Trading movies and other large data files online through the popular BitTorrent delivery platform may soon happen on simple consumer devices, thanks to a pair of companies that are creating specifically designed processors that can handle what PCs can do today.

Iadea Corp., a Taiwan-based licensee of BitTorrent technology, and Star Semiconductor Corp., an affiliate of the semiconductor giant UMC Group, jointly announced the world's first BitTorrent-optimized microprocessor chip on Thursday.

Most of the BitTorrent downloads today are done by software that runs on the PC. The new microprocessor will enable consumer electronics hardware makers to create devices that directly download and play BitTorrent content.

I remember in the old days people first watched DVDs on the PC, like how BitTorrent is used on the PC today, says Steven Huang, Chairman and CEO of Star Semiconductor Corporation, the co-developer of the new chip. Very soon our chip will enable millions of consumer devices to run BitTorrent and help consumers do what they do today on the PC using just a simple remote control.

The companies said that two versions of the chips will be available, with both chips featuring an ARM922 processor core, network interface and dual USB 2.0 high-speed ports. The features, the firms say, allow the chip to be used in embedded consumer products, such as routers, DVD players, set-top boxes and other digital media appliances.

New digital appliances utilizing our chip work cooperatively to deliver large media files, says John C. Wang, CEO of Iadea. We see this trend emerging as 'Web 3.0' where each consumer becomes part of a universal content storage and delivery system. Our new chip plays part in the new paradigm by making BitTorrent available efficiently and economically.

The peer-assisted digital content delivery platform, BitTorrent, allows files to be distributed to users across the Internet. Parts of a desired file are distributed by many users who have the file already, relieving the strain and dependence put on typical centralized servers. Since its creation, the technology has amassed a user base of over 135 million worldwide.

Recently, BitTorrent has signed content license several entertainment companies to help distribute large media files to viewers simultaneously without heavy investment into server hardware and bandwidth.

The BitTorrent-optimized STR9810/20 microprocessors will be available in Q1 2007. The chips will be available to systems designers starting at $8.75 in quantities of 1,000.