One of the big themes to emerge from CES is Internet-connected TVs. It remains to be seen whether consumers really want Internet-connected TVs, but we’re going to get them.
Here’s how the latest deal works: Intel supplies its “Media Processor CE 3100” chip to the two TV-makers. Yahoo’s (YHOO) involved through something called the “Widget Channel.”
The WSJ provides a nice backgrounder on the CE 3100 chip, which has the advantage of being able to stream virtually anything on the Internet, as opposed to solutions like LG-Netflix, which only works with Netflix. This is obviously a major selling point:
[Intel’s Eric] Kim argues that no one will be happy with TVs that can’t view ALL the content they now get when surfing the Web on their PCs. The content formats they now enjoy mainly target PCs run the x86 chips that provide most of Intel’s revenues. There are ways to transform those formats for other hardware, but there are glitches running some popular sites–and each time a new Web format emerges, it starts on x86 PCs, Intel says.
Translation: makers of TV or set-top boxes should use an Intel chip–specifically, a new one called the Media Processor CE 3100 that combines a calculating engine with graphics and other functions needed for high-definition video and audio.
The new TV sets are set to hit stores starting in the second half of this year. At which point we’ll see if consumers want them.