Intel Shows Broad Industry Support for Internet Experience to Your TV

Thursday, January 8th, 2009
Intel Corp logo

LAS VEGAS — Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) showed broad industry support today that brings a variety of rich Internet applications to the TV through new connected consumer electronics (CE) devices running on the Intel® Media Processor CE 3100. The new Intel processor is the first in a family of purpose-built System on Chips (SoCs) designed specifically for the CE industry.

Eric Kim, senior vice president of Intel’s Digital Home Group, outlined the company’s CE vision last August. He said the company plans to bring Internet-based content to the TV through the power of CE-centric Intel processors and a new TV applications framework called the Widget Channel, developed with Yahoo! Inc. Today, a variety of CE and entertainment companies are embracing this new opportunity.

“Intel is working with leading-edge CE manufacturers, broadcasters, movie studios and content and service providers to deliver a new connected TV experience,” Kim said. “This effort is aimed at enhancing today’s traditional TV watching with complementary widgets that will expand content options, deliver real-time information and offer interactive features, all of which can be personalized to fit the viewer’s needs. The Widget Channel combined with the Media Processor CE 3100 provides the performance and flexibility needed for industry innovation, which can be seen from the demonstrations today showing connected CE devices running a broad range of popular TV widgets.”

Internet on TV – From Vision to Reality

Intel is working with major broadcasters, including CBS, who believe that the Widget Channel will create an opportunity for content providers and CE companies to work together to help consumers connect more deeply to the content they watch. CBS is exploring the Widget Channel framework as an additional channel for its content. The network showed prototypes at CES that will provide its viewers more choices and interaction and increased flexibility on when and where they can watch rich content.

Connected CE Technology Demonstrations

Showcasing the potential to enjoy Internet applications while watching cable TV, Intel and Comcast Corporation demonstrated the integration of the Widget Channel with Comcast’s interactive program guide. This proof-of-concept ran a wide array of TV Widgets and accessed Internet-linked applications on the Comcast guide that uses tru2way technology, a Java-based platform with open application programming interface specifications.

“The cable television experience has continued to evolve and become more robust,” said Tony Werner, chief technology officer, Comcast. “We’ve already witnessed an explosion of functionality and choices of programming thanks to innovations like video on demand. As cable providers move toward open standards with tru2way technology, applications like the Widget Channel could enable more convenient and interactive applications to be developed and integrated into the consumer television viewing experience.”

Toshiba, Samsung Among First Manufacturers

Toshiba and Samsung are among the first CE manufacturers to deliver new devices based on the Media Processor CE 3100. Toshiba plans to launch AV devices including LCD TV, LCD TV/DVD Combo and a standalone network player supporting the Widget Channel applications framework. Toshiba demonstrated a concept of the system during CES and is expected to bring the new products to the United States market segment in the second half of this year.

“The Widget Channel is an excellent, highly consumer-friendly platform,” said Yoshihide Fujii, corporate senior vice president, president and CEO of Digital Media Network Company, Toshiba Corporation. “Combined with the power of the Media Processor CE 3100, it will deliver instant access to a vast amount of rich Internet content on a TV. At the heart of our digital products strategy is the goal of creating a new realm in home entertainment, and this initiative matches that vision. We are excited to feature the superb capabilities of the Widget Channel framework in our TVs, network players and other devices, and look forward to bringing great value and benefits to our customers.”

The Samsung set-top box is featured in the integration demonstration for Widget Channel and tru2Way, and is equipped with triple HD DVR tuners, and supports cutting-edge features such as MPEG4 video format and embedded DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem.

“As a leading vendor in the set-top box industry, Samsung is very pleased to show a new device concept through cooperation with the industry’s top leaders,” said Geesung Choi, president of Samsung Electronics Telecommunications Network Business. “We believe that with this set-top box, cable operators can provide various kinds of web-based, customer-centric services.”

Range of Demonstrations at Intel CES Booth

Technology demonstrations in the Intel booth showed a range of new capabilities enabled by the Media Processor CE 3100 such as a Blu-ray Disc reference design integrated with Widget Channel. The reference design showed how Blu-ray Disc systems can be enhanced with Internet content and services. Also demonstrated was a media player from Giga-Byte Technology, LTD and Futarque A/S, and an innovative user interfaces and 3-D graphics from Information Technologies.

Major film studios such as Universal Pictures also showcased Widget prototypes that enhance the user experience around their Blu-ray movie titles. Universal showcased The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor that enable viewers to delve deeper into interactive capabilities such as upcoming movie trailers, cast and crew information, parent guides, bonus features and more. These new Blu-ray Disc Widget prototypes present opportunities to build greater consumer relationships and will open the door to new revenue generation through commerce and advertising.

Widget Channel Gallery Expands with New Content and Services

Intel and Yahoo! have spurred the industry to start developing TV Widgets since first announcing the Widget Channel at the 2008 Intel Developer Forum. Since then, TV Widgets from content services providers have been developed by companies such as Accedo, Associated Press, CBS, CinemaNow, eBay, Joost, MySpace, TF1, and Yahoo!, including Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Weather, Yahoo! Finance and Flickr® services. The MyMedia Widget, developed by Intel, incorporates personal media like music, photos and videos into a widget for display on TV. These new services add a new dimension to TV and provide capabilities such as games, shopping, community, information services and movie downloads.

Advancing the Intel SoC CE Platform

Intel is committed to expand the capabilities of the Intel SoC CE Platform and recently announced collaboration with Adobe Systems to optimize the Intel Media Processor CE 3100 to support the latest Adobe® Flash® technology.

Intel and Yahoo! are working with industry members to promote the development of open and consistent standards necessary to grow the Widget Channel ecosystem and are sharing a Widget Developer Kit (WDK) with leading content service providers. The WDK is expected to be more broadly available in the near future.