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Monday, January 09, 2006

Intel Launched ViiV in China

Just came back from a busy and crazy week at Las Vegas. The show keeps getting bigger. According to the CEA, more than 150,000 people attended this year’s event. Among the many hot new products and concepts being showcased on the floor, portable video/audio, big HDTVs in 1080p resolution, Internet video delivery, content sharing and remote access, and whole-home entertainment seem to be attracting many eyeballs. Big PC/IT companies such as Intel and AMD are again pushing into the digital living room with their new initiatives. Big telcos such as SBC and Verizon also have a strong presence with their U-Verse, HomeZone, and Fios services.
Prior to the show, Business Week featured an excellent article talking about Intel’s new platform strategy, new logo and tagline, and marketing campaign for the ViiV platform. Intel is finally committing serious financial and human resources to its digital home initiatives, in a campaign bigger than that of Centrino/hot spot in the 2002-2003 timeframe. During CES, a big part of Paul Otellini’s keynote is about the ViiV platform. He shared the stage with Chase Carey, the CEO of DirecTV, Michael Dell, and Morgan Freeman. ViiV is not just about chips; it’s also about interoperability and content.  
In China, Intel also has big plans. It is opening 15 stores for consumers to experience ViiV PCs and devices. These stores will be first launched in large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, with more to come in the near future. More than 20 companies with operations in China will soon begin selling ViiV PCs in the market.
In order to localize its offerings, Intel is planning on using the interoperability guidelines developed in China-“Shanlian”, or IGRS (Intelligent Grouping and Resource Sharing). The IGRS WG was established by Lenovo, TCL, Konka, Hisense and Great Wall and approved by MII Science and Technology Department in July 2003. According to IGRS’ website, the scope of the standard is to allow information devices at enterprises, public, individual and home locations to conform to a set of common resource descriptions and functional service interface standards when interconnecting with each other, enabling them to effectively implement resource sharing and service collaboration, improving the interoperability among devices and enhancing the combined service among different devices. Many of IGRS’ objectives overlap with those of DLNA and some people suspect that it will trigger another episode of China attempting to create a local technology standard to compete with international standards, similar to that of WAPI vs. Wi-Fi. It seems the relationship between IGRS and DLNA is quite complicated. Many of IGRS members, including Lenovo and TCL, are also members of the DLNA. In fact, Lenovo wants to promote cooperation between the two organizations. Lenovo believes that the two are complementary than competitive. This article on China Daily provides more information about IGRS.
Intel is also launching with several important IP content providers such as Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and TianTian Online. The partnership with SMG is especially important. SMG is the second–largest media distributor in China and the first in the country to receive an IPTV and mobile TV operation license. It owns 13 analog television channels, 11 analog radio channels, two newspapers and two magazines, and also produces, licenses and distributes domestic, Korean and Japanese content. SMG also has more than 53 million broadband customers.


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