Is there a netbook that can play Flash video well?
December 6, 2009 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Help me recommend a netbook to a coworker that can play Flash video well.

As the resident "computer" person at my work, I get asked for advice quite frequently. I'm not as up-to-date as I used to be, so I was hoping someone more in the know could comment.

A co-worker is looking for a computer for use solely at home. The main desires are something that is light, has a decent battery life, and is cheap. A netbook seems like an obvious choice.

The snag is that she would like to be able to watch streaming Netflix movies on it. Last I checked, the netbooks all had pretty meager abilities for Flash video.

I looked into this a bit, and saw that it looks like Flash is going to be accelerated for netbooks with Nvidia Ion chip sets. I was thus going to recommend something like the HP Mini 311. Does this make sense, or is there a better option?
posted by dubitoergosum to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
As a sidenote, I'm not sure Netflix streaming uses Flash. But it's definitely resource-intensive.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:27 AM on December 6, 2009

Yeah Netflix uses Silverlight to stream it's video.
posted by bigmusic at 11:32 AM on December 6, 2009

In my experience the Atom chips are just too slow to get decent full-screen performance from streaming video sites like Hulu and Netflix. I'd look for something more in the 10"-12" screen range with a Core 2 Duo.
posted by richrad at 12:01 PM on December 6, 2009

Best answer: An Atom CPU with an Nvidia Ion chipset will be enough to play even HD video given the right software support. Netflix uses Silverlight, which should be able to take advantage of DXVA acceleration on the Ion. Flash Player 10.1 (which has a beta out now, which isn't perfect) also will support DXVA. That should cover the streaming pretty well.
posted by zsazsa at 12:08 PM on December 6, 2009

Best answer: Netflix streams perfectly well on my Dell Mini running Win7.
posted by chez shoes at 1:03 PM on December 6, 2009

Note that the HP 311 (I own one) might be a bit expensive for what it is; a little bit more money will buy a computer with a dual-core CULV processor.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:06 PM on December 6, 2009

Best answer: Oh, and Anandtech has just come out with a Mobile Buyers' Guide; it mentions the HP 311, which they reviewed earlier.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:27 PM on December 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Alright, thanks all! I will ponder this for a while.
posted by dubitoergosum at 5:37 PM on December 6, 2009

Netflix does not use flash to play movies. It only uses Silverlight.

For youtube you can get very good performance by using the chrome browser and the youtube html5-ifier addon, which bypasses using flash for youtube, and makes videos playback much more smoothly.
posted by idiopath at 11:45 PM on December 8, 2009

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