Intel is in the early stages of marketing Viiv to the channel and last night at a Cockle Bay Restaurant in Sydney CEDIA members came face to face with the Intel team for the first time.

Guest of honour was Don MacDonald, vice president and general manager of Intel’s digital home group. McDonald outlined where Intel were going with the Viiv platform he also identified opportunities for CEDIA integrators around the Viiv platform

Steve Miller General Manager of CEDIA Australia said “It was fantastic we learnt a lot and there is a lot of work to be done with members in this space. There are a lot of opportunities but the big question now is whether the CEDIA channel is ready for it. I don’t think so. We have to work quickly to get members up to speed.”

Len Wallis of Len Wallis Audio who was also at the dinner said “It was very good. What was pleasing was the fact that Intel want to deal with us. There are opportunities but we need to understand more what the platform will do. We also need to work with the system builders so that we get the right design and right systems for the home”.

Adam Merlino, General Manager at Audio Connection said “One issue for Viiv is the lack of broadband speeds from the likes of Telstra and Optus. We need good broadband speeds as CEDIA members work with high-definition streaming and this chews up a lot more bandwidth. We also need to resolve issues associated with the payment of subscription fees to content providers. Overall it was a great night,” he concluded. 

CEDIA board member, Chris McGowan, said “It was a great night, an important night. Viiv is the Google for content delivery and the TV. What was great was that Intel was prepared to have an open and frank discussion about the issues associated with IP and their platform. For example, the word PC needs to be taken out of the equation as Viiv is a platform. We don’t refer to the Foxtel box as a PC but it delivers similar features to what the Viiv platform delivers. We also need to work closer with the Viiv system builders”.

“The channel opportunity is huge, especially where it’s important to explain and sell services and integrated platforms,” Intel’s Don MacDonald said. “We have to ask, what can we deliver that PCs couldn’t deliver a year ago?”  The PC operating system that runs Viiv, Microsoft’s Windows Media Center Edition, has received disappointing marketing support from Microsoft, many integrators have said.

Another person at the CEDIA dinner said as soon as Apple adopts the Intel Viiv platform Microsoft will have a lot of problems. They will be history, as the consumer who has purchased an iPod will have faith in Apple delivering a home server system based on the Viiv platform.

System builders in Australia are not happy with Microsoft: “We’ve not been able to get marketing funds from Microsoft. We have a great sales rep that visits us twice a year, but nothing else,” said a senior executive of a leading media centre system builder. “Intel has tipped more money into Media Centre marketing than Microsoft, who we feel is not committed to this market”.

Don MacDonald said Intel will bolster its channel programs throughout the year by offering system builders and integrators free and discounted Viiv systems, marketing support for trade show booths, end-user advertising and promotions, and just about anything to drive sales. Intel hasn’t established a Viiv television campaign yet, but the company is gearing up a print and Web campaign that it expects to reach millions of Australians. “Like Centrino, where we stimulated a whole market, we plan to do the same with the consumer PC,” said MacDonald, who helped develop Intel’s successful Centrino mobile platform. “Our consumer road map is one of the best we’ve ever had.”

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