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More to Digital Media Servers Than Branding

CNET reports that early adopters of PCs based on Intel's ViiV technology are having as much trouble understanding what's so different about their new computers as they are pronouncing the word "ViiV."

If a PC carries the ViiV brand, as Intel's marketing has put it, that PC was expected to be a sleek package at the center of the consumer digital media universe, downloading and sending movies to televisions around the home. The company formally unveiled its ViiV strategy at an Intel Developer Forum in 2005 and put some glitz on the pitch with a star-studded unveiling in January.

Unfortunately, the first PCs to arrive with Intel's ViiV brand over the last few weeks have been incremental improvements to existing Windows Media Center PCs. Intel's main promise for ViiV-branded products is that they will allow home entertainment buffs to stream downloaded video files from a PC's hard drive to a television in another room of the house, or move those files to a handheld personal media player.

However, these capabilities won't be introduced until later this year, when Intel releases a software update that current ViiV PC owners can install to enable the new features, said Kari Skoog, an Intel spokeswoman. "What we're delivering is more than just hardware," Skoog said. "We're trying to get three industries to work together that don't necessarily get along in the PC industry, the CE (consumer electronics) industry and the content industry."

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