I have the Zotac HD-ID11 and have put XP on it and MPC-HC, along with an older copy of powerdvd 7.3 that has blu-ray/h.264 hardware decoding capability. The powerdvd came with a refurb sony bluray drive I bought a while ago.
I've played some DVD's on it in mpc-hc and powerdvd just fine. I hooked up the sata blu-ray drive with the innards from an external sata hard drive case, duct tape, a few stone knives and a bear skin. Powerdvd played a few blu-rays just fine with this setup. I have no reason to believe they wouldnt play if ripped or converted to a format that mpc-hc or powerdvd supported.
I also downloaded an h.264 1080p copy of Big Buck Bunny and played that fine in powerdvd. It didnt play well in mpc-hc. I had this same problem before with mpc-hc and installed the coreavc codec and that solved it. This was with a revo 1600.
I have the very, very latest nvidia driver and the very latest flash on XP, and it doesnt play HD youtube or netflix well at all. Its choppy and in some cases (mostly with 720p or 1080p) it goes to a slow mo slide show. I've seen a few people say that this works great for them on the same hardware, but the correlation I think I'm seeing is that they're running windows 7 and I'm running XP.
I also own a single core atom/original ion revo 1600, and basically had the same exact results with that. Both this fancy dan new box and the old one will run almost any properly formatted video with mpc-hc or powerdvd, although admittedly the dual core atom version is a lot snappier at startup/app load/etc. I've even run the "directv2pc" app on the revo 1600, which streams mpeg4 video from my directv dvr with encryption and all sorts of stuff. That app calls for a minimum 2GHz dual core and wants a gpu with hardware acceleration of mpeg4. However it does load, eventually, on the 1600 and, eventually, starts playback of a show. After that its actually indistinguishable from any other computer in the house. I havent tried this yet on the Zotac HD-ID11, although i have a feeling it wont work or work as well because....
I wish I'd known about the "next generation" ion hanging off a PCI-E X1 channel. Thats simply not fast enough for streaming video with overlays. Basically that'll be quick enough for one way video acceleration, but youtube, netflix and directv2pc all dump the video off for decoding, then they want it back to put menus, overlay and ads on top of it (compositing), and then send it back to the graphics chip for display. Three trips rather than the one trip for displaying a dvd, blu-ray or mkv file. An X1 channel doesnt have the bandwidth for three trips.
Its possible to offload more of the work to the GPU and reduce the round trips, and that might make video playback with flash and silverlight work better, but as soon as any overlay or menu gets added, you're going to get stuttering video.
Nvidia's decision to not license the patented goodies from Intel that would let them make a next gen ion that was the central hub, like the original ion was, seems to me to have been a bad one. I dont think this architecture will actually ever work as designed for composited, overlaid streaming video. At a minimum the developers at adobe, microsoft and directv would have to make major, major changes to their software just for the NG ion.
I think the motherboard makers could sacrifice other stuff and maybe scrape up enough bus bandwidth to bump the connection up to 4x, which would be good enough, but I dont know how useful a box with no wireless and no gigabit ethernet would be.
I havent tried any other software options, because I dont want to throw another $100 at this thing to run windows 7 and see if that helps. There isnt much reason to expect that linux would do any better either, but since thats free I might give it a whirl.
Of course, the 1600 did everything that this does for me, I just wanted the nicety of snappier speed and presumably youtube and netflix video playback and I didnt get the latter.
Sadly, newegg doesnt take these back. Its 30 day replace only for a defective unit. I cant even bequeath it to my kid because 90% of what he does involves flash with a lot of overlays.
Other than the streaming video issue, the only other problem I've had with the HD-ID11 is heat. The little fan on the cpu/ion certainly whizzes some air around, but there is a good size gap between its exhaust and the teeny tiny holes in the case. So a good bit of the hot air just gets blown around inside the case. I'm considering enlarging a few of the holes and sealing the gap between the exhaust cowl and the case side, but I think that will make it louder. Maybe a lot louder. The hard drive also runs at 125+ degrees, which is a little hot for me. I did notice that if I stand the unit up on its little stand with the fan exhausting upwards, that the cpu temps dropped by almost 10 degrees. My only explanation for that is that in that orientation, convection cooling becomes a possibility and that gap between the cowl and the case side lets some warm air flow out through the top. I havent had a chance to see how that affects hard drive temps.
Lastly, while I havent removed the motherboard to look under it, this looks like a board screwed into a plastic case with no RF shielding of any kind. I havent experienced any interference from this with anything else, since there isnt anything within 5' of the box. I've noticed the shielding and metal springy fingers that the revo 1600 use, and presume those are there for a reason. The plastic also doesnt do much for heat dissipation.
I'm almost tempted to find a small empty case with a large quiet fan and stick the ID-11 in it with its case top removed. I could then also mount a dvd drive in the bigger case and connect it to the USB port on the ID-11 and dispense with the external drive that I seem to need regularly for one thing or another. I'll wait and see if the heat becomes a problem down the road.