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Intel, Yahoo To Build Web TV 2.0

But this time there'll be a market for the integration of television and the Internet, thanks to Yahoo's new Widget Channel built to run on Intel CE 3100 media processors, tech giants claim in IDF announcement.

Intel and Yahoo on Wednesday announced a television application framework for TVs and consumer electronics devices called the Widget Channel, an Internet browser with a simple, blocky user interface that defaults as a static ticker at the bottom of the TV screen but can take over part or all of the screen as well.

Eric Kim, general manager of Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel's Digital Home Group, announced the collaboration with Yahoo VP of ConnectedTV Patrick Barry during Kim's keynote on digital home integration at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

The pair gave a quick demo of the Widget Channel at work on a home entertainment center powered by CE 3100-based devices. Barry clicked through Yahoo's Widget Gallery, showing assorted "snippets" that provided simple weather, news, sports and stock market feeds -- Intel's stock price was inconveniently down when Barry called it up -- and dragged the browser to a sidebar position and then to full screen with apparent ease.

Yahoo's Widget Engine is a fifth-generation platform for delivering simple, small-scale Web applications based on Javascript, XML, HTML and Adobe Flash, according to Barry. Yahoo, based in Santa Clara, Calif., expects a fast ramp of new applications by the software developer community as the engine gains traction, he said.

"We know that developers are going to love developing widgets. We're expecting to see hundreds if not thousands deployed in the near future," Barry told the crowd at IDF.

Kim said Intel's new generation of "system-on-a-chip" (SoC) media-oriented microprocessors were developed to power new device categories like the digital TVs and set-top boxes that will enable technology like Yahoo's Widget Channel.

Intel's CE 3100, formerly code named Canmore, is the "first consumer electronics-optimized silicon chip that is a true SoC with an Intel architecture core," Kim said. The 1.2GHz CE 3100 draws just 10W performing normal operations, features 150 million transistors on the die and has 46 clock domains. Intel calls the new chip's rich media capabilities provided by Canmore's display processing engine, graphics engine and audio/video decoder "Intel Media Play Technology," Kim said.

"As we look at the emerging world of connected TV, we're excited," he said. "Users always want to improve the richness of their TV experience. After the flat panel explosion, we think bringing the Internet to TV is next step in the evolution of that experience."

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