Intel is taking a different approach to entering the Smart TV market successfully by working with cable and satellite TV operators instead of HDTV manufacturers.
On Tuesday Intel revealed the 4th-generation Atom CE5300 "Berryville" Media Processor, a 32-nm SoC focused on the next-generation set-top boxes and media gateways. The chip promises better performance, graphics, power management and user interface improvements so that service providers in turn can dish out a more comprehensive and immersive connected experience to the end-user. One such device already available is the Amino Freedom Live media gateway which can deliver content seamlessly to TVs, smartphones and tablets around the home.
"Imagine not crowding around a PC to video chat. Instead, this new chip from Intel will enable you to video conference with friends and family from your big screen TV in the living room," writes Marcia Hansen of Intel's InsideScoop. "You’ll be able to show your girlfriends your new dance moves without having to worry about getting your laptop camera aimed properly. Also imagine a great new 3D user interface and console-level graphics for gaming with this high performance chip in set-top boxes."
The new chip features dual Atom cores with support for hyperthreading and virtualization, an advanced 3D/2D graphics engine, integrated power management, and an H.264 B-picture hardware encoder. The chip is expected to pave the way for additional services provided by the likes of Comcast and Time Warner like streaming games, home security, IT/help desk, and home automation.
"It’s the brains in a set-top box that seamlessly combines the Internet with TV," Hansen writes. "It means that Intel and service providers are all working to bring you an easy-to-use interface, 3D graphics capabilities, improved search, and of course, downloadable apps and games for your various digital TVs."
Previously Intel helped produce the chipset found in the first generation of Google TV products as well as Boxee Box by D-Link. But the company shuttered its Digital Home Group after Google TV failed to attract attention, and thus launched its Service Provider Division (SPD) to provide solutions for Telcos, Cable Multi-service Operators and Satellite providers. Current customers include Comcast, Free, Liberty Global/UPC, Bouygues Telecom, Numericable and Telecom Italia.