Intel Closes Digital Home Group, Surrenders Living Room to Tablets
Evidently Intel is betting that tablets will not only be the living room computer of choice, but that we are eagerly anticipating a future where we can devote our tablets to driving our TVs. Intel's Digital Home Group was responsible for designing the Atom CE line of SoCs that were used in the Boxee Box and the Logitech Revue. These Atom CE SoCs were supposed to lead Intel's charge on the set-top market. Intel may yet make use of the Atom CE line in content provider set-top boxes, but evidently not in the consumer market. The Digital Home Group has been shut down and resources diverted to the company's new tablet group.
The engineers working in the DHG have since been folded up into the newly formed tablet organization under Doug Davis. The folks working on the Atom CE parts arguably had even more mindshare penetration than those working on the smartphone/tablet Atom SoCs, so the move can only be a good one as the two groups will be able to combine expertise and experience.
It's hard to see this move as anything other than Intel surrendering the living room. I can understand why Intel would want to move engineers experienced with low-power Atom processors to its increasingly important mobile computing teams, but in the process Intel has ceded the set-top box market to companies like Realtek, Silicon Image, and ARM. There is no future where people will cue up a movie on their $300-$500 tablet and then drop that tablet into a dock to send the movie to a TV. Wireless streaming might be an option, someday, but only if it becomes way easier and more seamless and if the movie and television studios don't suffer a panic-induced heart attack along the way. After all, the current crop of media streamers could not be any easier to set up and use, and your still talking about devices that are lucky to sell a million units. Of course, that last point may be exactly why Intel is picking up and moving on.