Intel unveils system-on-a-chip for TVs

The CE4100 is designed to bring Internet content and services to digital TVs, DVD players, and advanced set-top boxes.

Eric Kim of Intel shows how Intel has shrunk the size of the chip (L) from the previous generation of silicon
Eric Kim of Intel shows how Intel has shrunk the size of the chip (L) from the previous generation of silicon Stephen Shankland, CNET News

SAN FRANCISCO--A system-on-a-chip for TVs introduced Thursday at the Intel Developer Forum heralds a new generation of silicon from Intel.

The CE4100 packs a number features onto one piece of silicon--the same design goal for future Intel chips that will be used in smartphones and Netbooks. The chip is designed to bring Internet content and services to digital TVs, DVD players, and advanced set-top boxes, said Eric Kim, senior vice president and general manager, Intel Digital Home Group, in his keynote at IDF 2009 here Thursday.

Integration is the chip's strong suit. In addition to an Atom processor, the chip integrates a graphics processor, display processor, silicon for decoding for MPEG4 video, networking technology, and many of the typical connectors--such as USB and Serial ATA (SATA)--found on a PC. Intel says the chip can decode up to two 1080p video streams.

Intel is looking to catch the large wave of content moving to the Internet. Malachy Moynihan, vice president for video product strategy in the Cisco Service Provider Video Technology Group, who gave a presentation as part of Kim's keynote, said his company has now delivered 50 million set-top boxes, adding that high-resolution video, 3D graphics, and high-performance processors are becoming increasingly important as content becomes more multimedia rich.

Adobe Systems was also part of the keynote. Adobe Flash Player 10 will run on the new Intel silicon to "enable for the first time a wide array of Flash-based content on the television," said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president of Adobe's Platform Business Unit.

And Intel is working with CBS on a new TV widget platform designed to help people discover programs that are relevant to their interests, according to George Schweitzer, president of CBS Marketing. (Editors' note: CNET News is published by the media company's CBS Interactive unit.)

The CE4100 chip is sampling to customers now.

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