Since its introduction Intel’s Viiv has received a mixed reception with the general view being that it didn’t push back the multimedia boundaries as far as was hoped. In fact, it even divided the TR team with Riyad praising Hi-Grade’s Viiv based PC and Leo singularly unimpressed by the whole format. Well, today AMD has thrown its hat into the ring by launching its own take on the media PC, called Live!
Since covered by Spode during our CeBIT travels in March, much myth and rumour has built up about what would actually make up a Live! PC. Unfortunately, the answer looks to be: not much.
The two prerequisites set in stone are an AMD Athlon 64 X2 processor and an installation of Windows Media Center, but the multimedia features galore many fanboys had anticipated have failed to materialise. Audio requirements are simply defined as needing to be “up to 7.1 surround sound” which curiously means there is a maximum on the standard but no minimum. Likewise, the need for “advanced graphics” is likely be from integrated solutions upwards. Equally odd is that a TV tuner card is an optional requirement for Live! Certification which rather destroys the multimedia aspect to it all.
Boding slightly better for the platform is the company’s ‘Entertainment Suite’ which includes a range of services such as On Demand – a service which streams live or pre-recorded video, programmes, photos, music and movies to web-connected devices, Compress – a tool which compresses recorded TV content up to 10x, Network Magic – a home network management app, LogMeIn – remote access software and Media Vault –an automated back up solution which saves a user’s digital content collection (free up to 25GB, $10 per month up to 250GB) to a secure online server.
Further software is promised over the coming months and AMD has announced a flood of partners, but I fear the list is so long because virtually anyone can build a PC that meets the requirements.