by Anton Shilov
01/09/2009 | 08:50 AM
At the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show Intel Corp. showed broad industry support 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.
“Intel is working with leading-edge CE manufacturers, broadcasters, movie studios and content and service providers to deliver a new connected TV experience. 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,” said Eric Kim, senior vice president of Intel’s digital home group.
Mr. Kim 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!. Today, a variety of CE and entertainment companies are embracing this new opportunity.
“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,” Mr. Kim said.
At present 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.
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.
At CES 2009, Intel and Comcast Corp. 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.
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 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.
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 Gigabyte Technology and Futarque as well as an innovative user interfaces and 3D 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.
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.