But what you may not know is that Irvine’s Broadcom Corp. is providing its ‘connected’ chip to enable Internet in many of these TVs. And it’s overseeing what content gets included.
Features like watching YouTube videos or checking stocks and local weather are activities that TV watchers will get access to in these new TVs.
But integrating Yahoo Widgets into the TV, for example, is not a simple task, said Stuart Thomson, Broadcom’s senior director of product marketing for Digital TV. TVs don’t have as much memory as computers so engineers must work more efficiently, for one thing.
And Netflix, apparently. The only TV offering Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” streaming service are the LG Broadband TVs, which have Broadcom’s chip inside. The LG TVs went on sale in early summer.
Besides LG TVs, upcoming TVs with Broadcom’s “connected” chip include Sharp, Humax (in Europe) and Zinwell (in Taiwan). The company is also working with Irvine-based Vizio not just on TVs but on Vizio’s noteworthy QWERTY remote control. (Other TV manufacturers with Internet TVs include Sony, Samsung and Panasonic.)
Delving into Internet TVs shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone who follows Broadcom. The company, better known for getting its chips inside iPhones and Wi-Fi routers, has long been a part of the TV industry and supplied chips to set-top boxes.
In fact, while visiting its Irvine office recently, I saw a demo of what can happen to a set top box with a Broadcom chip inside. Program the DVR on your cell phone? Yup. Multi-room DVRs? Of course!
Users can send a file from set top box to iPhone or to a computer because Broadcom’s products are “Digital Living Network Alliance” friendly. Essentially, that allows videos, music, photos and other files to be shared on a home network. The Sony PlayStation 3, for example, is DLNA friendly as well.
That doesn’t mean such TVs will be cheaper — it’s up to the TV manufacturer to set the consumer price. But take a look at the 47-inch LG Broadband TV, which has a suggested price of $1,600. It’s selling for $1,139 at Amazon.com. The same sized 47-inch LG TV without Internet is the same price.
“I would say this started two years ago,” Thomson said. “This is what we said we wanted to get to — the connected TV.”
Earlier stories on Broadcom: