I'm not surprised at all by this. DTV SoCs are very price-sensitive, and the integrated PHY becomes problematic. Do you make an SoC with a 8VSB/QAM PHY for the U.S. TV market? Do you make one with a DVB-T/DVB-C PHY for the European market? What about China and their unique cable & terrestrial PHYs? And satellite PHYs are an altogether different animal.
I don't think Intel or anyone else could afford to include a "universal PHY" in any of these SoCs -- the added cost would take too much away from what are already thin margins.
But they have all this IP in media processors, decoders for every flavor of digital audio & video, so why not make an SoC based on that? Replace all those unique market-specific PHYs with a gigabit Ethernet interface and go sell it to the IP set-top box and IP gateway guys.
This is not a new idea or strategy, except maybe at Intel.
I just wonder what will happen to the Libit engineers who were bought by TI and then by Intel. Once upon a time, they had some cable modem business, before Broadcom cornered the market on that piece of silicon. That's some great digital comms engineering talent that is going to get re-purposed.
And another thing. The "connected TVs" I have seen so far, not to mention "connected" BluRay players, are very compromised. It should not come as a surprise that the feature isn't popular, or sometimes never even used.
If the TV-oriented SoC solutions did not provide, at least, a thin client function, but instead some abbreviated Internet access, then I suggest this would turn off a huge portion of Internet-savvy consumers.
As far as I'm concerned, TV manufacturers can do what I did, but more integrated, all contained in the TV, and at much lower cost than having a separate PC. For that, any deliberately crippled TV SoC solution is probably not the answer anyway.
I'm as baffled by this news as I was about the hoopla surrounding GoogleTV. None of it makes any sense to me.
Everyone knows, by now, that a machine with an IP stack and web browser can be used to watch and listen to streaming content from the Internet. There is no need to pretend that a special or different box is needed for this to work on a TV set or to watch content meant for TV. It's simply not true. At best, maybe some slightly tweaked search engines can help, but even that is far from being mandatory.
The other aspect of this is, and it ain't just me saying so, go ask those who rely on their TV content from sources OTHER THAN satellite or cable. Like me, for instance. What you will no doubt discover is that the Internet, terrestrial DTV, and DVDs, are the most common sources these folk use. Combined, that is. So to dismiss the importance of the terrestrial tuner, as part of that equation, is simply foolish.
The Intel part I use for my setup is the CPU of the PC. Intel has been makiung those for a very long time. I doubt they want to get out of that business. So honestly, I don't know what the rukus is about.