January 5, 2006 8:55 PM PST

Intel links up with the movie studios

LAS VEGAS--Intel CEO Paul Otellini said it would be easier to get TV and movies on your PC this year, and he brought a number of Hollywood executives to the Consumer Electronics Show to prove it.

During his keynote at CES in Las Vegas, Otellini trotted out Morgan Freeman, Danny DeVito, Tom Hanks, AOL CEO Jonathan Miller and a slew of others to outline movie download services that will come to PCs during 2006.

Most of the deals are centered around Intel's Viiv PC platform geared for entertainment. NBC Universal, for instance, said it would deliver highlights of the upcoming Winter Olympics to Viiv PCs in high resolution. More than 110 computer manufacturers already have pledged to manufacture Viiv PCs, Intel said. Some of those PC prices will start at under $900.

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Video: Intel's new direction: Hollywood
CEO Paul Otellini chats with Hollywood stars at CES in Las Vegas. The subject: Intel's shift from chips to entertainment.

DirectTV CEO Chase Carey said his company would work with Intel to create a Viiv PC with an integrated satellite tuner. DirectTV will also introduce a set-top box enabling users to pull photos from a PC hard drive and display them on a big-screen TV.

Companies pledging to offer downloads included ESPN, AOL, Eros (which distributes Bollywood movies), Shanghai Media Group and Groupo Televisa, the largest Spanish-speaking media company in the world.

Morgan Freeman said that ClickStar, a joint venture between Intel and Freeman's production company, would in 2006 release a movie titled "10 Items or Less" to the Internet two weeks after its theatrical release. (Two years ago, during another Otellini CES keynote, Freeman said his company would release a movie to the Net and theaters in 2005 in this manner.)

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Most of these services will be available on ordinary PCs, too, but many companies will tweak their offerings so more can be done on a Viiv PC. Some video downloads, for instance, will be viewable only on the screen of a standard PC. With a Viiv, video can be transferred to a big-screen TV.

Otellini also formally unveiled the Core Duo family of notebook chips (formerly code-named Yonah). The dual-core chips, which cost the same as existing Pentium M notebook chips, will consume, on average, less power than standard notebook chips and provide a higher level of performance, according to executives from Gateway and Lenovo.

The first Core Duo notebooks came out today. Michael Dell, chairman of Dell, showed off an upcoming Dell XPS notebook that comes with handles (sort of like a briefcase), eight speakers, a subwoofer and a 20-inch screen.

"Core Duo is the first new premium brand since the Pentium," which came out in 1993, Otellini said. The chip is three times as small as the original Pentium, however, and provides 100 times the performance, he added.

The company will release more than 20 processors, chipsets and other products this month. A million Centrino notebooks with Duo chips will ship in three months, Otellini noted. It took Intel a year to sell a million Pentiums.

Core multiplication will continue. "It is two and then four and then eight microprocessors on a chip," Otellini said.

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country's consumers
The good news is that a swelling consumer class is poised to spend plenty of hard-earned yuan on electronics and cars in the upcoming holiday season and on into the new year. The bad news is that the country's consumers can be a tight-fisted, fickle lot.

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