Nvidia chief denies Media Centre competition

Nvidia's slimline operating system for digital media will not compete with Windows Media Centre despite the decision to offer nStant Media for free, according to Nvidia chief scientist, Dr David Kirk.

In Sydney last week to launch Nvidia's GeForce 6800 chip, Dr Kirk shed more light on the chipmaker's push into the digital home market with its nStant Media operating system.

Based on Linux, nStant Media is a quick boot OS for viewing digital photos, movies and music on notebooks, according to Dr Kirk.

"It allows you to make your PC feel like a consumer electronics device," Dr Kirk said.

The software will be available for free download from the Nvidia website, and included with new Nvidia graphics cards.

While Nvidia supported Windows Media Centre, nStant Media would offer notebook users a faster and more power-efficient system, he said. The compact size of the OS means it can load in nine seconds and require little power.

nStant Media can also run in dual boot mode, allowing users to switch between operating systems.

"nStant Media has basic personal video recorder (PVR) and digital media functions," Dr Kirk said. "There's a strong chance of High-Definition TV (HDTV) support, too."

However, Dr Kirk said nStant Media was not the equivalent of Media Centre.

"It doesn't do everything that Media Centre does; I don't think it does," he said. "We have to be careful how we position this to Media Centre."

Microsoft was an Nvidia customer for the graphics engine of the Xbox console, Dr Kirk said.

While an online release date is yet to be finalised, nStant Media is already available to OEMs for integration with notebooks, according to NVIDIA.

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