One of the more interesting things so far about the Beijing Intel Developer Forum ( IDF ) is Intel's announcement of a 'system on a chip'. It's a serious attempt to muscle in on the growing band of 'intelligent' consumer electronics devices such as set top boxes and media streamers.

The CE 2110 Media Processor chip is a complete system-on-a-chip (SoC), says Intel. It will be based on Intel's new 45nm process technology with a 1GHz processing core and combines graphics and interface technology in a single piece of silicon. There are even MPEG-2 and H.264 hardware video decoders.

A single chip can do this because of the added transistor numbers that the 45nm technology allows. And, as more transistors can be placed, some can be allocated to tasks that aren't necessarily to do with traditional processing.

"The internet is a powerful disruptive opportunity for the CE industry," said William Leszinske, Jr, top bod at Intel's Consumer Electronics Group. "Powering new intelligent devices will help accelerate the availability of a new range of exciting internet-based information and services, and video entertainment experiences for consumers throughout the home."

Intel is gunning for manufacturers who are ever more pressed for time to develop new products and bring them to market - with less need to develop proprietary chips for new kit. Of course, having everything on a single chip also helps design issues in terms of space, as well as increasing power efficiency.