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Texas Instruments Develops HDTV Technology

DALLAS (AP) _ Texas Instruments Inc. says it is working on technology to help phone companies offer high-definition television and voice over high-speed Internet lines within about three years.

TI said Monday the technology will increase the capacity of digital subscriber lines, or DSL, to make the phone companies' broadband offerings more competitive with cable-modem service.

Cable already offers video and is cutting into the phone companies' business by adding voice services.

Pete Chow, TI's chief technology officer for DSL, said the phone companies will need improved technology to counter the cable giants.

``It's a logical next step, but a lot of people haven't taken it,'' he said. ``Video will become the dominant application on DSL.''

David Willis, an analyst with the technology research firm Meta Group, said faster DSL service that can handle video is limited in the United States but more advanced in Asia and Europe.

U.S. phone companies have been held back partly by a lack of access to video content, Willis said. To solve that, he said, they are teaming with satellite providers to offer DSL high-speed Internet over phone lines and video service via satellite.

``The telcos and the satellite companies need each other,'' Willis said. ``Satellite broadband has failed, and the telcos need a compelling entertainment package to fight the cable companies. They have a common enemy in the cable companies.''

TI's new technology will involve building sets of silicon chips for DSL networks and corresponding chips for customers' homes. The technology, which TI calls Uni-DSL, is designed to raise the capacity of DSL enough to deliver high-definition television and other advanced video services along with voice and data to customers.

DSL is limited by the need for customers to be close to the phone company's equipment, and Texas Instruments' technology would not appear to solve that problem.

TI said its equipment would go into facilities called cross connects that are built near customers. Phone companies could build fiber-optic networks to those facilities and still provide service of 50 to 100 megabits per second _ much faster than typical DSL at 8 megabits per second _ on regular phone lines the rest of the way to customers' homes. That would limit the need for laying costly fiber right to customers' homes.

Chow said the Dallas-based semiconductor company has been working on the technology for about nine months and plans to produce the first chip set in late 2005 and begin a major sales push in 2007 and beyond. He said the company doesn't foresee any huge technical barriers.
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