Intel to acquire multimedia patents from RealNetworks

Intel hopes to use the patents to boost the multimedia experience on devices based on its chips

Intel on Thursday said it had agreed to purchase RealNetworks streaming media patents and video codecs in a bid to improve the multimedia experience delivered through devices based on its chips.

The chip maker has agreed to purchase video codec software and about 190 patents and 170 patent applications worldwide, for US$120 million. RealNetworks is best known for its RealPlayer multimedia software, which offers multimedia streaming based on its own codec.

The purchase will help Intel offer "richer experiences" across a wide spectrum of devices, including through laptops and smartphones, the company said in a statement. A company spokeswoman declined further comment on specific plans for patents and software.

Intel has been beefing up its on-chip multimedia capabilities to handle more realistic graphics as the company develops newer generations of chips. The new laptop chips code-named Ivy Bridge due later this year for ultrabooks will be the first to have integrated support for Microsoft's DirectX 11. Smartphones and tablets based on Intel's Atom chip code-named Medfield will be released later this year.

Intel is trying to catch up on graphics with rival Advanced Micro Devices, which already offers on-chip DirectX 11 capabilities.

RealNetworks said it will retain some rights to continue using the patents in products.

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