Welcome to G45! Better (but still imperfect)
First, our competition threw together a demo booth which stated baldly that HP laptops with G(M)45 did not accelerate Blu-ray at all while theirs, naturally, did. Of course, the Intel system was running Vista AeroGlass while the competitive system was not, and no specifics about which memory or CPUs each was using were given. It was clearly not an apples-to-apples comparison... but the fact that the Intel CPU was pegged at 100% is just as clearly an indication hardware acceleration was not working. I'll not try to puzzle out why (the competition is of course going to try to put themselves in the best light possible), but it was unfortunate FUD.
Next, Extremetech did a very unflattering review on the Intel DG45ID board. While most of their criticisms concentrated on gaming, they threw in a paragraph about Blu-ray playback as well. I'll be honest: I skipped everything regarding gaming; it's not and never will be my focus. But they brought up a couple of troublesome issues: they, too, did not see hardware acceleration on G45 Blu-ray playback. They updated this a couple of days later with a correction (presumably someone from Intel got involved to tell them about the proper BIOS settings) showing the acceleration working now, but a less-than-stellar benchmark (the only one they ran) remains: on the HD HQV test, Intel scored a paltry 30 out of 100.
While I question the value of some of the HD HQV tests when evaluating Blu-ray (a topic for another time), they are in fact valid tests."
Aaron also goes on to detail some of the more specific issues with the G45 and talks about some of the things Intel is doing, along with their partners, to try to alleviate them. The discussion spurred on by the blog post of course includes may comments from readers now questioning Intel's ability to create adequate software, i.e. drivers, for Larrabee, when Mr. Brezenski blames software for many of the G45's issues. To that point, he responds, "Connecting these issues in any way with Larrabee is way out there. Entirely different architecture, entirely different story. I'm barely qualified to speak on the video topics I do rant about; I'm certainly not qualified to comment on Larrabee plans." Let's hope he's right for Intel's sake. While Larrabee is still quite a ways off from being an actual product, Intel's certainly needs quality drivers right from the get go to be taken seriously by not only gamers, but developers who may look to exploit its features. No matter how good the hardware is, the software is still key to a great user experience. Just look to today's multi-GPU graphics configurations for current, real word example.