to learn now to make it work :)

  • Colm Jan 06, 2010 

    Is there any architectural reason why the driver for this couldn’t be incorporated into the Quicktime plugins architecture on OS X, thereby exporting the accelerated decoding process to more applications (like Frontrow)?

  • captain_obvious Jan 06, 2010 

    So, many of us now have asked: is there any relief in sight for us who want to use semi-old systems without PCI-Express ports? Broadcom must be crazy not to tap into this market with cheap decoder cards, as these boxes otherwise do a sufficient job as HTPC’s.

    Modern PCI ports with hyperlink/v-link & the whole nine yards should not have a problem sustaining the bitrate at max 30 mbps or so(?) at all, should they? Maybe some converter sulutions could be used as well? What are the actual bandwith requirements for this?

  • Daniel Jan 06, 2010 

    First of all camelot is the best ever dont use any thing else.But i just wish the pictur cuality on high res was as god as with coreavc is this the way to go???

  • Daverx7 Jan 06, 2010 

    I ordered the mini pci-e card. Now I am trying to find a way to get this to work with my old PC. Maybe a mini-pcie to pcie converter card. Any suggestions?

  • contempt Jan 06, 2010 

    Has anyone received and installed this in an AppleTV yet? I’m curious of the performance boost as well as ease of installation. I didn’t see anything on Logic Supply site about installation instructions for AppleTV. I’m debating updating my AppleTV via this card or just purchasing one of the new Asus machines as the prices are pretty close.

  • Baba Jan 06, 2010 
  • davilla Jan 06, 2010 

    @Colm

    It could.

  • davilla Jan 06, 2010 

    @Baba

    No, USB is too slow to move 1080p.

  • Troll Jan 06, 2010 

    Those ebay versions of BCM970012 apear to be a total scam. They don’t support H.264/AVC HP at L 4.1 1080p, 40 Mbps.
    No wonder the price was only about $22-$25 including international shipping.

    Specs for cards sold on ebay – “H.264/AVC HP at L 4.1 1080i, 40 Mbps”
    Specs for cards sold on http://www.logicsupply.com/products/bcm970012 – “H.264/AVC HP at L4.1 1080i/1080p, 40 Mb/sec.”

  • Gaylord Jan 06, 2010 

    bcm970012 on ebay:
    720p, 1080i and 1080p support

    Is it the same chipset or not?

  • davilla Jan 06, 2010 

    @Troll

    LOL, they are all the same. The LogicSupply source is new layout, the ebay ones are old layout. Both are functionally Identical.

  • motd2k Jan 06, 2010 

    Troll :
    Those ebay versions of BCM970012 apear to be a total scam. They don’t support H.264/AVC HP at L 4.1 1080p, 40 Mbps.
    No wonder the price was only about $22-$25 including international shipping.
    Specs for cards sold on ebay – “H.264/AVC HP at L 4.1 1080i, 40 Mbps”
    Specs for cards sold on http://www.logicsupply.com/products/bcm970012 – “H.264/AVC HP at L4.1 1080i/1080p, 40 Mb/sec.”

    Your name is appropriate! The cards are identical

  • Baba Jan 06, 2010 

    Is there a way to put this Mini PCIe to PCIe port without a 100$ adapter ?
    Do you have a link to the Broadcom PCIe form factor ?

  • Gaylord Jan 06, 2010 

    … there is a DeLock PCIe > mini PCIe for EUR 39 on ebay.

  • carlamengo Jan 06, 2010 

    It’s like magic :) , just installed the Broadcom card before , now my MacMini 1.83 plays those 1080p files perfect :) ))))
    guess its time to donate some $$$

  • Don Jan 06, 2010 

    @VladGur

    It has S/PDIF via TOSlink port and outputs discrete 5.1 multi-channel sound via both that port and HDMI.

  • stickman Jan 06, 2010 

    Any idea when the expresscard version will be widely available for those laptops that blacklist (HP) minipci cards but that have an expresscard slot?
    This is the ultimate add-on for my HP Tablet :)

  • idabari Jan 07, 2010 

    carlamengo :
    It’s like magic :) , just installed the Broadcom card before , now my MacMini 1.83 plays those 1080p files perfect :) ))))
    guess its time to donate some $$$

    From Where u get osx driver?
    What media player u use?

  • Baba Jan 07, 2010 

    @Gaylord
    But not Mini PCIe to PCIe …. it’s not the same

  • Fysboy Jan 07, 2010 

    @idabari
    Hi!
    I think to buy Crystal HD for my MacMini 1,66 that’s like yours.Did you need to buy some other adaptors??..and ..the wifi card is available again??
    Thanx a lot

  • carlamengo Jan 07, 2010 

    @idabari

    used xbmc and got compiled the osx driver myself (http://code.google.com/p/crystalhd-for-osx/)

    but had to change crystalhd/darwin_lib/libcrystalhd/Makefile:
    CPPFLAGS += -O2 -Wall -fPIC -arch i386 -shared -isysroot /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.4u.sdk -mmacosx-version-min=10.4
    to
    CPPFLAGS += -O2 -Wall -fPIC -arch i386 -shared -isysroot /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.5.sdk -mmacosx-version-min=10.5

    and in ‘crystalhd/driver/darwin/BroadcomCrystalHD.xcodeproj/project.pbxproj’:
    10.4 to 10.5 and /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.4u.sdk to /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.5.sdk

    as i dont have a machine with 10.4 anymore

  • pmprichard Jan 07, 2010 

    For the case of the apple tv, when we remove the wireless n mini pcie card, can we then put it into a usb enclosure. Many thanks

  • pmprichard Jan 07, 2010 

    @pmprichard

    If not does anyone have any suggestions on how to add wireless n back to the apple tv

  • davilla Jan 07, 2010 

    @carlamengo

    If you install the optional 10.4SDK in the Xcode installer, that will install the 10.4SDK, you don’t need to be running 10.4 in order to build against 10.4SDK. This is of course required for building for the AppleTV as it a 10.4 varient. An OSX kext/dylib built against 10.5SDK or greater WILL NOT work under the AppleTV. An OSX kext/dylib built against 10.4SDK WILL work under both 10.4 and 10.4 system. 10.6 remains to be tested :)

  • carlamengo Jan 07, 2010 

    @davilla
    I know that the AppleTV is 10.4 based but i only have Snow Leopard Machines and no AppleTV, so i edited the Make- and Projectfile.
    Thanks about the optional 10.4SDK install tip, totaly forgot that, i allready was wondering why i dont have those on my machine.

  • Gaylord Jan 07, 2010 

    @Baba:
    I don’t get it. You want to use a mini PCIe card in a PCIe slot (e.g. a desktop-pc)?
    That’s what these adapters are made for.

  • pufnstuf Jan 07, 2010 

    @carlamengo

    hi carlamengo

    this is similar to my situation, I can’t wait to get my broadcom in the mailbox so I can boost up my mac mini.

    one question: do you think I can make the changes you made but compile on 10.6 I only have snow leopard installed now? So I would replace 10.4 with 10.6 in the files you have listed. Thanks!

    now.. hurry up Mr Postman and deliver!

  • davilla Jan 07, 2010 

    OSX binaries for Crystal HD kext and library are now available at http://code.google.com/p/crystalhd-for-osx/downloads/list

  • pufnstuf Jan 07, 2010 

    @davilla
    Thank you davillla! Also thanks for all the hours you and the xbmc-tam have put into this. My mac mini will live again!! :D

  • Bobby Blixberg Jan 08, 2010 

    The BCM970012 for my appleTV just arrived, already replaced the WiFi-card with it and installed the drivers.
    So now I am waiting patiently for the next XBMC release that supports Crystal HD.
    Thanks to davilla so far, and thanks to all other developers involved – looking forward to sell my WD TV Live ;)

  • Daverx7 Jan 08, 2010 

    I dug into the mini PCIe to PCIe and found a couple of options. One specifically calls out that it works with this, but it is about 2-3x (with shipping) the cost of the other option. Unfortunately, the cheaper option has not tested this device out and is focused on wifi adapters.

    Here is the cheaper untested version:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170422041954

    Here is the more expensive and should work as it claims to have tested this device:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180452507677
    Note the title of this auction is for the MP1, but the full detail description is for a different product. I have confirmed with the seller that it is for the MP1.
    Here is a link showing its compatibility list:
    http://www.bplus.com.tw/PDF/Compatibility_List.pdf

    Since my XBMC box is in the spirit of being the least expensive option, I am going to try the unproven one. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. ;-)

    -Dave

  • Thomas Jan 08, 2010 

    My card arrived this morning.

    Planning on buying a second hand AppleTV to test on this week.

  • davilla Jan 08, 2010 

    @Baba

    No, I’ve already mentioned this twice now, A mini pcie to USB adapter will NOT work. USB does not provide enough bandwidth even if the adapter works and the above adapter will not work at all as it only taps the USB pins on the mini pcie connector.

  • Daverx7 Jan 08, 2010 

    @davilla
    Hmm… that is disappointing that the mini PCIe to PCIe I mention above likely not working. From digging into it and seeing the more expensive (2nd) option specifically calling out this device on their compatibility list, I was hopeful. I am now much less hopeful of the cheaper option, but had to try it. I will post up the likely dismal (based on davilla’s comments) results from the cheap one, since I have already ordered it …

    Any one want to try the 2nd one and share with the community? :-)

    -Dave

  • Daverx7 Jan 08, 2010 

    @davilla
    Oh.. That link to the eBay auction has the wrong product information in the detail area of the auction. Here is a page that has a little more info about the MP1
    http://www.hwtools.net/Adapter/MP1.html

    Does, “Supports two primary system bus interface: PCI Express and USB” mean that it does more than tapping in to the USB pins?

    Sorry for making this more confusing.

    Thanks,

    -Dave

  • fishy007 Jan 08, 2010 

    @Baba
    I wonder if this (or something similar) will work for the wireless card that gets popped out of the AppleTV. It’d be nice to keep wi-fi capabilities and since the card was already in the system, we wouldn’t need new drivers for it. I just don’t know if it’ll work/get recognized over USB.

  • Delivereath Jan 09, 2010 

    I would like to use this broadcom chip on an Intel D510 card. However this mainboard hasn’t any DVI or HDMI port… Any low-cost solution to add a digital video output to this mainboard ?

  • minel Jan 09, 2010 

    I just realized that the Airport Express Ethernet port can be used as a LAN port towards the ATV while being connected through wireless to my Airport Extreme :) nice… no need for nasty hacks to get wifi back! :D

  • delirial Jan 11, 2010 

    @Daverx7
    Daverx7,

    I think the cheap option should work, in theory. If the card is able to do what it claims, it should be fine. davilla was referring to the ones that convert to USB, but both the cheap one and the expensive one have PCIe connectors.

    I may buy the cheap one just for kicks. But please let us know how that goes.

    del

  • Thomas Jan 11, 2010 

    Any ethernet to WiFi box/ adaptor would do the job…

  • Daverx7 Jan 11, 2010 

    @delirial
    I will be happy to share what what happens. I have both the Crystal HD and mini PCIe to PCIe adapter on order and is being shipped. Unfortunately, it is beingshipped from around the world, but I hope to get them some time this week.

    BTW, do we have any XBMC builds that take advantage of the Crystal HD yet? I want to make sure I am using the correct build for this.

    I so look forward to simplifying and not having to launch an external player to take advantage of H.264 processing off of the CPU. What I am currently doing is working okay, but it just doesn’t completely feel like XBMC. :-)

    -Dave

  • Multipass Jan 11, 2010 

    Guys when is the BCM970015 due ?

  • problem9 Jan 11, 2010 

    Broadcom Crystal HD installed, it’s awesome! anybody one to buy Dvico Tvix 6500A? i have one for sale :) )) Upgrade for 20E to enable fullhd, what a trade!

    But i have problem for now with ONE movie (Home), movieinfo is below.

    Home: Matroska: 10.00 GiB, 1h 58m 8 824 Kbps (9 063 Kbps), 1920*1080 (16:9), at 23.976 fps, AVC (Container profile=Unknown@4.1) (High@L4.1) (CABAC / 4 Ref Frames) – choppy playrate, 10fps, many many errors, unwatchable, error: 4000%+ its possible that movie is incorrectly converted.

    Star Trek: Matroska: 14.1 GiB, 2h 6mn 13.0 Mbps (13.3 Mbps), 1920*800 (2.40:1), at 23.976 fps, AVC (Container profile=Unknown@4.1) (High@L4.1) (CABAC / 5 Ref Frames) – superb, no problem at all 24pfs 99% of time

    It’s time to make donation for your great work, THX

  • davilla Jan 11, 2010 

    For those looking for CrystalHD enabled build check out the official xbmc nighties builds via Billy the BuildBot. See http://mirrors.xbmc.org/nightlies/osx/

  • davilla Jan 11, 2010 

    @Multipass

    I could tell you but then I’d have to…..

    Public estimates are Q1/Q2 2010.

  • DanB Jan 11, 2010 

    davilla :
    For those looking for CrystalHD enabled build check out the official xbmc nighties builds via Billy the BuildBot. See http://mirrors.xbmc.org/nightlies/osx/

    Thank you just what I needed. Be using the Jaunty Patch Stick but prefer the native version.

  • erree Jan 11, 2010 

    davilla :
    For those looking for CrystalHD enabled build check out the official xbmc nighties builds via Billy the BuildBot. See http://mirrors.xbmc.org/nightlies/osx/

    these builds have all the stuff in them, no need to do anything else than crystal module in atv?

  • Witchbender Jan 12, 2010 

    Are the Windows nightly builds also crystal enabled by now ?

  • Raggie Jan 12, 2010 

    Hi guys. I was wondering if any of you had problems with apple TV playing all the high definition .mkv files ? It lags seriously, i have XBMC from you and love it but apple TV does not seem to be handling the file size or resolution well enough.

    With hope for a solution.
    Best regards Raggie

  • minel Jan 12, 2010 

    @Raggie
    apple tv doesn’t play mkv files without an addon card properly installed … this is what this whole thread is about

  • Raggie Jan 12, 2010 

    Okay thanks. How do i get one for my apple TV ? Is it for sale in public markets or do I have to modify a card like this myself ?

  • Daverx7 Jan 12, 2010 

    @Raggie
    http://xbmc.org/davilla/2009/12/29/broadcom-crystal-hd-its-magic/comment-page-1/#comment-9390

    I got this info from page one on the comments of this topic. I believe all the information you need is either in the comments or in the article itself.

    Hope this helps.

    -Dave

  • Broadcom or Ion Jan 12, 2010 

    Right now what is the cheapest, small (mini itx) system that can be built that will run XBMC and smoothly play 1080p

    Is it cheaper to build a system using the Ion Chipset, or is it cheaper to get a cheap mini itx board and the Broadcom card?

  • Stuart M Aug 05, 2013 

    Just purchased the BCM970015 Crystal HD card on Amazon, a few days before that I had purchased the BCM970012 and apart from some stuttering & buffering in the beginning it worked pretty good in my Apple Tv 1st Gen I was impressed enough to get the newer card. The day I got it I installed it and about 10 minutes into the movie the picture just froze and the audio continued. I wasn’t able to stop the movie had to remove the power cord. I tried it in another Apple TV same issues is there such a thing as DOA cards it was a $40 price tag. Put the old card back in, I really want to use the new card. Is there a fix for this in terminal installing some extra drivers? Forgive me if this is a wrong place for this post.

About XBMC

XBMC is a free and open source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium. XBMC is available for multiple operating-systems and hardware platforms, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.