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Thu, Dec 01, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Intel unveils partner list for new Viiv system

INTEROPERABILITY The chipmaker announced a list of companies whose products will be compatible with its soon-to-be-released range of Viiv entertainment PC devices

AP , SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA

Looking to boost the number of computers whirring away in living rooms, Intel Corp yesterday unveiled its first list of companies whose products are expected to work with the chipmaker's upcoming Viiv entertainment PC platform.

So far, about 40 companies that develop TV, movie, music, gaming and photo-editing products are testing and verifying services, programs and gadgets that will interact with the Intel technology, said Kevin Corbett, an Intel vice president in charge of content services.

The goal of the Viiv label, he said, is to avoid consumer confusion and questions over interoperability. It also will ensure the products will work when the PC is being controlled from a distance via a remote control.

Intel, which is best known for its Pentium microprocessor, followed a similar strategy in 2003, when it launched its Centrino technology for laptops. Along with a big marketing push, it worked to ensure that gear carrying the Centrino logo worked with laptops branded the same way.

"We basically accelerated the heck out of Wi-Fi," Corbett said. "We plan to do the same thing around digital entertainment."

Digital video recorder pioneer TiVo Inc is among the companies participating, but Corbett declined to say how a Viiv-branded TiVo might work differently from today's models that can transfer content to a PC.

A Tivo spokeswoman didn't return a call seeking comment.

Other participating companies include Afendis AG, LoveFilm.com, British Sky Broadcasting, Telecom Italia, MovieLink, Adobe Systems Inc, VirginMega, Ubisoft, Ulead Systems Inc, and Sonic Solutions.

Corbett declined to comment on whether Apple Computer Inc is participating in Viiv.

Earlier this year, Apple announced that it would start using Intel microprocessors in its Macintosh computers, and it has released entertainment PC-like software for its latest iMacs.

PCs based on Viiv, which rhymes with "five," are expected to be available in a variety of forms, ranging from the size of a stereo system component to a more traditional PC tower.

All will run Microsoft Corp's Windows Media Center operating system.

Intel said PC owners will be able to click their Viiv computers on and off, after the initial boot, with the press of a button. The machines also ship with 5.1 surround sound, with an option to upgrade to 7.1.

Viiv systems will include a configuration wizard to walk users through setting up network components using their remote control.

In addition, the systems will have a media server "engine" that reformats digital content for viewing on a variety of devices.

Viiv is expected to be available in the first quarter of next year.

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