Kris Abel’s Tech Life | Intel Takes Over Toronto Frat House For Viiv Tricks

Kris Abel’s Tech Life | Intel Takes Over Toronto Frat House For Viiv TricksIt must be a really slow news day today, every major channel in the Toronto market sent over a camera crew to the Sigma Chi Fraternity House on the University of Toronto campus. Intel has rented the place and filled it with gadgets for a little media product tour, just in time for back-to-school, and obviously held it on the right day as there were so many camera crews that some channels had actually sent two by accident and some crews had to leave to go find another story elsewhere.

I didn’t bring a camera crew, for me it wasn’t that kind of an event or story, I was happy to see what they had and listen to their speeches on Viiv, and if I saw something for me to review for my own Back-to-School segment coming up in two weeks, then great.
For many of the reporters it was an easy back-to-school segment, Intel had already picked out the gadgets for them, placed them in a house, and so the reporter just had to stand in front of it all and make speeches about how expensive it can be for parents to send their kids to schools, how (insert Intel-recommended gadget here) can be a good idea, blah, blah, blah, and they’re in and out in an hour and didn’t have to do any research. It’s a great commercial for Intel and an easy day for the news reporter with nothing to do.
It says something when I was the only one that chuckled when Intel showcased a Dell laptop. I thought at least one of the other reporters would make a crack about burnin’ down the frat house, but none of them follow the tech market apparently.
All this was happening while the Sigma Chi fraternity brothers were sleeping upstairs, dreaming of the night before while camera crews filmed below them.

For Intel is was a chance to share their feedback from all of their partners (they don’t actually make gadgets themselves, they make the chipsets that go into gadgets, so they show off the products made by their partners and summarize all the information they get from doing business with them all).
Intel Canada said a few things that won’t surprise you. Laptop sales are on the rise, almost 60% from one year to the next and between the July-September season, they out-sell desktop systems, normally the top seller the rest of the year.
Intel is pushing their new Viiv technology, a combination of chips and software that will help a computer divide its processing power a little more efficiently towards entertainment applications. It can be more than that, in ways that even confuse me sometimes, so I was very happy to have them actually show me two demonstrations.

The first demo involved setting up a wireless home network. A headache for anyone let alone the casual consumer, a process that can involve a bitter battle between the router, windows, and DSL software depending on who your provider is, inducing a vertigo of strange terms like ad-hoc and wep and port-forwarding that will drive most non-tech people mad.
At the Frat house they connected a Viiv-enabled PC to a Linksys router to a Rogers cable modem. The Viiv chipset auto-detected the connection, activated all of the necessary wizards, filled them out with randomly-generated information, including wep-encrypted password strings, and established the connection without anyone having to touch the keyboard.
Its final act was to ask for a 4-digit pin number which it would use the next time you brought in a new laptop or wireless component into the house. In that case it would auto-detect and then ask for the 4-digit pin and then set the new item up automatically.
I didn’t get to run any tests, but the idea is neat.

The second trick involved streaming video from one computer to a wireless hub to a television, where aparrently the Viiv chipset will also detect any difference in aspect ratios and automatcially transcode the video streaming from the PC to fit the aspect ratio of the destination television so that you don’t have to fiddle with the settings.
In this case, they couldn’t actually perform the demo, they had forgotten to load their PC with standard video clips, all they had was High Definition and it wouldn’t stream properly.
But both are interesting examples of what, exaclty, a Viiv PC is supposed to do that a non-Viiv PC can’t.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the Sigma Chi boys will not be allowed to keep all the gear that’s been installed in their house. That was one conversation we reporters were allowed to hear.