Entropic Communications, a fabless semiconductor startup with big plans for the whole-home media center concept, closed on a new round of financing and appointed a new executive to run the show.

Entropic named Patrick Henry to president and CEO, taking the place of company co-founder Dr. Itzhak Gurantz, who will remain with the company as chief technical officer and board chairman. Henry most recently served as president and CEO of Pictos Technologies. Before that, he was CEO of LinCom Wireless and served in executive slots at LSI Logic and C-Cube Microsystems.

On the funding front, Entropic raised $29 million in Series B financing, extending its total to $46 million. Investors included several in cable circles, including Comcast Inter-active Capital, Motorola, Time Warner and YAS Broadband Ventures, a firm headed up by Rouzbeh "Father of the cable modem" Yassini.

Founded in 2001, San Diego-based Entropic is focusing its silicon efforts on broadband multimedia distribution over existing cable coax.

"The market is starting to develop into islands of digital entertainment," Henry said. "How to hook them together is a market opportunity. We feel like we have a solution that will capitalize on that."

Entropic hopes to do that with silicon that supports a whole-home system that pipes video, data, gaming and voice applications to other devices on a coax-based network, and manage those applications with roughly 100 Mbps of net usable bandwidth.

The company's chipset, Henry explained, uses some standard networking elements, but much of the QoS and the ability to handle attenuation is found in Entropic's proprietary MAC and PHY technology.

"Room-to-room communication needs a wire-based backbone," he added, noting that wireless-based technologies are more useful for in-room connections.

Entropic expects to make a formal product announcement in early 2004. The company's chipset will cost less than $20 per unit, but could "move to the low teens" in high volumes, Henry said.