IDF - Intel and AMD stumble toward your living room

Intel and AMD promise home media convergence devices for 2006

Leaders at Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) are racing to deliver platforms by mid-2006 that allow consumers to share digital media between disparate devices throughout the house.

Both see a large untapped market in converging the electronic devices that clutter our living rooms. Both companies also stumbled as they presented initiatives this week for hardware/software packages that will help to merge data from television, Internet, digital music and photos.

During his keynote address at the Spring Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Don MacDonald, vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Home Group, declared, "We will create the new normal for what consumers will accept for ease of use."

But when he tried to demonstrate a voice-operated remote control, it couldn't understand his request. As the audience started to giggle, he had to repeat the phrase four times, asking: "When is 'The Family Guy' TV show on?"

The system finally complied, allowing him to instruct a PC to record that show when it aired.

Likewise, AMD staffers displayed a similar system during competing briefings they held in a San Francisco hotel suite this week. But when a marketing manager tried to use a generic TV remote to navigate MTV's Web site on a television set, there was no effect. She suggested the remote may have run out of batteries.

Intel's system relies on PCs loaded with its previously announced Viiv technology (pronounced "vive"), expected to launch in the first quarter of 2006. PCs running the system will be able to manage Internet-delivered digital entertainment and let families share their own photos, movies, and music.

The Viiv design is meant to scale from the "two-foot" range of a user typing on his laptop up to the "10-foot" model where users control their systems while sitting on a couch. Intel says it has deals with 40 content companies to verify their services to run on the system. Future partners will also include providers of portable media players, digital media adapters, digital TVs, DVD players and routers.

Another link in the chain that enables Intel's "digital home" concept is finding a common means of sharing data between disparate devices, MacDonald said. Sophisticated users may install an Ethernet network in their homes, but most consumers will use a technology like HomePlug, a technique of transmitting data over existing power lines and wall outlets.

In contrast, AMD designers plan to unite those scattered pools of content using middleware running on existing consumer electronic devices, such as a game console, DVD player or cable TV set-top box.

"There's been a question on whether this fight will be won by the consumer electronics industry or the PC industry? We think both are very good at what they do, and will continue to exist," said Suzy Pruitt, an AMD spokeswoman.

The company's "AMD Live!" offering is scheduled to reach the market in mid-2006. Its goal is to allow consumers to share their digital media throughout the house, between devices, without disrupting the TV viewing experience, she said.

In this approach, AMD plans to partner with makers of consumer electronics devices. A desktop computer running AMD Live! will need dual-core processors, allowing one person to work at a laptop PC at the same time that her husband uses a television in an adjoining room to view photos stored on the same machine, for example.

AMD has commissioned reference designs from STMicroelectronics, of Geneva, Switzerland. The design will use ST's STB710x single chip solutions for set-top boxes to deliver a high-definition cable, satellite, terrestrial or IP set-top box. When connected to a desktop or notebook PC via a home network, the TV experience can be transformed from traditional and "linear" to a new, interactive experience.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ben Ames

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?