Intel vows to make TV personal, social, optical

TechOnline India - September 25, 2009

In Intel's view of the future, television will be ubiquitous on both mobile and home-viewing devices, offering personalized programming, social media capabilities, 3-D and more--all running over Intel's Light Peak optical interconnect technology.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Intel has its eye on your TV.

In a talk Sept. 24 at the Intel Developer Forum on "The Future of Television," Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner described how technology might personalize television by adding social networking capabilities and extending viewing to 3-D. Rattner demonstrated user-personalized TV and previewed Intel's new Light Peak optical interconnection technology, which promises 10 Gbits/second at introduction and will push toward terabit speeds.

"TV is becoming ubiquitous; you are going to be able to watch what you want, when you want, wherever you want," Rattner said. "It will also be much more informative. We will be doing a lot of computing on the sound and images, so that information about the programming is readily accessible via the television."

Rattner predicts that computers will automatically index all programming via vision recognition algorithms that identify not only the content of a program, but even the individual people participating in each scene and what they are doing. For instance, viewers of a sporting event will be able to select a player and ask the TV directly for the athlete's stats.

"You will be able to view a highlight reel of a particular game simply by asking for it—sort of a customized SportsCenter, where you don't have to wait for them to get to the game you are interested in," Rattner said.

Besides watching the programming, computers will also be watching you—indexing what you watch and when you watch, and integrating that information with other known aspects of your life.

"According to your previous viewing habits, programming will be suggested for you," said Rattner. "These systems will make use of a lot more knowledge than you might think. They might be aware of your calendar, so that instead of starting you on an action movie at 11:30 at night, they might suggest a short on relaxation therapy to help you get to sleep."

The television experience will adapt some of the social media capabilities of the Internet for TV, according to Rattner.

"Television is going to be much more social," said Rattner. "How does television evolve so that [we can participate] in the same way that we participate in Facebook, LinkedIn and the others? How do we make television a place where we can all gather around? How can we share our personal videos and pictures?"

In Intel's vision of tomorrow's TV, computers will process vast databases of personalized information in the background that can be amalgamated for social gatherings whereby people in different parts of the world could view the same content together and discuss it with one another on the spot.

"I can be in my living room, and my friends across the country or across the globe can participate in the same virtual living room, where we can chat and share these personal media experiences, like someone's latest trip," said Rattner.

TV in 3-D is also on the way, according to Intel, with the technology available first for displays and then for camcorders and other personal recording devices.

"There's lots of activity just creating the 3-D displays that will let us experience true stereoscopic 3-D at home," said Rattner. "But we will also need the technology to view and capture real-time 3-D imagery. There are some very exciting new real-time 3-D technologies coming that are a harbinger of the 3-D capabilities that will be in our camcorders in the not-too-distant future."

To make all these superhigh-bandwidth video capabilities play well together, Intel predicts that photonic interconnections will have to be used. Toward that end, at IDF Rattner demonstrated the Light Peak optical interconnection technology—a thin, flexible optical cable to replace the fat, stiff Ethernet cable used today.

"We are also going to need very high-speed input/output technology, with tens if not hundreds of gigabits-per-second bandwidth," said Rattner. "This will be the first time that Intel is putting forth a very high-bandwidth, but very low-cost, optical or photonic interconnect solution, which we see entering the market at 10 Gbits/s."

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