Intel officially launched its Viiv brand today, and gave the public a glimpse at what actually constitutes a ‘Viiv PC’.

According to Intel, Viiv  is a set of key Intel technologies that are designed to bring the performance and connectivity of PCs to the world of consumer electronics. When the new branding was unveiled late last year, the details were still fairly sketchy, but Intel have now released specifications.

Viiv PCs need to contain a either a Pentium D, Pentium Extreme Edition or Core Duo processor and be based on a 945/955/975 Express chipset. These chipsets contain Intel High Definition 7.1 audio, PCI Express graphics card support, and up to Gigabit LAN connection.

Intel are pushing Viiv as a certification standard that not only applies to PCs but also to content providers, presumably in a similar way that George Lucas’s THX specification applies to movies and home theatre.

Intel has set up its own enabling and verification program to identify Viiv-compliant online services. Current Viiv-certified providers include: ESPN, Movielink, and MTV Overdrive for video; Napster, AOL and Tiscali for music; and Gametap, Square Enix and T-Online for gaming.

Apart from hardware, there are several software applications which also form part of the Viiv standard. These include Intel Quick Resume Technology, which allows instant on/off functionality and will even allow the Viiv PC to stream content to media adaptors or other PCs when ‘off’.

Though a lot of the literature mentions Windows Media Center, it doesn’t appear to be a necessary part of Viiv, fueling speculation about Apple and Linux Viiv machines.

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