By Craig Zammit
SYDNEY: Intel Australia has taken its next step beyond wireless Centrino technology to unveil Intel Viiv – a new platform designed to assist digital home convergence and to help drive the content market for digital devices.
At the Australian launch at Fox Studios in Sydney yesterday, Intel made the bold claim that in years to come Viiv will be looked upon as significant as the introduction of the television.
With the new Intel Viiv technology, consumers now have a wireless platform with which they can download content such as movies, games, music and more and then play that content via a television on any screen in the house, via the use of Digital Media Adapters (DMA).
DMAs take content stored on a users PC and make it available in any other room or on any digital device. Viiv enabled products featuring integrated DMAs will be released in the second half of 2006. Other entertainment devices, such as soon-to-be-released Xbox 360, will be compatible with the Viiv platform.
With local content providers such as Telstra BigPond, Quickflix, Destra Music, Ubisoft, Adobe, Muvee and many more on the way, Viiv is looking to cater for every taste and every market by accommodating a broad spectrum of quality content.
Viiv is run on Microsoft’s Windows Media Centre edition PCs and is deigned to streamline the process of connecting multiple devices to work together in a highly user-friendly environment.
The launch of Intel Viiv will represent a significant opportunity for retailers as well, with everything from HD-ready television sets, wireless routers and even PCs looking to benefit from the technology.
“Retailers love the product,” Intel national marketing manager Australia and New Zealand, Kate Burleigh told current.com.au.
“They love the platform, because they can see how it will help driving incremental business into their stores,” she said.
Burleigh also pointed to the level of commitment in product development to make it as simple as possible for consumers to set-up an Intel Viiv system in their homes.
“The worst case scenario for us is that consumers get this great product and are excited about it, only to find that they have so much trouble connecting it that they go back to retailer and claim it doesn’t work,” she said.
During the development of Viiv, Intel discovered and repaired more than 2,700 faults to ensure that consumers would enjoy a seamless and simple experience.
With the Intel Viiv platform able to transfer downloaded content to and from any digital device, including mp3 players, users can now download songs via their Intel Viiv equipped television and then simply transfer the content direct to their mp3 player.
Creative has launched a line of its Zen mp3 players which are Viiv-friendly. Identified via the Viiv sticker on the box, the plug-and-go nature of the Zen players means no more installing drivers and fixing settings.
“The Intel intellectual property that has gone into making different devices work together is great. If you see that sticker on a product, then as soon as it recognises it, it’ll just work. It’s very simple,” said Burleigh.
With an optional television tuner card, users can also record, pause and rewind live television with the ability to store it on the built-in Viiv hard drive for later viewing.
A plethora of industry support for the technology exists, with countless Viiv PC designs from companies such as Claritas Technologies, Acer, NEC, Dell, HP, Optima, MiTAC, Altech computers, Alloys Australia and many more.
“We have more than 110 Viiv PC designs worldwide, and that number will grow to more than 250 throughout 2006. That is absolute ubiquitous support from all the PC manufacturers around the world,” said McDonald.
“We have tremendous support from the content industry, tremendous support from the PC industry and we also have tremendous support from consumer electronics.”
The Intel Viiv platforms will be available from Harvey Norman, Dick Smith Powerhouse, Domayne and Myer and will retail for anywhere between $1,999 and $5,999 depending on users preferences and requirements.