Intersil, Vixs team on wireless video

Chipmaker Intersil and start-up Vixs woo consumer-electronics makers with a team approach to wireless video.

Chipmaker Intersil and start-up Vixs have teamed up in hopes of giving consumer-electronics makers a clearer picture of wireless video delivery.

Intersil and Vixs announced Monday that they will work together to help developers improve the transmission of video over wireless networks. The companies plan to share technology to create a single set of chips and software that can be used in new wireless consumer products.

Wireless networks let consumers share resources such as printers and broadband connections and swap content such as e-mail and files through devices that are not physically connected. PC and consumer-electronics companies hope to capitalize on the growing interest in wireless networking by creating a new generation of wireless products.

In a sign of the willingness of companies to work together to develop this new class of products and give a much-needed boost to PC and consumer-electronics sales, 17 companies announced an alliance last week to draft guidelines to promote home networking of wireless and other consumer products.

Intersil and Vixs hope to provide those companies with software and chips that will improve the delivery of video over wireless networks. They are designing these based on the 802.11g standard.

"Networks are hostile to video because of bandwidth and latency issues," said Ciricia Proulx, director of marketing at Vixs. "However, streaming video is viewed as a mass market opportunity via consumer-electronics products."

Digital video content, such as DVD or high-definition television programming, often consists of large files in a number of different formats. Playback can be difficult because the device must know how to read each format, and agonizingly slow because of the size of the files.

Proulx added that the software and chips Vixs and Intersil are working on will make it easier for the network to determine how best to present video content on a certain device, taking into consideration security and bandwidth.

The first batch of products using the Vixs and Intersil chips and software will be available in Asia by the end of the year. The companies have already been working with Japanese and Korean consumer-electronics makers, Proulx said.