VIA Technologies, which has been instrumental in establishing mini-ITX motherboards as a form factor for multimedia Pcs, has announced the VIA EPIA EN-Series, the first to feature the VIA C7 1.5GHz processor, and the first to allow hardware encoding of HD. The board is built around the advanced VIA CN700 digital media IGP chipset, which offers full hardware HDTV encoding up to 1080i, 720p output, hardware MPEG-2 acceleration, VIA Vinyl Multi-channel Audio, support for up to 1GB of DDR2 400/533MHz memory, full featured SATA II RAID, an LVDS module connector and Gigabit LAN. According to the manufacturer, the power efficiency of the processor and the platform enables ultra compact designs with a maximum power consumption of just 21 watts. This is all good news for living room media centre PCs. The tiny form factor, low heat generation and HD capabilities should usher in a new wave of attractive AV PCs to rival Intel’s Viiv models. Expect the component to enter distribution over the next month. For a look at the kind of amazing custom PCs made possible by the mini ITX form factor, click here.