Feeds

Intel plays down Viiv entertainment PC brand

Now that all PCs are media PCs

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

Intel appears to be de-emphasising its much-scorned Viiv brand, reducing the label from a tag designed to represent all-singing, all-dancing multimedia PCs, to a sub-brand of its Core 2 processor label.

Late last week, it emerged that peripheral maker Buffalo had warned its customers that its kit would no longer off Intel's Viiv Zone, a delivery mechanism for content certified to run on Viiv-branded systems. On Friday, the Wall Street Journal claimed Viiv - which sounds like 'five' - will be relegated to Core 2 stickers for entertainment-centric PCs as 'Core 2 with Viiv Technology'.

The WSJ's report comes as no surprise - back in August we reported on Intel's plan to shake up its branding strategy in 2008, including the introduction of 'Core 2 with Viiv' stickers.

The question is - and it's one Intel has never been able to answer satisfactorily - what is Viiv? The brand was introduced in August 2005 to differentiate media centre PCs from regular desktops. How did they differ? Pretty much only by the inclusion of a TV tuner card and Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system.

Intel wanted consumers looking for a living room PC to tune into Viiv as a way of selecting such a machine - just as it had pushed Centrino as the brand to choose if you want a wireless-enabled PC.

But while Centrino brought together a number of in-demand emerging technologies and features - specifically, Wi-Fi and new mobile processors with superior power and performance characteristics - Viiv systems quickly became to be seen as little more than regular desktops, particularly as vendors started to apply the sticker to any PC, whether it was appropriate for the living room or not, that matched Intel's spec.

As we noted at the time, Viiv was simply too weakly defined and lacked a clear differentiation. Plenty of non-Viiv systems out there had TV tuners and Media Center as their OS.

In a bid to bring something more to Viiv, Intel began to pursue deals with content providers who would offer their content exclusively through the Viiv Zone portal. But it's hard to promote such content as being 'empowered by Viiv technology' when it can be just as equally empowered by any other microprocessor platform capable of running Windows.

As AMD showed, when it launched Live!, a batch of media centre-centric utilities and a sticker to go with them. AMD at least pitched Live! as a way of making content collecting, archiving and playing easier, rather than as the only way to get certain content too.

But, again, it was no more tightly defined that Intel's offering was.

And still isn't. Intel's own Viiv webpage primarily touts the benefits of multi-core computing - which these days every mid-range to high-end PC offers, whether there's a Viiv sticker on the front or not. They all have HD video and HD audio support - another Viiv pre-requisite. Quite a few have TV tuners, and some even have remote controls. The rest is just Intel's media software in preference to someone else's, but none of it really provides the user with anything he or she can't find elsewhere.

So why not simply brand them Core 2 and have done with it? That's indeed what Intel appears to be doing with the 'Core 2 with Viiv' branding. It focuses on the key brand - the one buyers recognise - with Viiv retained to indicate something extra.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?