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Friday, September 25, 2009

Future is TV-shaped, says Intel

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, San Francisc

The world's biggest chip maker predicts that by 2015 there will be 12 billion devices capable of connecting to 500 billion hours of TV and video content.

Intel said its vision of TV everywhere will be more personal, social, ubiquitous and informative.
"TV is out of the box and off the wall," Intel's chief technology officer Justin Rattner told BBC News.

"TV will remain at the centre of our lives and you will be able to watch what you want where you want.

"We are talking about more than one TV capable device for every man and woman on the planet. People are going to feel connected to the screen in ways they haven't in the past," said Mr Rattner.
Intel's developer forum in San Francisco was told that the success of TV is down to the fact there are a growing number of ways to consume content.

Today that includes everything from the traditional box in the corner of the living room to smartphones, laptops, netbooks, desktops and mobile internet devices.
Attendees were also told to get set for an explosion of content by Cisco's vice president of video product strategy, Malachy Moynihan.

"We are seeing an amazing move of video to IP (internet) networks. By 2013 90% of all IP traffic will be video. 60% of all video will be consumed by consumers over IP networks," said Mr Moynihan.

"Infinite choice"

At the conference, developers were told by Intel's digital home group boss Eric Kim "keep it simple and easy".

"Don't make my TV act like a PC. This is what we hear consistently from the consumer. The key challenge is how to bring the power and richness of the internet but keep it TV simple," said Mr Kim.

During the event, Mr Kim told developers "you now have the power to build the best of all possible worlds" after he had unveiled the company's Atom CE4100 system-on-a-chip (SoC) to bring internet content and services to digital TV's, DVD players and advanced set top boxes.

Codenamed Sodaville, it is the first 45 nanometer manufactured consumer electronics SoC based on Intel architecture.

The audience heard from a number of speakers on what promises to be a new kind of TV experience as broadcast content, video content, internet content and personal content is all blended together.
Eric Huggers who is behind the success of the BBC's iPlayer said "it's about unlocking a whole raft of new capabilities and services.

Think of TV as an opportunity to give consumers a gateway to infinite choice," he added in a video presentation.

"IMAX quality"

When it comes to technology that looks like gaining ground, Mr Rattner spotlighted 3 dimensional (3-D) TV.

"It seems like there is an announcement every week on 3-D," he told developers.

The Intel cto said he had planned to use a high-definition TV during his presentation but changed his mind when he heard about a Silicon Valley start up called HDI.

HDI is claiming a world first with the launch of its 100 inch 3-D laser set earlier this month.

HDI said its TV delivers the quality of IMAX to the living room with 1000 frames per second compared to the standard 240 frames per second.

The big manufacturers like Sony and Panasonic have announced plans to release 3-D TV sets next year, while Samsung and Mitsubishi have recently released their products.

At a consumer electronics show in Berlin, Sony's chief executive office Howard Stringer said "3-D is clearly on the way to the mass market. The train is on the track and Sony is ready to drive it home."
Screen Digest is forecasting 1.2 million 3-D capable sets in American homes by the end of next year.

That figure is expected to rise to 9.7 million, or 8% of households, by 2013.

"Fading fast"

Another highlight of Mr Rattner's presentation was a live 3-D broadcast. While he was inside the auditorium, Mr Rattner spoke to a 3-D version of Howard Postley, the cto of 3ality Digital who was outside in the hallway.

The two men talked about a new high speed optical technology from Intel codenamed Light Peak aimed at improving bandwidth and flexibility while significantly reducing the complexity and cost of digital downloads.

The conference was told that 50 copper-based cables on the set of a 3-D shoot today may one day be replaced with a single optical cable with Light Peak technology.

Intel hopes to have the product ready to ship next year.

The overall 3-D market is expected to grow to an estimated $25 Bn by 2012 according to the research firm Piper-Jaffray.

"The old TV world is fading fast and the future is here," said Mr Rattner.

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