Ultra HD, the next big thing in television, should be priced affordably by this Christmas. But gaming on these new Smart TVs, which offer four times (hence the other name, 4K) the fidelity of HD TVs, won't just be the realm of Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One. Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon 802 Ultra HD TV processor at CES, which was designed for next generation 4K and 1080p Smart TVs, set-top boxes and digital media adapters. It's designed to bring Snapdragon smartphone smarts to the Smart TV space and help enable a whole new level of Ultra HD Smart TV experiences, including seamless decoding of Ultra HD video content, rich user interfaces and console quality gaming.
"The Snapdragon 802 processor is designed to enable advanced Smart TV experiences, and more of them, simultaneously on one TV or on multiple different connected devices," said Brent Sammons, senior manager, marketing, Qualcomm Mobile & Computing. "It will be possible for users of Snapdragon 802 powered Smart TVs to play an online game while video conferencing, browse the web while streaming a movie, or play back up to four Full HD videos simultaneously on the same Ultra HD display."
Qualcomm Technologies custom-built a software framework for the Snapdragon 802 processor that is designed to provide fully enabled Android TV capability for Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and digital media adapters. The framework supports analog and digital broadcasts, as well as various TV inputs.
Anita Hix, senior vice president of business development at Qualcomm, said the new devices, which will debut this fall, will provide a great platform for gaming. At its CES booth, Qualcomm had the technology running on an Ultra HD TV with games and 4K movies.
Consumers will also be able to play mobile games on the big screen without investing in an Ultra HD TV, thanks to the new Snapdragon 800 processor.
"We have the ability to play multiplayer gaming on one big screen," said Hix. "We have four players using controllers to race in Gameloft's "Asphalt 8." Not only does this game take advantage of the 3D graphics capabilities of the processor, but it also uses Wi-Fi. You can either use N or AC, as well as LTE connectivity, so you really don't see any latency while playing multiplayer games. The processor also supports online and local gameplay.
CES also marked the debut of the SnapDragon 805 processor, which will debut on devices in the first half of this year. Thanks to Adreno 420 technology, which offers a 40 percent boost in processing power over its Adreno 320 predecessor, Hix said gaming will be taken to a whole new level.
"We're really getting to a point where you can see console quality gaming in a smartphone or a tablet," said Hix. "There are some amazing experiences with gaming."
With Qualcomm competing with Intel, AMD and NVIDIA in the mobile and home entertainment space, games have taken on a pivotal role in showcasing new technology on the latest devices.
"Gaming is a key element that people use phones and tablets for when you look at the statistics," said Hix. "Mobile gaming is really important for phones and tablets."
With Smart TVs now commonplace in more households, the ability to stream wirelessly or connect mobile devices to the big screen in the living room is changing the way gaming and entertainment is consumed. It's also allowing for a more fluent gameplay experience as gamers can begin a virtual adventure on the go and then continue it at home with a full console experience -- minus the expensive console.
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