Intel plans to develop a chip that could lead to slimmer and
cheaper rear-projection TVs. The move would fall in line with the computer
industry’s growing attraction to the consumer electronics market, where digital
television sales are soaring and profit margins are still healthy but thinning
as competition increases. Intel president and chief operating officer Paul
Otelliniare is expected to disclose at next month’s CES Show in Las Vegas, is
already creating a stir among industry analysts. With its research and
development heft, analysts say Intel could do for big-screen TVs what it did for
personal computers: improve quality and substantially lower prices. The entry of
Intel would pose a serious threat to established consumer electronics companies
in Europe and Japan, such as Philips and Sony as well as emerging players like
Texas Instruments Inc.

Intel is exploring a technology called liquid crystal on
silicon. The technology is a hybrid between the more expensive silicon
microchips and liquid crystal displays. A few companies already have tried to
introduce LCos products, but they haven’t made any deep inroads in the market.
LCoS technology competes against other new display technologies that have
already invigorated the rear-projection TV market, most notably the digital
light processing (DLP) chip pioneered by Texas Instruments. The DLP chip uses
nearly a million microscopic mirrors that tilt and reflect light to create an
image. DLP technology has led to models slimmer and lighter than the traditional
bulky big-screen TVs, but remain relatively expensive.

Intel plans to develop a chip that could lead to slimmer and
cheaper rear-projection TVs. The move would fall in line with the computer
industry’s growing attraction to the consumer electronics market, where digital
television sales are soaring and profit margins are still healthy but thinning
as competition increases. Intel president and chief operating officer Paul
Otelliniare is expected to disclose at next month’s CES Show in Las Vegas, is
already creating a stir among industry analysts. With its research and
development heft, analysts say Intel could do for big-screen TVs what it did for
personal computers: improve quality and substantially lower prices. The entry of
Intel would pose a serious threat to established consumer electronics companies
in Europe and Japan, such as Philips and Sony as well as emerging players like
Texas Instruments Inc.

Intel is exploring a technology called liquid crystal on
silicon. The technology is a hybrid between the more expensive silicon
microchips and liquid crystal displays. A few companies already have tried to
introduce LCos products, but they haven’t made any deep inroads in the market.
LCoS technology competes against other new display technologies that have
already invigorated the rear-projection TV market, most notably the digital
light processing (DLP) chip pioneered by Texas Instruments. The DLP chip uses
nearly a million microscopic mirrors that tilt and reflect light to create an
image. DLP technology has led to models slimmer and lighter than the traditional
bulky big-screen TVs, but remain relatively expensive.

For instance, a Samsung 43-inch DLP high-definition TV is 68
pounds, 15.7 inches deep, and has a suggested retail price of $ 3,999. An LCoS
chip uses tiny crystals instead of mirrors, an approach that Doherty and other
industry analysts say is cheaper to make, easier to improve upon, and thus more
likely to deliver better picture quality at lower prices. Even ultra-sleek
plasma TVs, which are gaining in popularity, will feel the competitive pinch
from LCos TVs. LCoS technology could lead to lightweight 50-inch screens for as
low as $ 2,000 by the end of 2004 and half that price a year later.