Tuesday, February 24, 2004

At its Developer Forum event in San Francisco yesterday, Intel outlined a new home entertainment PC platform, codenamed Kessler.

Kessler, based on the Pentium 4 processor and the new Grantsdale chip and running Windows XP Media Centre Edition, is an example of an Entertainment PC, a slim form factor, high-performance PC connected to a television screen.

These PCs are intended to replace video recorders, DVD players and hi-fis with a single unit that can store, record and play every kind of digital media.

A prototype reference design for the platform, codenamed Sandow, should be available in 2005.

Intel chief executive Craig Barrett described it as a PC masquerading as a piece of consumer electronics. "The digital home is where there's as much excitement as anything today," he said.

"Moving content between three screens of the home is key to this concept. That's the big screen on the TV, the medium-sized computer screen and the small screen on the handheld device."

A wireless connection will allow content stored on the PC to be transferred around the home without the need for bulky cables.

In addition Intel is promoting a set of standards, known as Networked Media Product Requirements, which manufacturers can use to ensure all home devices can communicate with each other.

As for sound quality, Intel has joined with Dolby to promote a PC Logo programme whereby devices that have computer-enhanced sound will be badged, similar to the Intel Inside logo, for easy identification.

A deal was also announced between Intel, AOL and Movielink to provide a movies-on-demand download service.

Louis Burns, vice president for the desktop platforms group at Intel, looked forward to when first-run films could be premiered simultaneously at home and in the cinema, and warned media companies that they should adapt or die.

"Companies that take opportunities and go first will come out winners and the rest will go the way of the dinosaurs," he said.

"When people wanted to buy a few songs instead of the whole album the music industry didn't provide. The outlet didn't exist so people found others."


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