Via hasn't been doing particularly well in the netbook market compared to giant Intel. But the company is nonetheless ready to try its hand once again with the successor to 2008's VX800 media system processor, the new-and-improved VX900. Designed to be coupled with a VIA Nano-3000 series processor, the chip integrates all the traditional North and South bridge functionality into a small single chip package and promises to bring stunning video playback to netbooks.

Key features of the VX900 include hardware acceleration using VIA's ChromotionHD 2.0 engine for a range of popular video codecs – including H.264, MPEG-2, VC-1, MPEG-4 and WMV – DirectX 9 graphics support, DDR3 1066 memory support, and integrated support for up to eight USB ports. There is also an IDE controller, support for two SATA II drives and PCI-E 2.0, eight-channel HD audio, and support for connectivity standards like Display Port, HDMI and VGA.

The multimedia chip will be easily capable of 1080p Blu-ray movie playback according to the company, with power consumption just barely higher than the previous VIA VX855 chip at around 2W and with a CPU load of less than 20%. Of course Blu-ray playback isn't likely in a cheap netbook, but the company appears to be emphasizing the growing trend of high-definition video available on the internet via streaming.

It looks like this might be a decent alternative to the Intel Atom + Broadcom Crystal HD solution, but it remains to be seen if system integrators pick up the new chip when it hits the market sometime in the second half of 2010.