Google TV has Intel inside

In its blog post about the new Google TV platform yesterday, Google neglected to mention one key ingredient. According to CNet News’ Nanotech blog, the first Google TV-powered televisions, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes from Sony and Logitech will feature an Intel system-on-a-chip.

Cracking open the products will reveal an Intel Atom CE4100 processor, which includes (PDF) a 45-nm Atom CPU core running at “up to” 1.2GHz, 512KB of L2 cache, a NAND flash controller, a hardware video decoder, a graphics processor, Serial ATA and USB controllers, and other little bits and pieces. You can check out a block diagram of the chip on page two of Intel’s PDF.

According to Intel Senior VP Eric B. Kim (as quoted by CNet News), Google chose Intel hardware chiefly for performance reasons:

“High performance is needed to deal with large screens, multiple streams of high-definition audio and video. Google could not do what they want on today’s SOCs,” said Kim. “This is not something that you hold in your hand. This is something you plug into the wall,” he said, referring to other chip designs that emphasize power saving features over performance.

Kim went on to throw in a thinly veiled jab at Apple, saying, “Our view is that both HTML5 and Flash are great, so our solution supports both.” Apple has taken a strong stand against Flash, and the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch all feature ARM microprocessor cores. The iPad’s ARM-based A4 system-on-a-chip was actually designed in-house by Apple. That said, the Apple TV does include an Intel processor.

Comments closed
    • NeelyCam
    • 11 years ago

    My comment about this in yesterday’s Google TV thread got completely ignored.

    Make no mistake – you heard it from me first. I demand credit, dammit!

      • NeelyCam
      • 11 years ago

      I repel evil. This is soo cool..

    • indeego
    • 11 years ago

    Will be amusing when Google’s Gaia is cracked and people can’t watch TV because their host OS is broken. Refer back to this post when it happensg{<.<}g

    • thermistor
    • 11 years ago

    #9…Would it make any difference if the video decode is handled by a discrete processor as indicated in the blurb? CPU’s aren’t doing the graphics in this particular device.

    • dpaus
    • 11 years ago

    Wouldn’t an AMD chip have been a much better choice? Especially if a key goal was “high performance” (which, in the context, would presumably include video/decoding performance)

      • Rza79
      • 11 years ago

      Does AMD have high performance SOC’s? No, I didn’t think so.

        • dpaus
        • 11 years ago

        A dual-core Athlon II with integrated 4200-series graphics isn’t too shabby. It certainly puts an Atom to shame.

          • Prion
          • 11 years ago

          There is no *[

          • [SDG]Mantis
          • 11 years ago

          Even an Athlon II 160u has a TDP of 20W…and that’s not counting that the chipset of graphics processor. The box might not have much of a problem with this…that’s a lot of build into a TV, though.

          I really do wonder what is really up with the Tegra 2, though. Clearly something is off in green-land or we would expect to be seeing them on the market now.

          How about a Froyo/Boxee dual boot on a Tegra 2 tablet with HDMI and bluetooth so that I can connect it to a TV and wireless keyboard/mouse device when I want and use it for the TV at other times?

    • dpaus
    • 11 years ago

    Depends – co-ed cheerleaders or Mexican lucha libres?

    OK – I /[

    • CampinCarl
    • 11 years ago

    I’m kind of sad about this. I was thinking about trying something similar for a senior design project, but built around some sort of ARM micro controller or a miniITX design.

    • axeman
    • 11 years ago

    I’d like to see a taco go up against a grilled cheese.

    edit: I fail at the internets, meant to reply to #1

      • Hattig
      • 11 years ago

      jelly, mud or oil wrestling?

    • Maxwel
    • 11 years ago

    How does one get my forum account activated? Who can I contact?

      • Maxwel
      • 11 years ago

      How does one contact a moderator ig you can’t logon?

        • d0g_p00p
        • 11 years ago

        It’s called email, ever heard of it

          • SomeOtherGeek
          • 11 years ago

          No, what is that?

          • Maxwel
          • 11 years ago

          Ok moron, what’s an address? Let me guess – I have to logon.

    • Hattig
    • 11 years ago

    I’d like to see a 1.2GHz Atom go up against a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9.

      • willmore
      • 11 years ago

      Same here. I think Googles comments WRT flash were meant to be a jab at nVidia’s Tegra1/2 designs. Though I find it odd that Google would be pro-x86. Normally they’re pro-good engineering.

        • Hattig
        • 11 years ago

        Given that Android 2.2 embeds Flash 10.1, and is for ARM devices, I don’t know what the problem would be there, unless NVIDIA aren’t giving Google the hardware specs for their video decoder in Tegra 2…

        and we are talking about NVIDIA here, so stupidity like that isn’t unknown.

          • willmore
          • 11 years ago

          Ouch, possible, but strange. It’s not generally a good idea to say no to a big customer. Maybe Google wanted licencing terms for the video decoder (either code or documentation) that nVidia wasn’t willing/able to accomodate?

          Good point on the ARM/Android/Flash issue. AFIK, that’s the only non-x86 flash out there. Is it ‘blessed’ by Adobe or is it something Google came up with on their own?

        • NeelyCam
        • 11 years ago

        l[

      • Ushio01
      • 11 years ago

      The nokia N900 can play flash and it has the following spec

      TI OMAP 3430 SoC
      600 MHz ARM Cortex-A8 CPU
      430 MHz C64x+ DSP

        • videobits
        • 11 years ago

        Note also this spec from the N900
        800×480 pixel display = 384000 pixels

        I suspect most of us will want to drive a full HD display at 1920×1080 which is 2073600 pixels total. That’s 5.4 times as many pixels to drive and decode as the device listed above.

        And while that device may be able to play flash video, is it really doing it at a steady 30 frames per second or something less than that. Any less than 30 fps won’t be acceptable for this application.

        And the N900 device mentioned has the CPU plus DSP chip vs a single chip design. Part count goes up which drives up manufacturing costs. Not much room for that financially against $99 Apple TV boxes.

        I suspect the Atom chip will do fine with a purpose built OS / software install doing one specific task. This isn’t the same a trying to get Win7 running a variety of software.

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