iTV has new chip for cheaper Net box

iTV developed a low-cost, high-speed chip for a cheaper kind of of Internet box.

iTV has developed a low-cost, high-speed computer chip that the company said will help introduce a cheaper kind of of Internet box it plans to launch this year.

The iTV chip is a variant of one that was developed for NASA spacecraft for satellite imaging of planet surfaces. It runs at 400 MIPS, uses a hundredth of the electricity, and costs a fiftieth of the price of a Pentium chip, helping to bring the cost of iTV's Internet product to less than $300, according to the company.

iTV officials are quick to point out, however, that the planned box is not a Network Computer, the name for the slew of Internet boxes being designed with a single architecture overseeen by Oracle.

Rather, iTV describes its device as an Internet converter about the size of a handheld video game. The unit connects a telephone line to a TV set, giving the user access to email and the Internet by means of a keyboard.