SAN JOSE, Calif. Silicon Image will debut a new approach to home networking at the Consumer Electronics Show, aiming to give service providers a standard, secure conduit for encrypted content. LiquidHD requires a new video decoder chip and software that runs over any wired or wireless Internet Protocol connection.
Analysts gave the effort mixed reviews, noting the technology is significantly different from the company's core business in HDMI silicon. LiquidHD arrives at a time when some carriers have yet to deploy home networks widely and can choose among many competing technologies.
LiquidHD aims to let carriers send and overlay multiple streams of copy-protected video and applications services to devices around the home. At CES, Silicon Image will show it carrying a Comcast programming guide securely between TVs in separate rooms over coax, Ethernet and Wi-Fi networks.
The technology is based on a few hundred Kbytes of application-level software and Silicon Image's new Sil6100, a multi-format high definition video decoder which the company said will cost less than $10 in volume. "We want to make this super simple and bake it into a chip for your TV, Blu-ray player or DVR and bring it down to low prices like we did with HDMI," said Rob Tobias, director of product marketing at Silicon Image.
The 6100 chip initially will be deployed in a palm-sized connection box between display devices and an IP network. Ultimately, Silicon Image aims to get the chip designed into a broad range of home network devices starting with set-tops digital TVs and Blu-ray players.
Chips for those systems are sampling soon and will be in production by June. Versions of the chips and software for PCs and handsets are still in development. Ultimately LiquidHD and HDMI capabilities could be merged on a single chip, Tobias said.
"At CES 2010 you will see the first LiquidHD products announced with availability of systems later in 2010," Tobias said.