35th Week, 2005 / SAN FRANCISCO -- Hoping to
speed acceptance of personal computers that manage digital
wireless entertainment to as many manufacturers as possible,
chip maker Intel Corp. announced Wednesday, August 24th
about the new technologies that aims to make it easier for
Window clones and Macs to record and play video and
VIIV, which rhymes with "dive," represents Intel's bet on the future of it new look computers as the center of a wired living room.
A variety of VIIV units will come on the market in the first quarter of 2006 and sport "colorful stickers" so customers will recognize that they are designed to record, store and play back music, photos, home videos and television, like todays Mac does.
"If the service is consistent, it should be strong going forward," said Richard Doherty, director of technology consulting firm Envisioneering Group.
Much of what VIIV computers will offer already is possible on PCs running the Media Center Edition of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system, which allows users to record TV broadcasts. But Microsoft and computer makers have not aggressively marketed Media Center PCs because of the popularity of the Mac OS and its ability to stream audio and video through its QT format, used by firms like LookRadio.com and its WiFi90 audio enhancements.
Although the move is a good way to raise awareness of the PC's capabilities, it's not a slam dunk, said Roger Kay, president of technology researcher Endpoint Technologies.
"The risk is that they have a limited window to get it absolutely right because consumers are relatively intolerant of poor experiences," he said.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel in recent years has branched beyond PC processors, targeting home entertainment and communications technology.
VIIV "is an opportunity for Intel to sell more processors by selling another PC to your home," said Kevin Krewell, principal analyst with In-Stat MDR. "They're trying to grow the business of lifestyle in the living room."
VIIV computers will run on dual-core Intel processors, which pack two computing engines onto one chip. They will have instant on/off capability, after initial boot-up, and will work with a variety of TV sets and other entertainment devices.
Intel spent heavily to market the Centrino wireless package. In late 2002, before the Centrino campaign, fewer than 7% of notebook computers sold in the U.S. had wireless capability, according to Intel. Today, that number is around 85%.
Intel supplied marketing assistance to computer makers that agreed to use the Centrino package of Intel processor, chipset and wireless radio chip and to put a Centrino sticker on the notebooks. Intel would not give details of VIIV's marketing budget or potential pricing for VIIV computers. .