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PC makers cold on Live! launch

PC makers cold on Live! launch

AMD has staked its claim for a share of digital entertainment dollars with the launch of AMD Live! The chipmaker hopes the platform will help put some margin back in the PC industry but its release has been largely overlooked by multinational and local OEM partners.

Designed to compete with Intel's Viiv platform, which was launched in March, AMD Live! enables consumers to organise and distribute digital entertainment including TV, DVD, music, photos and games.

Content can be streamed from any media centre desktop or notebook powered by the chipmaker's Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor to a range of devices including other PCs, PDAs and mobile phones.

"The value of PCs has fallen dramatically. Average selling price in the channel is going down by 6-7 per cent a year, and will continue to do so, but we are trying to add value and get those margins back," AMD technical manager, Michael Apthorpe, said.

"AMD Live! will make the computer a better offering than it has been through software."

Users will also have access to an Entertainment Suite that includes a streaming service powered by Orb Networks; a compression tool that increases storage capacity; set up, management, security and remote control services; and an online Media Vault for backup. Registered users get 25GB of free storage. Some of the services are available for free download at www.amdlive.com.

But despite being listed as global PC partners, Acer and HP declined to throw any weight behind the Live! launch. A statement from HP refused to provide specific details of its roadmap but said Live! products would be launched in or around September.

Acer marketing director, Raymond Vardanega, said it had no plans yet to support AMD Live!

"It's too early to say. Acer is a major supporter of [Intel] Viiv," he said. "That is our big investment - we believe it is a solid platform."

The mood was no brighter in the local builder ranks. Altech national sales manager, Kevin Hartin, said it would be building AMD Live! models of its Maestro media centres but was still finalising a product plan. He would not commit to a timeframe until he had a better idea of component and software availability.

Pioneer is another local AMD partner but managing director, Jeff Li, said the builder was concentrating on Viiv for now. He didn't rule out the possibility of adding Live! models to its media centre lines in future.

Managing director of digital entertainment system manufacturer, Claritas, Andy Welch, said Live! was off its radar for the foreseeable future. It had bought AMD processors through distribution in the past but didn't currently have any AMD-based systems in its line-up.

"We haven't had a really close look at it yet but Viiv seems to be more of a rounded concept," he said. "We will look at Live! if it appears to add value for customers."

Rob Irwin contributed to this story.


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