March 25, 2000

I.B.M. Develops Chips for TV Set-Top Boxes


The International Business Machines Corporation said yesterday that it was developing a next-generation system on a chip for television set-top boxes aimed at bringing the power of the Internet into the living room.

The digital set-top boxes offer Internet access, wider entertainment choices and even the ability to make telephone calls. Demand for the boxes is expected to more than double by 2003, pitting chip companies and set-top box providers against each other in the fast-growing market.

I.B.M. said that it was combining high-speed PowerPC processors and other television set-top box components onto a single "system on a chip" that would be far faster than its current product offerings.

The three new systems on a chip simplify the set-top box design by combining components like an audio-video decoder, memory interface and peripheral interfaces, all on one chip, the company said.

Shares of I.B.M. were up $6.25 each at $121.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Using digital set-top boxes, television viewers will be able to get on the Internet through their television sets to shop, get stock quotes or find other information.

Movie fans will be able to use the set-top boxes to search for particular programming or to stop live broadcasts on screen temporarily, without missing anything.

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