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IDF Day 2: Eric Kim: "We Love TV"
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Date: Aug 20, 2008
Section:Processors
Author: Daniel A. Begun
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IDF Day 2: Eric Kim: "We Love TV"
Eric Kim really loves TV. If he ever decides to step down as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Digital Home Group, he might have a future as a game show host. At least he had fun channeling one as he donned a bright red jacket and asked panelists some media-based trivia questions to prove a point:

  

  • Question #1: What percentage of 2008 Superbowl viewers used a notebook or cellphone to surf the Internet while watching the game?
  • Question #2: How many viewers cast votes in this year's American Idol finale?
  • Question #3: How many buttons were on the first wireless [TV] remote?
     

The point Kim was trying to make was that TV is "social and personal." Kim also posits that there are three lessons to be learned from what people expect from their TVs:

  • TV users want rich experiences
  • TV watching is a social experience
  • TV has to be simple (it informs and entertains)
The lessons are important to Kim, because he is at the forefront of what might amount to be a new revolution in TV watching, or as Kim called it, "the next major upgrade to TV." Today, Kim announced two new platforms for the "TV ecosystem." The first is a chip: the world's first CE-optimized television chip, according to Kim. The chip is a system-on-chip (SOC) design with full Intel Architecture (IA) support. The second part of the ecosystem is Yahoo's Widget Channel, which will supply services, content, and applications to devices using the new chip.



Patrick Barry, Vice President, Connected TV for Yahoo! came out onto the stage to join Kim to talk about the new Widget Channel. Kim and Barry suggested that users are looking for the next upgrade after flat panels and HD. They said that this next upgrade will be in the form of delivering the Internet to television--improving the richness of the TV experience. They also suggested that users want a simple experience--one that will work within the confines of the remote control experience. With the click of a single button on a remote, the Widget Dock opens on the bottom of the TV screen. Additional content can be extended into a sidebar.

     

Kim and Barry said that Widget Channel offers a seamless integration of the TV and the Internet. The user never needs to leave the TV environment to interact with connected content. Some of the Widgets they showed were for weather, news, stocks, and sports. They anticipate that thousands of third party vendors will develop Widgets for the platform--especially since developing apps for this platform is not that different that from the Windows-based Yahoo Widgets. Some of the partners on the platform include media-streaming sources, such as Blockbuster and CinemaNow, where users can rent or purchase streaming movies.

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Canmore
The hardware component of this ecosystem is the just announced, Intel Media Processor CE3100 SOC (formerly know by the codename "Canmore"). The chip is designed to playback high-end video and audio. The design includes an IA core, three memory channels, and an integrated 3D graphics engine. It is a single SOC package, requires less than 10 watts of power, and does not need a fan for cooling. Kim said that Intel has been "seeding" the chip for six months and Intel is only a few weeks away from mass production.

     

Kim showed a demo with two HD videos playing simultaneously--one was MPEG4 video, the other was H.264. He was able to independently control the playback speeds of each clip without it having any impact on the other's playback. The chip has full support for Linux and Web 2.0 (whatever that means), according to Kim. In 2009, the next generation SOC will be based on a 45nm process and will have an Atom core.

     

In order to complete this ecosystem, full industry-wide support is needed. Based on the individuals who joined Kim for a brief panel discussion, it looks like the industry is well on its way to embracing this concept. Members of the discussion included:

     

  • Albert Cheng, Executive Vice President, Digital Media, Disney-ABC Television Group
  • Tasuku Yazaki, General Manager of Sony’s Vaio product planning department
  • Tony G. Werner, Chief Technology Officer, Comcast Cable
  • Irwin Gotlieb, CEO of GroupM (a.k.a. "The King of Advertising")
  • Patrick Barry, Vice President, Connected TV for Yahoo!

More IDF 2008 Coverage at HotHardware:
IDF Day 1: Pat Gelsinger Keynote: Embedded + Dynamic + Visual
IDF Day 1: Craig Barrett Keynote: "Inspiring Innovation"
IDF Day 1: David Perlmutter: "Where Will 'On-the-Go' Go?"
IDF Day 2: Anand Chandrasekher: "MIDs: Platform for Innovation"
IDF Day 2: Renee James: "Developing for the Future of Computing"
 


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