Monday, March 13, 2006

Intel's VIIV nonsense: Victory of what? Dumb marketing drones?

I understand what Intel is up to... they want to put their kit inside set-top boxes, and make intel kit the centerpiece of the new buzzword: the connected home, the "entertainment center", whatever. In other words, they expect people who are sitting on their favourite couch looking at the TV to shell out a few thousand greenbacks more and enjoy Intel's vision of the "connected home", listening to music, watching video, and the like, all from their INTEL-POWERED computer running WINDOWS MEDIA SERVER, to the TV.

There is a problem with this scenario: instead of listening to what the consumer really wants, which is a digital experience free of DRM-infection, they have partnered with the Beast of Redmondia. But it doesn't stop there... they have come up with this meaningless "VIIV" marketing nonsense that leaves people -ok, at least myself- scratching their heads. And if this wasn't enough, the adverts for "VIIV" have started popping up on the web. I've spotted the first today, while visiting AOL's Nullsoft division to download the latest Winamp 5.2x mp3 player.

Want to know what the ad shows? It looks like this:

Intel's advertising campaign for "VIIV"

in other words, an Asian man (or woman, depending on the randomness of your visit) doing the famous "V" sign with his index and middle fingers, with both of his/her hands at once. Which makes me wonder... is "VIIV" victory of... what?. So far, I conclude it's "Victory of the idiotic marketing drones". ;-)

(Just for the record, the flash file shown on the page is hosted at this url).

I don't want to spoil Intel's "VIIV" maketing push, but I'll let my blog visitors know that I've been streaming video files, surfing the web, and listening to music, all from my favourite couch and into my TV, not only from my AMD computer, but my AMD64 computer which is running LINUX as well. All DRM-free, with no stupid and dirty tricks to promote the iNTEL brand over another.

How? with the $125 Prismiq Media Player released in... 2003.

There's a nice community of techies and Prismiq users providing peer-help and developing code for it, over here. Too bad the company responsible for it didn't give it the needed resources to fully develop and enhance the product, so it has been relegated to techies.

Look at Prismiq screen on your TV. Windows and DRM-free...

Another look at the Prismiq screen

It's based on the open source FFMPEG open source transcoder, and a NEC risc cpu with built-in MPEG decoder. Full details on the hardware are over here. Oh, did I mention the PC-side server software is cross-platform java so it can be run on Mac OS-X and Linux as well?. An old FAQ can be found here. If you're a techie with a desire to explore -and beat intel's closed solution- I suggest you grab one while you can. Or experience Wintel's "VIIV"ctory ... over your wallet.

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