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Intel pulls up SoCs for TV appearance

Inside your (next) telly

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IDF Chip giant Intel wants to get inside your TV. Today, it launched its first system-on-a-chip product - its first since the ill-fated 'Timna' - but this one aimed at tellies and set-top boxes.

The product's called the CE2110 and it combines a 1GHz ARM processor, chipset and a basic graphics engine.

By combining the three on a single chip, Intel hopes to make it much easier for TV makers to build internet connectivity into their products. That's more than a networking issue, the company's Digital Home Group chief, Eric Kim, said, it's about equipping TVs with the power to run the software needed to reach out to internet content sources and allow viewers to interact with it.

Set-top boxes too, but while Kim praised Apple's Apple TV - which incorporates one of his company's processors - he didn't list it among the companies who have publicly committed themselves to buying CE2110s.

But, as we say, the CE2110 is an ARM-architecture part, and Intel really wants to get CE companies using x86 products. Apple certainly does because Apple TV runs a version of Mac OS X. So Kim promised an x86-based successor to the CE2110 will ship in H1 2008.

This really will be the successor to Timna, the Pentium III-derived SoC that Intel announced in the late 1990s but never shipped. The team who worked on Timna was put to good use designing the Pentium M, the foundation for the Core microarchitecture Intel is putting all its weight behind today.

The timing of the x86 SoC suggests it shares a common heritage with 'Tolapai', the enterprise-oriented SoC Intel formally unveiled today but which has been a rumour mill topic for a few months now.

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