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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 August 2005, 19:04 GMT 20:04 UK
Intel PCs target the digital home
Paul Otellini, Intel chief
Intel is vying for a key spot in the digital living room
Chip giant Intel has set its sights on the digital living room with its own flavours of entertainment PCs designed to act like media hubs for the home.

Its Viiv (pronounced like "five") computers will use Intel dual-core processors, chipsets, software and networking capabilities.

Coming in various forms, they will let people control media with a remote.

Making the announcement, Intel said the computing technology was specifically designed for the "digital home."

The computers with Viiv technology inside will be controlled in a similar way to TVs, with every device coming with a remote control.

"Intel Viiv technology is our first platform designed from the ground up for the digital home, where consumers are passionate about the idea of accessing their content anytime, anywhere in their home on a number of devices," said Don MacDonald, vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Home Group.

The announce was made at the Intel Developer Forum which takes place annually in the US.

Where's the remote?

The PCs will come in various shapes and forms, including small units similar in style to a stereo or DVD player, and more traditional desktop or tower designs.

They will also be able to let people multitask, so that various functions or media can be accessed simultaneously by different people or devices in the house.

The technology will include an integrated media server "engine" to reformat digital content files so they can be used on a selection of devices verified by Intel.

Intel said it would also work with the PC and consumer electronics industries to develop standards so that content can be swapped between rooms and devices on a home network.

It added that specially-designed software in the PCs will make it easier for people to set up their home networks so they can connect to portable media players, DVD players, TVs and stereos.

Vying for space

The announcement comes as the push towards making PC technology gathers pace with the recognition that traditional computers need to be more living-room friendly for many people to adopt them as media hubs.

The idea of the digital home as a way of life is also growing with the rise of high-speed net and wireless home networks.

But people also have more of an appetite for digital content, such as downloaded as well as self-created music, images, other audio and digital video.

Intel faces stiff competition for space in the digital living room, however.

Apple's Mac mini
The Mac mini wants to be your media hub too
Both Microsoft with its Xbox 360 and Sony with its PlayStation 3 hope to tempt people into making their devices the centre of people's home digital lives.

They also want the consoles to be media hubs on which photos, video, and music are stored and shared anywhere in the house on other devices and have focused very much on the design of the devices too.

Microsoft has already tried to woo people into using its Media Centre PCs as more friendly digital content devices to replace the grey-box PC. The Viiv PCs will come with Microsoft Windows Media Centre Edition operating system.

The Mac mini, launched by Apple earlier this year, is also jostling for a place in the digital home as a media centre serving up digital content.

Intel's PCs are expected to be available from a number of manufacturers worldwide early 2006.

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