Looking to build an HTPC but unhappy with how big even a mini-ITX case looks? Check out VIA’s new P720, a pico-ITX board barely bigger than a business card that manages to pump out full-on 1080p HD video. The new board offers up hardware decoding for H.264, VC1, WMV, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 codecs, meaning that most HD video should be supported. The hardware decoding chip is partnered with a 1GHz VIA Eden ULV processor and Chrome9 HCM integrated graphics. While the Eden and Chrome9 haven’t had the warmest of welcomes in the consumer markets, bundling them with some hardware decoding chips lifts the board to a whole new level.
The regular board comes with native HDMI out, one SATA port and an IDE connector as well as pin-outs that support Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, six USB2.0 ports, a PS/2 connector and audio connections for line-in, line-out and mic-in. A small daughterboard, the P720-A, sits on top of the pins on either side of the HDMI out port and adds a physical VGA connector, two USB2.0 ports and an RJ-45 port for networking. The daughterboard itself is so small that adding it to the P720 doesn’t do much to change its diminutive form factor.
There’s no price yet available, though this board is probably aimed more at OEMs rather than your average do-it-yourselfer. Still, it’s an exciting little product. VIA uploaded a video clip of it doing its 1080p thing to YouTube: