Intel Insider & WiDi 2.0

2. Intel Insider

While Sandy Bridge makes huge graphical leaps over all previous Intel chipsets the company also hopes it can revolutionise the home entertainment industry. In a nutshell Intel Insider is a chip level layer of content protection akin to HDCP (Intel insists it is not DRM) which is designed to securely stream premium purchased video. It was developed in conjunction with Hollywood production companies including the likes of Dreamworks, Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox to coax them into providing early release of new TV and film in 1080p (of which playback is a doddle with Sandy Bridge).

Consequently Intel has deals in place with more than 20 studios to provide their content and it will licence these deals out to distribution companies around the world. Since the core agreement is with Intel it believes global rights issues can be overcome.

"{It will be} specific distributors country to country, but I believe it will not be a problem," explained Eden to us in a roundtable briefing afterwards. "We create the infrastructure and enable the relationship between the studios so I don't see any limits on the distribution."

This was echoed by WB Home Entertainment president Kevin Tsujihara who said: "We never felt comfortable using {the web} as a secure platform for our premium content. Now we think Sandy Bridge is secure enough to make this content available on a global basis. You've taken the excuse away from us. Now HD and 3D content can be released to consumers early."

While we await specific UK partner announcements, Eden did reveal in the US Best Buy will be launching the 'CinemaNow' service and it demoed Inception being streamed at 1080p. This only occurred after the site did a Sandy Bridge CPU check. If Insider really will mean early home release of movies (and we await precisely how early) across the globe then AMD will be sweating.

WiDi 2.0

Dovetailing with Insider is WiDi 2.0. We got our first glimpse of WiDi at CES last year, but v2.0 is where Intel expects it to go mass market. WiDi 2.0 is built into every Sandy Bridge chip and it allows encrypted wireless streaming of 1080p video (v1.0 was 720p limited), DVDs and Blu-ray to compatible TVs. Initially compatibility will mean the purchase of a WiDi adapter for a TV, but Intel says it will soon announce a number of deals to have WiDi built into televisions at the point of manufacture.

Should WiDi take off (and Intel is largely responsible for the take-off of WiFi through Centrino) then it has the potential to kill the fragmented wireless HDMI solutions currently on offer stone dead. "A whole new spectrum of computing is being developed and we're very excited," declared Otellini.

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