Graphics cards used in streaming video?

Do video cards have any impact at all on the display of streaming video? I’m shopping for a notebook for my wife, and she says shes doesn’t plan to play games on it but she does want to be able to watch streaming video (she’s been enjoying some things on youtubes.) She wants XP and not Vista so no need for a graphic card there, but I am going to bump up the RAM to 2 Gig. So is it worth spending an extra $100 on a video card?

Not for YouTube videos, no. Some graphics cards accelerate MPEG-2, H.264 and other video codecs but this is only of concern for very high bitrate local video sources. Crappy integrated graphics chips will play YouTube quality video (or even standard DVD quality video, these days) just as well as expensive video cards.

Yeah, even my aging laptop with a crummy Radeon 9200 can handle Youtube, Google Video, Vimeo, Stage6, etc. fairly easily. Getting acceleration assistance only really matters once you get up to HD resolutions and quality.

Great, thanks!

Yea. My old Radeon Mobility 9700 had a hardish time playing 720p video but could handle streaming just fine.

My girlfriend’s Dell Latitude laptop has problems with Netflix streaming video (green video window). It also had problems hooking up with our flatscreen tv, but updated drivers fixed that.

You’ll need special commercial applications with PureVideo (or the ATI equivalent) to have your graphics card to any work anyways.