MediaTek's Latest Chips Merge AI & Entertainment – CES 2018

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Chipmaker MediaTek announced a line of new products at CES 2018 that’s intended to bring artificial intelligence and home entertainment together. Specifically, the company is launching a system-on-chip for 4K dongles called the MT8695, an AI-friendly system-on-module called the MT8516, and an integrated smart display solution. The MT8516 is built around bringing AI voice capabilities like natural language processing and AI assistant integration to just about any device, while the MT8695 is made for high-definition media with AI integration. The smart display solution, meanwhile, is essentially a base for smart TVs and monitors, and is based on MediaTek’s existing MT8176 and MT8173 SoCs, which both support computer vision with native AI capabilities.

The MT8695 SoC is a 12nm kit that’s meant to power some of the world’s first 4K-capable dongles, allowing owners of 4K displays access to a cheap, convenient solution for streaming content. It supports 4K media at up to 60 frames per second, along with HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The SoC is essentially able to support the richest 4K content currently on the market, in a small, fanless dongle format, akin to Google’s Chromecast or Amazon’s Fire TV Stick. The focus on AI is not as strong with this chip as with others in MediaTek’s new lineup, with the main emphasis being on streaming rich media smoothly with the most conservative resource usage possible. Still, the chip does support onboard AI with voice capabilities. The AI focus is actually found in the MT8516 chip, which devotes most of its resources to native AI, and can bring those capabilities to just about any device it’s put in. Finally, the smart display solutions, based on two existing AI-friendly MediaTek SoCs, can integrate computer vision and other AI functions into home automation, IoT, and home entertainment.

MediaTek has been on a roll with announcing its mass invasion of the home market at CES this year. The company is working on wireless communications for IoT and home automation, and the newly debuted platforms open the door for its SoC products to exist in just about every facet of the modern smart home, powering everything from the router to the control hub, and bringing AI integration along for the ride.