Intel Moves Into Entertainment Biz

Like everyone else at the Computer Electronics Show, chip kingpin Intel is trying to make its mark in the world of entertainment.
LAS VEGAS — Long known as a chip supplier for the PC world, Intel Corp. is trying to make its mark in the world of entertainment.

Although the keynote speech by Intel CEO Paul Otellini at the Consumer Electronics Show here Thursday (Jan. 5) touted several hardware developments, it also emphasized the company’s efforts to compete in the world of premium content services other electronic companies have entered.

"We’re at the threshold of a new entertainment era," Otellini told a packed audience in a multimedia-laden presentation.

After tracing the metamorphosis of the PC over the past two decades, Otellini spoke about Intel’s new dual-core processor, CoreDuo, which the company is integrating into its successful Centrino processor line for mobile PCs.

According to Otellini, CoreDuo runs 68 percent faster than older single-core processors while using 28 percent less power. The processor allows development of thinner, lighter mobile PCs, he added.

CoreDuo will also find its way into Viiv, a hardware and software platform Intel first announced last August at the Intel Developer Forum for a new class of entertainment-oriented PCs.

Otellini expects Viiv to help drive the long-awaited convergence between PC and home consumer electronics devices. "Consumers largely have the Internet experience on the PC, but we believe consumers want the Internet experience on a large screen," he said.

Intel Viiv technology platforms will include the Intel 945/955/975 Express Chipset family and Intel PRO/1000 PM or Intel PRO/100 VE/VM network connection.

Later this year, Viiv will add features that will simplify the set–up of a home network and the ability to transfer digital content from the PC to other devices.

Even with its attributes, Viiv faces stiff competition in the consumer electronics market.

Intel’s main rival AMD Inc. is also expanding its consumer focus with branded consumer desktops and notebooks. Last Fall, AMD overtook Intel in sales to the U.S. retail PC market, according to market research firm Current Analysis.

Given competition from AMD and other semiconductor suppliers in the consumer electronics arena, Intel is seeking to gain an edge by strengthening its ties with suppliers of premium digital video and audio content.

Intel announced it would ally with America Online, movie supplier ClickStar, DirecTV, ESPN, India-based film supplier Eros, ESPN, Spanish media company Grupo Televisa, Chinese media company Shanghai Media Group, and NBC Universal, to deliver premium content to PCs and consumer electronics devices based on the Viiv platform.

Thursday evening, Google agreed to port its video search technology to Intel Viiv-equiped machines. The Internet Search engine provider is hotly rumored to be negotiating a deal with retailers to sell a PC equipped with a Google operating system.

Making no bones about Intel’s commitment to the entertainment business, Otellini marched out Morgan Freeman, actor and head of ClickStar, along with ClickStar chairperson Lori McCreary. They announced the release of film “10 Items or Less” on ClickStar within weeks of the theatrical release.

The group was joined Hollywood filmmakers Danny DeVito, Tom Shadyac, Tom Hanks and Brad Silberling.

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