Intel has given a name to its home entertainment PCs that it claims with become the Centrino of the home - Viiv - pronounced like "five".
PCs with Viiv stuck on them will start appearing at the start of next year, said Don McDonald, general manager of Intel's Digital Home Group. No PC vendors have signed up yet.
Like Centrino, Intel will ask PC manufacturers to use several different Intel-produced components in Viiv-branded PCs order to receive marketing assistance. The Centrino brand requires the use of the Pentium M processor, a mobile chipset and Intel's Wi-Fi chips. In order to use the Viiv brand, PC vendors must use a dual-core Intel processor, an Intel chipset, a network controller made by the company and a software package from Microsoft and other vendors.
"If it can bring some new level of performance to products, it should be beneficial," said Richard Doherty, principal analyst with The Envisioneering Group.
Intel and the PC industry have latched onto consumer electronics as a way to stimulate the fortunes of the PC industry. Along with Microsoft, the companies have had some success selling Media Center PCs that allow users to watch TV, download movies and play games on their televisions using remote controls. Some PC vendors also sell entertainment PCs, which are slim desktop-like devices that bear a greater resemblance to consumer electronics devices like DVD players or stereo receivers.
But analysts have warned that consumers have a much higher level of expectations for consumer electronics devices like DVD players and televisions than they do for buggy, virus-prone PCs. The thinking is that while users tolerate a certain amount of trouble from their PCs, they won't stand for the same experience while trying to relax and watch a movie.
Left unaddressed were details about digital-rights management (DRM) used in Viiv PCs to ensure content providers will get on board with the delivery of digital content over the Internet. Intel has taken great pains over the past year to chart a middle course between the content industry and consumer advocates when it comes to DRM, but it did not explain at the announcement how it will prevent users from using or making unauthorised copies of digital content on Viiv PCs.
The company also didn't explain where it got the idea for the Viiv moniker. McDonald called the name "fun" and "an exciting brand for an exciting product" that will also be easy to recognise, if not pronounce.