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Intel ViiV

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Intel’s move to a platform company was completed yesterday as it launched its ViiV platform (pronounciation tip - rhymes with 'Five') and it brought out some Hollywood bigs guns to do it. Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman and Danny DeVito were all rolled out on stage, (not literally - they walked on) to extol the virtues on the new platform.

Where’s as Centrino implied a trio of specific Intel products, (CPU, chipset, Wireless chip), ViiV only implies a dual-core chip – Intel new ‘Yonah’ chip, now officially launched as Core Duo and a supporting chipset that enables the instant on/off functionality that is intended to bring the PC into the consumer space. Ottelini referred to the Core branding as the first major new brand from Intel since the launch of the Pentium in 1993. Now the Pentium 60 was actually slower than the top-end 486’s it was replacing, but there’s no doubt that the Core Duo is a fantastic upgrade to current Sonoma Pentium M.

The other requirements ViiV are a Windows Media Center Edition operating system and a big high definition screen. I’m not sure what happens if you plug into a smaller screen – does it refuse to turn on?

Other than that the designs are down to the system integrators and Intel’s CEO Paul Ottelini showed off a wide range of Viiv PCs in all shapes and sizes. Thanks to the low power requirements small and discreet boxes are the order of the day, and one was even completely fanless.

Michael Dell, Chairman and founder of Dell, was on hand to demonstrate a prototype of a new Dell ViiV laptop with very large screen. So that Otellini, would ‘lift it’ at the end of the keynote, he picked it up with its integrated handles and walked off stage with it – pretty cool

Of course, to really make the most of it you’ll need a nice fat broadband connection. Certainly, what was clear from Ottelini’s keynote is that it is the online services that will really make a ViiV PC and the amount of time it has spent with content partners to get the platform off to a flying launch – at least in the US. AOL will have a good range of content, and NBC will offer up the next Olympics to ViiV users. Also showcased were Indian Bollywood movies and Spanish content. All good, now what about some Premiership and Champions League football please? Let’s hope Intel are talking to Sky.

However, what the Hollywood stars were out in support of was the Clickstar service which promises to have movies available from ViiV PCs at the same time as they are on in cinemas.

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