Page last updated at 00:14 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 01:14 UK

Future is TV-shaped, says Intel

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, San Francisco

By 2015 more than 12 billion devices will be capable of connecting to 500 billion hours of TV and video content, says chip giant Intel.

It said its vision of TV everywhere will be more personal, social, ubiquitous and informative.

"TV is out of the box and off the wall," Justin Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer, 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."

Mr Rattner said: "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."

Speaking at Intel's Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, he said the success of TV was due to the 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.

Continuing the theme, Malachy Moynihan, Cisco's vice-president of video product strategy, told IDF attendees to expect an explosion of content for such devices.

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

Infinite choice

Developers keen to tap into this growth were told by Eric Kim, Intel's digital home group boss, to "keep it simple and easy".

Intel SoC
The new CE4100 will make TV the centre for entertainment, said Intel

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

Mr Kim unveiled some hardware Intel hopes developers will adopt to make more devices TV capable.

He showed off the Atom CE4100 system-on-a-chip (SoC) that can be used to bring internet content and services to digital TVs, DVD players and advanced set-top boxes.

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

IDF attendees also heard from speakers about 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, director of the BBC's Future Media and Technology, who has driven development of the 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.

IMAX quality

Mr Rattner also took time to highlight another technology gaining ground - 3D TV.

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

Intel tv
Friends will be able to share the viewing experience, said Intel

He said he 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 claimed a world first with the launch of its 100in (2.5m) 3D laser set in early September.

Big manufacturers such as Sony and Panasonic have announced plans to release 3D TV sets in 2010, while Samsung and Mitsubishi have recently released their products.

Speaking in early September at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Howard Stringer, Sony's chief executive, said: "3D is clearly on the way to the mass market. The train is on the track and Sony is ready to drive it home."

Analyst firm Screen Digest forecasts 1.2 million 3D capable sets in American homes by the end of 2010. That figure is expected to rise to 9.7 million, or 8% of households, by 2013.

Fading fast

To drive home the point about 3D, Mr Rattner's presentation incorporated a live 3D broadcast.

Lentes 3D

While he was inside the auditorium, Mr Rattner spoke to a 3D projected version of Howard Postley, technology boss 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 speeding and simplifying the complexity and cost of digital downloads.

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

Intel hopes to start shipping Light Peak in 2010.

The overall 3D market is expected to grow to an estimated $25bn (£15.6bn) 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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