Intel is working with dozens of movie, music, and game providers around the world to ensure their services work with the living room PC concept embodied by its upcoming Viiv brand, scheduled to be launched early next year.
By the time Viiv-branded PCs are officially launched in the first quarter of next year by Intel's PC partners, multimedia content from companies like Movielink, British Sky Broadcasting, Medion, and NEC will be certified to work with the so-called "ten-foot interface" delivered by those PCs, said Gordon Dolfie, director of content distribution marketing for Intel.
Viiv (which rhymes with five) is Intel's second major consumer brand for identifying a collection of Intel components that are designed to deliver a certain experience. Modeled on its Centrino brand for notebook technology, Viiv PCs will come with one of Intel's Pentium Extreme Edition, Pentium D, or Yonah processors, the associated chipsets for those processors, an Intel-developed network controller, and software designed to make it easier for consumers to make their PCs the center of a home media network. Yonah is the code name for a dual-core processor for notebooks and small desktops scheduled to launch in the first quarter.
These PCs will also come with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition, which allows users to access their movies, television programs, or music on a large-screen television with a remote control while sitting about ten feet away from the screen. But many digital content applications from the 40-plus companies that are working with Intel were designed with a traditional mouse-and-keyboard setup in mind, Dolfie said.
Intel is helping those companies tailor their applications for this living room environment through the Viiv certification program, Dolfie said. By the second half of next year, Intel will also certify that the applications will work on home media networking equipment designed for Viiv PCs, he said.
Viiv PCs will have links to the Web sites of these partners in the menus of the Media Center Edition OS, Dolfie said. Users can fire up their Viiv PCs and easily find a content provider for movies, music, photos, and even games, he said.
Intel is working with companies all over the world in order to make sure the Viiv experience is the same from country to country, Dolfie said.
Intel has not released an official launch date for the Viiv brand, which was first disclosed at the company's Fall Intel Developer Forum in August. But Ricavision International plans to introduce a Viiv-branded PC at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in January, according to an e-mail from a company spokesman sent out this week. This suggests that other PC companies like Hewlett-Packard and Dell might also be eyeing an early-January introduction.