Intel: no comment on Apple participating in ‘Viiv’ entertainment platform

“Looking to boost the number of computers whirring away in living rooms, Intel Corp. on Wednesday unveiled its first list of companies whose products are expected to work with the chip maker’s upcoming Viiv entertainment PC platform,” Matthew Fordahl reports for The Associated Press. “So far, about 40 companies that develop TV, movie, music, gaming and photo-editing products are testing and verifying services, programs and gadgets that will interact with the Intel technology, said Kevin Corbett, an Intel vice president in charge of content services. The goal of the Viiv label, he said, is to avoid consumer confusion and questions over interoperability. It also will ensure the products will work when the PC is being controlled from a distance via a remote control.”

Fordahl reports, “Corbett declined to comment on whether Apple Computer Inc. is participating in Viiv. Earlier this year, Apple announced that it would start using Intel microprocessors in its Macintosh computers, and it also has released entertainment PC-like software for its latest iMacs. PCs based on Viiv, which rhymes with ‘five,’ are expected to be available in a variety of forms, ranging from the size of a stereo system component to a more traditional PC tower. All will run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Media Center operating system… Viiv is expected to be available in the first quarter of next year.”

Full article here.

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
Is Apple working on a DVR or not? – November 30, 2005
RUMOR: Apple preps ‘Kaleidoscope’ digital hub ‘TiVo-killer’ for January Macworld Expo debut – November 29, 2005

19 Comments

  1. VIIV is meant to connotate “alive” and “vivacious.” Still, there are some other theories holding sway in this great game of Balderdash, such as “a curse in Finnish,” “a desk lamp at Ikea,” a leftover from the Pentium 5, “livid,” “vile,” 64 in Roman numerals, a fast ferry service on the island of Yeu (our personal favorite), a name for Bahasa — the language of Indonesia, and a striped cap polo shirt from Nordstrom. So it’s Balderdash free-for-all, yo — what do you think VIIV means?

  2. “All will run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Media Center operating system… Viiv is expected to be available in the first quarter of next year.” Matthew Fordahl

    He just answered his own question, unless he just spit out that sentence without thinking, which some journalists do.

  3. I’m going to repeat what I said in a previous post (sorry), but it seems pertinent here:

    Recently the FCC “retracted” a previous decision, whereby they held the cable TV industry line on bundling, and officially stamped it as being the only economically rational way of selling paid TV. This was clearly an industry-induced decision. And yet the FCC now says it’s feasible for cable companies to offer ala carte channel pricing. Make no mistake – this is just as industry-induced and it’s no coincidence that once Apple, and Universal, and who all else got serious about selling individual shows over broadband – which is nothing more than ala carte at a more granular level – cable companies began to realize that they had to be able offer something similar. Calling up the FCC to redact their earlier study was a necessary formality.

    With all this going on, the consequence is that Apple’s plans of doing to video distribution what they did in music starts to become untenable. Figures I’ve seen say that whole channels can possibly be had monthly on cable for less than a buck (for the less popular ones), up to $10 or so (for the really good ones) if present pricing arrangements with Comcast, et al are used. Assuming an average of a few bucks a channel – with say 10 shows a day, 7 days a week, 4 weeks a month being available – that’s an awful lot of content. And its only a little less ‘on demand’ than downloading individual shows from ITMS for about the same amount of money just ONCE.

    Maybe if Apple had been getting some cooperation from the content providers in adding more shows to iTMS they would have been willing to stick with it as their best business model for video, but that hasn’t been the case. So, once the possibility of ala carte pricing via cable reared it’s ugly head, as well as the fact that – believe it or not – you can still get TV for FREE in this country (HiDef included) … Well, selling a DVR enabled, FrontRow enhanced, Airport connected, dualcore Macintel Mini (which will probably also incorporate some form of ATI’s recent – and speedy – GPU video encoding technology) had to seem like the softest fallback position ever for Apple. Hardware is where all the profit is anyway.

    For this reason I think this kind of device IS what’s coming at Macworld Expo. Not only does it make sense from a business perspective, it would also be the perfect product to announce with the Macintel rollout. Everybody knows laptops are coming; no big whoop there. But announcing something like a media center device too (“just one more thing”) would be just the kind of shake-the-rafters-and-hold-on-to-the-stock-price kind of occasion Jobs lives for. Besides, there was no other legitimate reason to switch to Intel in the first place if Apple WASN’T going to do this. More and more testing sites are showing that Intel’s CPUs – even the dual core models – don’t perform as well when compared to their direct competitor (AMD), let alone the PPC based stuff. Even Intel’s power consumption advantages are shrinking with each new announcement from other CPU manufacturers as well.

    However, when it came to hardware DRM, Intel was/is the biggest player out there, And as the story above shows, Intel’s ViiV is a much bigger deal than most people realize. We’re talking about Intel negotiating for content from all over the world for this thing. Plus, ViiV computers will sport Intel’s top-of-the-line processors (which we know Apple is also getting) and a bunch of other technologies designed to make a home computer/digital media server as the center piece of the modern home. Simplification will become one of ViiV’s big selling points, and the Windows XP Media Center Edition OS is going to run it.

    I don’t see how Apple could possibly let a challenge like that pass. Would Jobs seriously let Gate’s Media Center be the only player in a market like this, especially since he can get the exact same hardware from Intel? No way. If Apple has access to Intel’s content efforts too, and I’m sure they would’ve made sure of that before making any sort of massive switch to them, then it would seem that some steroidal induced DVR has to be in the offing from Apple. Announcing it in January will steal some of M$’s thunder to boot, since the article says the ViiV PC will debut in the first quarter of next year.

    Jobs surely foresaw more success with a video iTMS model than he’s currently getting, and maybe a DVR/Media Mac will free up the logjam. But regardless of whether it does or doesn’t, he’s got to use the only advantages Intel offers – and sooner rather than later. Otherwise the Macintel transition will be the biggest non-starters in the industry’s history.

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