Las Vegas (NV) - Taking the gloves off one day earlier than anticipated, AMD stepped into the digital home media platform ring this morning, with the revival of its AMD LIVE! brand aimed directly at Intel's Viiv.
With apparently more technology these days coming to life than ever before (see: "Windows Live"), the AMD LIVE! platform - which the company now characterizes as its "digital media vision" - will be based on a branding campaign centering around notebook and desktop PCs containing dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 processors, and which are pre-equipped with Windows Media Center Edition. In keeping with a precedent set by Intel, AMD is not announcing many specifics about the milestones OEMs and vendors must reach in order to qualify for LIVE! brand support.
In a statement released this morning, AMD said its new platform "will help transform consumer entertainment from '2 foot' PC interactive experiences into true '10 foot' extended PC entertainment experiences." This might be interpreted as a latent reference to systems with larger screens and PC-compliant remote controls. The statement also mentioned streaming multimedia capabilities, previewing digital photographs, burning recorded TV shows and other content to DVD or CD (a comment from the NAB could be forthcoming), and transfer of content - including MP3s - to portable media players and PDAs.
This last item could raise some eyebrows outside of the NAB, as it seems to imply the platform may enable transfer of downloaded music from services to the consumer's choice of devices. Such a capability, if it were indeed ubiquitous, would bypass digital rights management functions built into subscription download services such as iTunes and the new Napster.
Along with the platform, AMD this morning launched a new, media-driven AMD LIVE! Web site. While not exactly a music download service in its own right, the Web site does highlight music and videos made available through Microsoft.
In one of the most telling third-party statements in today's AMD press release, Ray Bontempi, VP for home mobility solutions at Motorola, wrote, "As a leading manufacturer of digital video set-tops, Motorola believes a rich, seamless consumer experience in and around the home can only happen when different devices are connected and interoperable...We applaud and support AMD's strategy for making it easier for content producers, manufacturers, and consumers to create connections between their devices." The problem of digital video interoperability is a hot-button issue at this week's Consumer Electronics Show, where the industry is looking to Motorola to see what interop technologies it is likely to embrace. While observers expect Intel to be working toward the development of a "smart" set-top box powered by Intel chips and technologies, an AMD/Motorola partnership suggests that the AMD alternative will be to simply embrace whatever interface connects its Athlon 64 X2 PCs with whatever Motorola comes up with next.
Expect more news on AMD LIVE! and the company's other announcements throughout the day, as our continuing coverage of CES 2006 presses on.