You have been sent this message from JohnWillkie@xxxxxxxxxxxxx as a courtes= y of washingtonpost.com=20 =20 Vying for Remote Control =20 By Steven Levingston =20 =20 The race is on to merge the two most powerful entertainment boxes in th= e home. =20 The marriage of the television and the computer moved a step closer yester= day when the giant chipmaker Intel Corp. unveiled its vision for using a ne= w technology that blends the two devices. Intel said it is working with mor= e than 40 companies around the world in the movie, music, television, gamin= g and photo-editing fields to deliver content to computers using the techno= logy called Viiv (rhymes with five). =20 Due out early next year, Viiv-equipped computers are designed to control t= he overall entertainment experience. They turn a television into a computer= screen with the capability of performing any computer task, including sear= ching the Internet. Operated by remote control, the system will be able to = show a movie on the television while downloading music for later listening.= The computer will turn on instantly like a television and with an add-on f= eature will record, pause and rewind live television programs. An entertain= ment center operated by a Viiv-platform computer will be able to connect to= other devices, such as DVD players and portable media players. =20 Yesterday's announcement intensifies the competition among cable companies= , game makers, computer manufacturers, software firms, retailers, entertain= ment giants and Internet search engines that are all scrambling to find a w= ay to dominate -- or at least carve out a niche in -- the digital home-ente= rtainment hub. Companies have hurried to form alliances to strengthen their= positions. =20 "It's an epic battle," said Ted Schadler, consumer-technology analyst at F= orrester Research Inc. "There are a lot of companies from a lot of industri= es who are trying to figure out where the power is and where the choke poin= ts are." =20 Some companies are banking on the set-top box monopolizing the family ente= rtainment hub. The digital-recording company TiVo Inc., recognizing the rol= e of the Internet in the future of television viewing, recently teamed with= Yahoo Inc. to allow customers to program their devices through the Yahoo W= eb site. The deal opens up wider applications for Yahoo, which plans to del= iver some content to televisions through TiVo by the end of the year. =20 Cisco Systems Inc., the huge Internet networking company, recently agreed = to buy Scientific-Atlanta Inc., a maker of set-top boxes, making a clear pl= ay to deliver programming to televisions through the Internet. =20 Google Inc. also has ambitions to apply its formidable searching capabilit= y to the family entertainment center. CBS said recently that it was in talk= s with Google about video on demand and video searching. =20 Other companies think the computer will run this show. Since 2002, PCs run= ning Microsoft's Media Center Edition of Windows XP have incorporated TV tu= ners and TV-recording software, as well as a "10-foot interface" designed t= o allow users to play music, view photos and watch video from a couch acros= s the room instead of a chair in front of the screen. Microsoft says it has= sold more than 4 million copies of Media Center Edition. =20 Apple Computer Inc. has taken a step toward turning its latest iMac into a= television-like screening site but stopped short of providing the capabili= ty to send content to a real television screen. The new version contains an= application called Front Row, which, operated by remote, clears the screen= to view video and other content. The computer provides a large, open surfa= ce and easy remote navigation for viewing from a distance, but the content = is still locked in the iMac. =20 Consumers have demonstrated a growing appetite for on-demand programming, = and the digital trend promises to give them more control over what they wat= ch and when they watch it. But as on-demand options expand via the Internet= , viewers could become intimidated by the complexity of finding and downloa= ding shows as well as connecting other devices to the system. =20 "It will take some time for people to make the transition unless you can m= ake it very easy -- and if Intel can do that, then that's a big thing," sai= d Albert Cheng, executive vice president of digital media for the Disney-AB= C Television Group. He added that, should consumers demonstrate a strong ap= petite for downloading Internet programming, Disney-ABC will be prepared to= provide it. "If consumers find their way to the Internet, you can rest ass= ured we are definitely working to ensure our content gets to consumers in a= ll different ways." =20 Intel insists the Viiv-platform computers will be easy to use. Spokeswoman= Kari Skoog said the company has sought to impress upon all of its content = providers that simplicity is key in the product's development. She said the= computers' set-up won't be much different from what is currently required = and that next year, software will be available to smooth the process of add= ing new devices to the network. =20 Phil Leigh, a senior analyst at market-research firm Inside Digital Media,= said he thinks he will one day be able to search online for a movie and cl= ick to play it on his television. The next generation, he said, will not re= member that networks or cable operators once controlled consumers' viewing = habits. =20 "Your children are going to look at you and say: 'Dad, you mean you had to= watch what was on TV? You couldn't just go to Google and search what you w= anted?' " he said. "This is exactly where we need to head." =20 =20 Would you like to send this article to a friend? Go to=20 http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/emailafriend?contentId=3DAR2005113= 002118&sent=3Dno&referrer=3Demailarticle =20 =20 Visit washingtonpost.com today for the latest in: News - http://www.washingtonpost.com/?referrer=3Demailarticle Politics - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/politics/?referrer= =3Demailarticle Sports - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/sports/?referrer=3Dem= ailarticle Entertainment - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artsandliving/= entertainmentguide/?referrer=3Demailarticle Travel - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artsandliving/travel/= ?referrer=3Demailarticle Technology - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/technology/?refer= rer=3Demailarticle Want the latest news in your inbox? 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