Light Reading

Intel Snares TI's Cable Modem Business

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
8/16/2010
50%
50%

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) shook up the Docsis world today with a deal to acquire Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN)'s cable modem product line, a category that includes chipsets that power a new breed of Docsis 3.0-powered data modems, voice modems, and home networking gateways.

Intel isn't disclosing financial terms of the deal, but the purchase will put more competitive pressure on one of Intel's chief rivals, Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), which has been battling with TI on the Docsis chipset front for more than a decade. (See Intel to Buy TI's Cable Modem Unit.)

The purchase offers yet another clear indication that Intel has gotten serious with a cable strategy as MSOs and its suppliers start to develop more advanced Docsis-based devices that enable whole-home networking and the co-mingling of voice, data, and video services.

Among recent activity, Intel has been starting to target upcoming cable multimedia gateway devices with its Atom CE4100, a new media processor for digital TVs, DVD players, and "advanced set-top boxes." That chip, due out sometime next year, is designed to be backward-compatible with the CE3100, a processor that Intel's been using to run some recent tru2way set-top/gateway demos that leverage the Vividlogic (now SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC)) tru2way middleware stack. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is one of the MSOs already committed to use boxes that rely on Intel's system-on-chip (SoC) technology. (See Will Intel Go Inside Cable Multimedia Gateways? , SeaChange Snags VividLogic for $12M, and Intel Goes Inside Cable... Again.)

Intel didn't go into much detail in the announcement, but did note that it indeed plans to combine TI's "Puma" Docsis chip product lines with Intel's Atom-based SoC processors that, the chipmaker hopes, will serve as the foundation of a range of CE devices, including TVs, set-tops, and Blu-ray players.

"The objective is to provide cable OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) with an open and powerful platform for delivering innovative and differentiated products to service providers that improve the video, voice and data content experience in the home," Intel said.

Intel said it has offered all employees of TI's cable modem team to join Intel at sites in their home countries, primarily Israel. A TI spokeswoman says TI employs about 40 in its cable division. Those who take the option will join Intel's Digital Home Group when the deal closes, expected sometime in the fourth quarter of 2010.

In TI, Intel is acquiring a cable modem specialist that has been integral to the development of Docsis technologies all the way to its current version, Docsis 3.0. Intel got off to a faster start with Docsis 3.0 as its chips powered the first wideband modems to be certified by CableLabs , starting off with gear modems that used a minimum configuration of four bonded upstream and four downstream channels. It surpassed more than 1 million D3 chipsets shipped back in January 2009. TI declined to provide any updated D3 shipment figures. (See Broadcom Breaks Docsis 3.0 Barrier and Broadcom: Sub-$50 Docsis 3.0 Modem in Sight .)

Broadcom and TI have since developed configurations that bond up to eight channels, including some products that allow some channels to be set aside for cable video services. As multimedia, video-focused gateways enter the picture, future chipsets are expected to bond 16 or 32 downstream channels -- enough capacity for MSOs to simulcast their broadcast video lineups in IP format. (See TI Flexes Docsis 3.0 Muscle .)

Bridge to the video gateway
The purchase certainly gives Intel a chair at the Docsis table, but it makes even more strategic sense for the chip giant now that cable operators are proposing to collapse video, data, and voice into a single gateway device, says Jeff Heynen, directing analyst of broadband video at Infonetics Research Inc.

The gateway concept "plays into Intel's strength with video chipsets and PC processors and [enhances it] when combined with TI's experience on the DSP side as well as with modem chipsets," Heynen says. "The timing is good because the refresh of [Docsis] CPE to add in those video capabilities is for the late stages of next year, and will likely take off in 2012 and beyond."

Heavy Reading senior analyst Alan Breznick thinks the deal will be "a real shot in the arm for the old TI unit and re-galvanize its efforts in the broadband chipset space."

He echoed that the deal will also position Intel for the next wave of home-side cable gear.

"And it should spur the development and deployment of Docsis set-top boxes and multimedia gateways, as well as the introduction of Docsis into more standard CE products," Breznick says. (See Gateway to (Video) Heaven?)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:26:39 PM
re: Intel Snares TI's Cable Modem Business


Given that just 40 of TI's employee base was dedicated to this business, it wasn't a huge piece of TI's biz and, on its own, won't put a dent into Intel's either.  But Intel is clearly buying this to rev up its broader video gateway initiatives.  And it sets things up for a big battle between Broadcom and Intel in the next phase of cable chip war.  JB

Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Documentaries
IoT in Action

6|30|15   |   1:39   |   (5) comments


Two co-workers discuss the benefits of IoT technology.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson Opens Up on OPNFV

6|30|15   |   14:16   |   (0) comments


Martin Bäckström, VP and head of industry area Datacom at Ericsson, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the emergence of OPNFV, the importance of standards and Ericsson's OPNFV plans.
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Director Opens Up on Women in Tech

6|25|15   |   3:25   |   (0) comments


Heather Kirksey, the director of the OPNFV, gets real about the gender disparity in open source and standards and discusses how we can change both the conversation and the gender dynamics.
LRTV Custom TV
Symantec's Service Provider Security Strategy

6|24|15   |   7:06   |   (0) comments


Didi Dayton explores Symantec's emerging enterprise security strategies for service providers. Highlights include 'killing the password,' self-defense, advanced analytics and adaptive response in a service provider architecture.
Between the CEOs
Debating Network Evolution With Cisco's Cedrik Neike

6|23|15   |   12:54   |   (2) comments


Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
LRTV Documentaries
Vodafone: What's Good for Moms Is Good for Business

6|23|15   |   3:04   |   (3) comments


Megan Doberneck, the general counsel for Vodafone Americas, discusses her company's progressive maternity policy, explains why promoting women in tech is good business and offers some some good advice for any women in the industry.
LRTV Interviews
NFV: Ready for Prime Time

6|23|15   |   05:09   |   (1) comment


At BTE 2015, Vip mobile CTO Dejan Kastelic talks about how NFV is ready for the real world and how Telekom Austria is introducing centralized resources for its group operations.
LRTV Documentaries
Tykes Talk Tech

6|22|15   |   02:30   |   (9) comments


What does optical fiber look like? When will 5G arrive? What's the WiFi password at Ikea? Light Reading sat down with three 8-year-olds to answer some of the communications industry's most burning questions...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners With TDC for World's First Early DOCSIS 3.1 Field Test

6|22|15   |   3:06   |   (0) comments


In a move to enhance user experience, Denmark's TDC aims to become an early adopter of DOCSIS 3.1. In partnership with Huawei, TDC recently ran the world's first field tests on its coax network that reached speeds nearing 1 Gbit/s.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Staying Productive With My Office-in-a-Bag
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/25/2015
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
What's in Your Office-in-a-Bag?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/26/2015
Eurobites: Activist Investor Takes Stake in AlcaLu
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 6/30/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones