LAS VEGAS -- Intel has gained the support of several big names content providers and distributors as it rolls out Viiv, its computer-based multimedia chip set thatis geared towards home entertainment systems. Ten content suppliers, including Time Warneris AOL, NBC, DirecTV, ESPN, and MTV Networks are all on board, according to the Wall Street Journal. Intel will certify that its partners Internet content looks good on computers as well as TVs, and interacts properly with Viiv-aware remote controls.
NBC announced that it will plans on producing highlights from the 2006 Winter Olympics exclusively for Viiv-based computers. ClickStaris first feature film, 10 Items or Less, will have an Internet premier within weeks of the theatrical launch, a first in the industry.
Intel isnit the only company that announced multimedia alliances at CES. Google announced that consumers will be able to buy and download videos from CBS and other providers. HP officially announced that it is switching from bundling iTunes with new PCs to RealNetworkis RealPlayer, and Fox is providing content for DirecTV.
As more companies announce media alliances, the competition is sure to rise. Apple, currently a leader in the digital entertainment market, will have to continue to differentiate itself from its competitors. Right now,it has the cross-platform iTunes application, which offers a user friendly interface for purchasing music and videos. It also has programming from several major companies, including Disney, Pixar, ESPN, ABC, NBC, and the Sci Fi Channel.
Intel also rolled out new Centrino laptops that use its CORE, or Yonah, chipset. PC manufacturers were showing off laptops built around the new chipset during the expo. Speculation that Apple may announce Intel-based iBooks and Mac minis has reached a fever pitch in the last few weeks, and this is sure to take the frenzy even higher.
Since other computer manufacturers have started producing CORE-based laptops, itis likely that Apple may be, too. The introduction of a Mac mini-style home media center with CORE and Viiv seems more plausible, as well. Apple announced last Spring that it is gong to transition from the PowerPC chips currently used in the Macintosh product line to Intel-based chips, and that the transition would start in 2006. Until, Steve Jobis keynote address at Macworld Expo on January 10, however, weill have to wait and see.
Macworld Expo is scheduled to run from January 9 through January 13 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. Steve Jobis keynote address is at 9am Pacific time on January 10. Apple is not broadcasting the keynote live, but TMO will be providing keynote updates, as well as Expo update throughout the week.