Intel has made it clear that it wants in on the market for consumer electronics devices that connect to your HDTV, and it's made a major move towards its goal with the announcement today that it's purchased Texas Instrument's cable modem product line, which includes the Puma 5 platform. It's not a sexy acquisition, but it's a pivotal one for getting Intel inside cable TV providers' future set-top boxes.
Intel has been working on its living-room-friendly system-on-a-chip (SoC) products based on its Atom processors, though they haven't really reached the living room yet. The purchase from TI may be an indication that the chip giant doesn't want to rely solely on consumer devices offered at retail for this strategy; instead, Intel could be better off working with the cable companies that supply the majority of set-top boxes for the nation's home theaters.
While the growth in "connected" home entertainment devices, including HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and streaming media players, hasn't yet exploded, it's obvious that the merging of Internet functions into the TV viewing process is where we're headed. With this acquisition, Intel will lock horns with Cisco, which purchased Scientific Atlanta to tap into the same set-top market, to see who will power the next generation of cable boxes and modems.
Considering I'm still living with last-generation cable boxes in my home, I'm happy to see Intel bring some attention to this market. If I finally get a more advanced box as a result of the additional competition, I'm all for it.