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Intel Viiv Technology - What the heck is it?

By: James Bannan | Editorials in HT & Movies | Posted: Aug 16, 2006 4:00 am

Viiv under the Hood - Hardware


For a system to be considered fully compatible with Viiv, it has to be based on one of the following motherboard chipsets: Mobile 945GM Express, 945GT Express, 945P Express, 945G Express, 955X Express, 975X Express, or the new P965 Express. It also has to be powered by a Pentium D, Core Duo, Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Extreme or Pentium Extreme Edition processor, and have a PRO/100 VM, Pro/100 VE or PRO/1000 PM LAN adaptor.



It also has to support Intel's Quick Resume technology. This is a software-driven feature which puts the system into a low-power state, killing video and audio, but continuing to supply power to the CPU and fans. Tasks which do not require user intervention, like media streaming and scheduled content recording can still take place in this low-power state.


So, a Viiv-compliant system will have a fair chunk of hardware under the hood. The hardware base has been selected to facilitate certain media-centric tasks, like simultaneous playback/record, content streaming, HD playback and on-the-fly encoding. Intel 7.1 HD audio will also be a standard (this isn't a requirement, just something you get with the chipsets) as well as the usual suite of USB2.0 and Firewire ports and Intel Matrix RAID.


Video support is still very much down to the capabilities of the graphics card. Some Viiv systems may come with Intel integrated graphics, but the vast majority will be sporting ATI- or NVIDIA-based cards to get the full benefit of home theatre-standard video and high definition playback, as well as multiple output support (VGA, DVI, S-Video and now we are starting to HDMI, too).


On some Viiv systems, the graphics output is passed to a front-mounted LCD touch panel, bringing a new method of system control and navigation to home theatre machines - very cool.



DVD playback isn't tied to one particular technology, so Viiv systems will support Blu-Ray and HD-DVD in future without any system changes required.


There will also be a requirement for a DRM chip - Digital Rights Management. But that needs a section all to itself.

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