Team XBMC recently announced their work with Broadcom Media PC Group to bring 1080p hardware decoding to XBMC via the Broadcom Crystal HD hardware decoder (BCM970012).
Right now, the Crystal HD chip is only in mini PCIe cards but should make it’s way to PCIe x1 and ExpressCard some time in the future. This means lots of love for nettops, netbooks, AppleTV and Mac Mini (at the cost of $69) but none for the rest of us for a while. Broadcom Crystal HD support will be available in the next release of XBMC. Until then you can try out one of the nightly builds.
This changes the game for XBMC and other multimedia software because it has a common programming API, it’s cross-platform, and it’s open source. Hopefully we’ll see more 3rd party media players taking advantage of this soon.