Is Intel Planning A 4K Media Box?

Mike Wheatley

Intel’s recent announcement that its up-and-coming new Haswell processor will support 4K resolution TV streaming suggests that its rumoured set-top box may be just the device we’ve been waiting for. While the announcement supposedly pertains to computers, there’s absolutely every reason to think that Intel’s media box would include similar capability. Given Intel’s desire to break into TV, the chip maker could well be the first company to come out with a genuine 4K delivery device, giving buyers just the excuse they need to justify shelling out ££££s on one of the next-generation TVs from Sony, LG or Samsung.

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Is Intel planning a 4K media box?

What with 3D proving to be a non-starter, TV makers have been pushing 4K Ultra HD as tomorrow’s next-generation display tech. The TVs are out in the shops right now – but the problem is that there’s virtually no content to watch on them, nor are there any devices capable of delivering it. Sony have their own media player of course, but this only works with Sony TVs, and the content selection remains extremely limited.

Not that Intel has said much about its set-top box and internet streaming service so far. Aside from a few tidbits, like mentioning that the box will feature superior UI and support apps like Lovefilm and Netflix, the project remains shrouded in secrecy. Nevertheless, the news that Haswell chips support 4K strongly suggests that Intel’s media boxes will do the same.

There’s been no comment about it from Intel so far, but there’s no reason to think why it wouldn’t do so. With the newly ratified HEVC (h.265) codec reducing 4K transmissions from around 45Mbps to just 10Mbps, broadband internet connections should easily be able to handle the extra load.

It’ll still be some time before networks actually begin filming and streaming TV shows in 4K, but it’s rumoured that many broadcasters have already started experimenting with it. Netflix for one, is keeping a very close eye on how 4K evolves, and is reportedly planning to have its hit series House of Cards encoded in 4K for the first time later this year.

Source: Forbes