Intel aims to power TV revolution

23 Apr 2008

Having enabled the PC revolution over the past 30 years, Intel now wants to enable the consumer electronics revolution for the next 30 with microprocessors powering next-generation TVs, set-top boxes, digital video recorders, smart phones and games consoles, the general manager of Intel’s Digital Home Group told

The one-way interaction we know as the living-room TV experience is about to take on a whole new meaning as a two-way interactive experience with Intel working on a new generation of microprocessors codenamed ‘Canmore’ which will feature in a wide range of consumer electronics devices.

Eric Kim (pictured), general manager of Intel’s Digital Home Group, was in Ireland this week to visit Intel’s operations here, which employ 5,000 people.

Kim, who in 2002 featured on Time Magazine’s ‘Global Influentials’ list, previously served as Intel’s chief marketing officer, spearheading the company’s ‘Leap Ahead’ rebranding. Prior to that, he was an executive vice-president responsible for making Samsung one of the world’s leading consumer electronics brands.

“Our basic vision is that as the world of internet becomes the ubiquitous platform for consumers to engage, interact and share, that internet engagement will come to traditional consumer electronics categories as well.

“Today, the hottest area is the smart phone with internet connectivity and the ability to interact and engage on the go. We believe the next major phenomenon is going to be on television. Until now, TV has been a one-way, broadcast-oriented device. There’s no reason why it can’t be a two-way communications device with the ability to connect and share content and services in a ubiquitous fashion,” Kim said.

He explained the fundamental advantage Intel brings to the table. Up until now the internet has happened largely on PC architecture, with all software and content being developed on that architecture. However, the idea of moving the architecture to a T-optimised platform can be handled by the company.

“Right now we’re making a huge investment in bringing the 100pc internet architecture compatibility to a purpose-built system-on-a-chip (SOC) for television.

“This was never possible before. It has required breakthroughs in silicon technology because Intel architecture is quite demanding and being able to deliver that in a power envelope which meets the needs of consumer electronics devices will be equally demanding. For example, if you’re talking about devices that will sit in the living room, they can’t have noisy fans or big boxes like the PC. These devices will need to be simple and elegant.

“Our ‘Canmore’ chip is one of the most advanced microproccessors we have ever created. It combines the full power of the Intel microprocessor family with leading-edge audio and video capabilities.

“Expect it to go into products like TVs, digital video recorders and Blu-ray players.

“Hollywood and the TV business are moving towards giving the full movie and TV experience, plus interactivity. That’s the kind of capability our silicon is intended to deliver and combined with the internet will provide an even greater experience using content and services that engage with your movie experience. This will be the start of a whole new era for TV.”

By John Kennedy