From the NYT:  Intel plans to announce a family of microprocessor chips on Monday that it says will speed the availability of high-definition video via the Internet.

As consumers clamor for more Internet video, a huge computing burden is placed on companies like Google, Microsoft and providers of digital video, who must compress the video files so they can be streamed to desktop and portable computers.

Intel’s new family, made up of 16 processors, would first be used in servers and high-end desktops that compress the video. They are the first chips based on a new manufacturing process that Intel says will give it a significant competitive advantage by increasing computing performance while reducing power consumption.

To get better video compression, Intel has added a set of 46 instructions it calls SSE4 to the new microprocessors.

The leading designer of the new processor, Steve Fischer, said the new instructions would make possible a new generation of servers that enhance the compression of digital video. “Video is becoming ubiquitous on the Web,” he said.

“This is a step in the right direction,” said Richard Doherty, president of Envisioneering, “and it’s probably the best use for this 45-nanometer technology over the next couple of years.”

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