1080P Playback from an AppleTV or Intel Mac
The XBMC team has unlocked the ability to play 1080p H264 from an AppleTV or Intel Mac using a Broadcom decoder chip. You won’t be able to do this without purchasing a decoder board so don’t even ask. You can find these cards for ~$25 on Ebay, just search for “BCM970012” and you will see a plethora of vendors. Unfortunately this support is still quite alpha so you’ll have to build the kext driver yourself, but once you do that you can expect performance like you’ve never seen.
Mac Mini Reborn
So not only does the AppleTV support this card but any Intel based Mac with a mini PCI-express slot, which is just about every one of them. Unfortunately that slot is usually occupied by the Airport Express so it’s give and take. So take any Intel Mac Mini, swap the WiFi card for this bad boy, and get 1080P playback while using XBMC. Mac Mini’s that suffered from lag while playing high bit-rate H264 can now offload the task to this card and become a perfect HTPC.
How the hell do I get in on this?
Well first go out and buy the card and then head over here. You can grab the drivers from the Google Code link in that post as well as the walkthrough to build the binaries. Again, this is alpha stage work so the drivers have not been built into XBMC yet. I look forward to the day when the drivers are built in by default but I’m sure that’s coming soon.
Once I get the card in from Hong Kong and installed and running I’ll be sure to post my guide. I may even try to streamline the install process to make it easier if they don’t include the driver sometime soon. Be sure to look for my guide in a few weeks.