When it started out in the early 1990s, semiconductor maker Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) saw a bright future in broadband communications. The company prospered as its initial products for modems and cable set-top boxes helped usher in a new era of delivering media to the home.

Now, the fabless chip maker is taking things to a whole new level -- powering devices that deliver rich media experiences not only to the home, but also to the myriad of devices within it. Broadcom made a big splash at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), announcing several new products and initiatives to enable the "connected home."

The target products include your computer, television, wireless phone, and high-definition DVD player. Topping its long list of new product announcements, Broadcom demonstrated a television bypassing a set-top box and connecting directly to the Internet, playing video from Best Buy's (NYSE: BBY) new Video Sharing service.

Covering its bases, though, Broadcom also partnered with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) to include silicon in set-top boxes manufactured to work with Mr. Softy's Mediaroom platform. With the industry still divided on just how best to serve up high-definition content in the home, Broadcom is making sure its solutions will be part of any eventual dominant solution.

Broadcom's move into the digital home follows its aggressive expansion into the market for cellular semiconductors, where it's taking on established giants like Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN), Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM). To quickly gain traction in new market segments, Broadcom spends freely to acquire hot new technologies, and it isn't afraid to throw its legal weight around in the courtroom, either.

Broadcom's reason for branching out is simple: the opportunity to put more of its silicon in more products. Whereas the opportunity of the last decade was limited by the number of homes and businesses that could be connected, it could now encompass the entire volume of electronic gadgets and devices shipped every year.

Of course, trade shows like CES are more talk than walk, but Broadcom rarely fails to follow through on its initiatives. If it stays true to its aggressive history, the company could once again develop whole new markets for its silicon products.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock wonders how the idea of licking frogs was ever born. He owns shares of Intel and Qualcomm and is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. Best Buy is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy wants its MTV, IPTV, and R-E-S-P-E-C-T.