Intel Corp. has a new slogan: Viiv Las Vegas.
Paul Otellini, CEO of the chip giant, outlined plans to bring a wide range of content, from sports to first-run movies, to anyone with a broadband Internet connection and a remote control using its new Viiv PC platform, during a Thursday night keynote at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show here.
While it incorporates new hardware and software, including Intel's latest Core Duo and Pentium D 900 series chips, and will spawn several different types of desktop PCs, Viiv represents a larger effort to bring together a mass of content and show it on a range of devices, including televisions and handhelds, allowing them all to seamlessly access and share music, movies, television and other media.
"What consumers have today is an Internet video experience that's experienced in front of a ... PC" from only about two feet away, Otellini said. "What consumers really want — what they tell us they want — is a big screen [which can be seen from afar and operated via a remote control] in the living room or in the bedroom."
Thus Intel designed Viiv from the ground up to become the conduit for the big screen, the silver screen as well as sports arenas and concerts, among other things, Otellini said.
Intel's efforts to build the Viiv platform included developing new hardware and software. However, Otellini indicated that gathering support for the platform proved the most difficult task, particularly when it came to Hollywood.
Out of the 110 companies that are supporting Viiv at launch, 60 are content providers.
Actors Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks and Danny DeVito also joined him on stage to show their support for the platform's ability to distribute films via the Internet.
Intel's Many Friends
Intel boasts alliances with Google, ClickStar Inc., DirecTV Inc., NBC and ESPN, in addition to AOL and several others.
Consumers who purchase Viiv PCs, which also come with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP Media Center Edition, will gain access to the services offered by these partners, assuming the consumer has a broadband Internet connection.
Executives from ClickStar, DirecTV and AOL also joined Otellini on stage.
ClickStar, founded in part by Freeman, was created this summer in an effort to offer first-run movies via broadband within weeks of release in theaters.
The company, in addition, aims to host movies created exclusively for Internet distribution, they said. ClickStar's first online film premiere will be a comedy titled "10 Items or Less" and will star Freeman and Paz Vega.
"The idea is for people to control their own material from start to finish and get in front of audience that wants to see it," Hanks said.
Intel will tap Google Video to allow users to consume video on their television and on portable devices wherever and whenever they choose, the chipmaker said in a statement, released Thursday night.
DirecTV, for its part, aims to use Viiv to provide content that consumers can share throughout their houses using the open DLNA standard, Chase Carey, DirecTV's CEO, said in an appearance on stage. The company is also working on satellite tuner box that places the company's satellite TV signal directly into PCs.
Jonathan Miller, chairman and CEO of AOL, said that AOL would offer its numerous services, including AOL Radio, AOL Pictures and, later this quarter, its AOL Music Service, with over a million songs, to Viiv PC owners.
Intel is even working with NBC to bring the Olympics to Viiv, Otellini said. NBC will offer Viiv owners the ability to create their own personal portals for viewing the games via its Web site, nbcolympics.com, in early February.
What Viiv Looks Like
Viiv boxes will come in numerous forms, ranging from standard desktop forms, including towers and so-called small desktops, to DVD-player-look-a-like living-room-style PCs, and will begin rolling out as soon as this week. The machines, which all include dual-core Intel processors as well as built-in high-definition audio, will start at less than $900, Intel executives said.
Tinier Viiv machines, resembling Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac Mini, are expected to come out later.
Having tapped the content available to them, Viiv owners will also be able to broadcast their Viiv content to home televisions — some of which will connect directly or via wireless to Viiv boxes — as well as handheld players. Older TV sets can be brought up to spec with so-called Media Adaptors, set tops that bridge the gap.
"Viiv literally changes how you watch television, how you watch the Internet, how you watch sports ... all around the world," Otellini said. "Welcome to the new normal."
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