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Intel's CE chipset tackles interoperability issue head on

Posted: 01 Jun 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:intel pc CE? intel consumer electronics? intel consumer chip?

Intel's concept of the digital home has changed the way how modern PCs and consumer devices work together. The company crossed the boundaries of convergence with the introduction of the entertainment PC a year ago. But as networked devices become more of a reality than a concept, concerns on interoperability continue to challenge the chip giant.

"Interoperability is key to the growth of CE devices, broadband content consumption, networking and services in the digital home," said Glenda Dorchak, VP of Intel's digital home group and GM for consumer electronics group. "Intel's platform enables developers to build interoperable products, making seamless transfer and sharing of digital content on a digital home network possible."

"Intel's vision of the digital home is an environment where consumers can easily access content wherever and whenever they want, using a variety of PC and networked devices that easily communicate and work together," Dorchak added.

At the recent Intel Developer Forum in Taiwan, the company unveiled a scalable, high-performance building block aimed at CE applications. "The 854 Development Platform lets CE developers address many of their design and performance needs, and deliver more advanced devices to consumers while reducing total system cost," said Dorchak

The 854 Development Platform includes an 854 chipset that supports up to 2GB of DDR 333MHz system memory, a graphics engine that can be used for GUIs and a 400MHz system bus that supports Intel Celeron M processor.

The Celeron M processor uses advanced 0.13?m process technology with copper interconnects that offer high performance and low power consumption. Platforms based on this processor and chipset require only a passive (fan-less) thermal solution, Intel said.

Support, flexibility
The development platform also includes a six-layer PCB with 512MB of DDR on-board that allows a high level of platform design flexibility. It provides the processing performance needed for IP-digital STBs and digital media recorder applications to perform software-based video decoding and provide networked digital media services.

When combined with an OS, BIOS and application software, the platform enables CE device manufacturers to bring new products faster to the market. The platform supports a variety of software codecs, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4.2, MPEG-4.10 (H.264) and Microsoft Windows Media 9.

The new 854 chipset supports the I/O and peripheral connectivity requirements of CE devices, including up to six USB 2.0/1.1 ports, two Ultra ATA/100 (IDE) channels for disk drives and storage devices, and integrated 10/100 LAN support. High-performance I/O, coupled with integrated graphics and a low-power processor, make the 854 chipset suitable for CE devices, Intel said.

Moreover, the 854 Development Platform kit consists of a motherboard, CPU, ADD card, supporting hardware and platform design guide. The platform also includes a Microsoft Windows CE 5.0 board support package that includes drivers for every component in the design, BIOS and various electronic copies of technical collateral to help accelerate the design and product development process.

"Products using the 854 chipset include STBs from Tatung Co. and hard-disk drive DVD players from Toshiba," Dorchak said. Both the STB and the HDD DVD player were showcased at the IDF.

Aside from Tatung and Toshiba, Intel is also working closely with CE developers Eriya, Gigabyte, Handan, BroadInfoCom, Hopen, Media Excel, Neusoft, Oregan Networks, Samsung and Thomson.

- Margarette Teodosio
Electronic Engineering Times-Asia

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