The media chip that will drive the next consumer revolution

21 Aug 2008

A microprocessor codenamed ‘Canmore’ – now known as the Intel Media Processor CE 3100 – which was manufactured at Intel’s Leixlip operations just in time for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2008, is being used by Intel and a variety of TV stations and internet firms to deliver TV in ‘widget’ form.

Intel and Yahoo! yesterday previewed plans for the Widget Channel – an application framework for TV and related consumer electronics (CE) devices that uses the Intel architecture.

Building on the related announcement of the Intel Media Processor CE 3100, the Widget Channel will enable TV watchers to interact with and enjoy a rich set of ‘TV Widgets’, or small internet applications designed to complement and enhance the traditional TV-watching experience.

Many companies are on-board including Blockbuster, CBS Interactive, CinemaNow, Cinequest, Disney-ABC Television Group, eBay, GE, Group M, Joost, MTV, Samsung Electronics, Schematic, Showtime, Toshiba and Twitter.

The CE 3100 was developed by Intel for internet-connected CE products such as optical media players, connected CE devices, advanced cable set-top boxes and digital TVs.

The media processor combines leading-edge features for high-definition video support, home-theatre quality audio and advanced 3D graphics.

“As consumers look to stay connected and entertained regardless of where they are and what device they are using, the web continues to affect our lives in new ways and is quickly moving to the TV thanks to a new generation of internet-connected CE devices,” said Eric Kim, Intel senior vice-president and general manager of the company’s Digital Home Group.

“As Intel delivers its first IA SoC (system-on-a-chip) with leading-edge performance and internet compatibility for consumer electronics devices, we are providing a powerful and flexible technology foundation upon which the industry can quickly innovate.

“This technology foundation will help the hi-tech industry bring devices to market faster, as well as encourage new designs and inspire new services, such as connecting the TV to the internet,” Kim said.

Earlier this year during a visit to Ireland, Kim told how the local Fab-24 operation played an integral role in ensuring the speedy production of the SoC device in time for it to be previewed at CES 2008.

“Canmore first left our design lab for manufacturing late last year and the very first chip was produced by Fab 24 at the end of last year. Fab 24 literally established new records in giving the fastest turnaround possible. It was simply amazing.

“The first chip out of the factory in Leixlip was so good that I was able to demonstrate this to the whole world at the 2008 CES,” Kim said.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: the Intel Media Processor CE 3100 system-on-a-chip device


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years