The Digital Home
Siu also talked about Intel's digital home efforts which has centered around the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA). DLNA was established in June 2003 and it has grown to more than 170 member companies, all of whom are committed to develop products, software and such for the digital home. We can expect to see digital home products shipping at the end of this year.
In order to drive industry specification efforts in interoperability, Intel also made available today a new version of its device guidelines. Known as the Intel NMPR (Networked Media Product Requirements), the new version 2 specifications addresses remote UI (user interface), DTCP/IP and ease of use.
Going yet another step forward, Intel also announced its Software and Service Product Recommendations (SSPR) guidelines to accelerate the content availability of digital home devices. Currently, Intel is working with companies like Activision, Digital 5, Electronic Arts, Movielink, Napster and Real Networks to bring new gaming, movie and music experiences to consumers. In a demonstration, Intel showed how a game (Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater) can be ported into an entertainment PC (EPC) running Windows Media Center Edition while maintaining a 10-foot user interface and eliminating the need for a keyboard. A wireless game controller can be connected to the EPC to play the game. This example is certainly going to open up yet another market for gamers but whether gamers would turn the EPC into a console, that only time will tell. This is definitely an attractive concept and with game publishers working with Intel, this might just catch on. We don't think pure consoles like Xbox or Playstation 2 would be directly affected by this, but probably PC based consoles like Apex Digital Inc's ApeXtreme might face fierce competition.
Siu also talked about new EPCs from leading OEMs like Fujitsu and Hewlett Packard. Intel expects these EPCs to ship during the 2004 holiday season (Christmas). The EPCs are built around Intel's Pentium 4 (Prescott) processors with Hyper-Threading technology on Intel's Gratsdale platform which includes graphics (playing high-definition video at up to 1080p) and high-definition audio capabilities.
Siu also announced the collaboration with Dolby Laboratories to provide developers with tools to enable high-end audio for Intel-based PC platforms based on the Intel 915 and 925X Express chipsets. As such, the Dolby logo will now be part of Intel-based platforms. With the Dolby logo, users will immediately recognize products that meet a specific quality for their entertainment needs. There are three logos offered :-
Dolby Master Studio An advanced set of audio presentation capabilities with up to 7.1 channels of surround sound, including the power to author DVDs with surround sound.
Dolby Home Theater True home theater surround sound from your content with the flexibility to tailor your listening experience to fit your media, mood, audience and environment.
Dolby Sound Room All the excitement and natural ambience of a perfectly configured 5.1 speaker home theater system from any source, using just two speakers or headphones.
Besides that, Intel also disclosed that they would introduce Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology for desktop PCs, a technology that was brought over from the mobile processors. This will allow the CPU to adjust core voltage and frequency according to computing demand. Obviously, this will help lower the average power drawn by the processor and will help keep the processor running cooler. This new feature will enable PCs with smaller form factors and lower acoustic levels.
A prototype Shuttle XPC based on the pico-BTX form factor was displayed in the Digital Home exhibit in the Technology Showcase. Intel demonstrated how a small form factor PC could be used around the home, like hiding it inside a kitchen cabinet.
LLUON, a Korean based PC brand, also displayed one of their latest designs for the digital home concept.