Intel's Plan to Stream High-Def Movies to PCs -- and Stymie Pirates

IntelIntel is adding antipiracy smarts to its computer chips. It plans to introduce at the Consumer Electronics Show this week new chips designed to securely process high-definition (1080p) movies and shows on PCs. It's a move aimed at tapping into the growing market of higher-resolution HDTVs by addressing Hollywood's content-piracy concerns.

Intel (INTC), according to a Wall Street Journal report, plans to roll out updated Core semiconductors that carries a feature that aims to prohibit copyright thieves from purchasing a single version of a high-def 1080p (the same resolution used on Blu-ray disks) movie or show and then pirating the studio's work for resale. While some folks back in 2007 thought pirates wouldn't go through that effort, due to the huge file size of a ripped movie, technology has changed so that streaming videos are now pervasive -- and the studios remained concerned.

They're so concerned that high-def content is available only from certain studios and only on select devices. On-demand 1080p movie service VUDU, for example, can dish up high-def content onto the Sony PlayStation 3, Blu-ray players and VUDU-enabled TVs from LG Electronics, Samsung and a handful of others. But its relationship with Boxee software does not allow folks to watch videos in high-definition -- only standard definition -- on computers.

Harder to Hack Than Software


But Intel's no-piracy technology is providing studios like Warner Bros. (TWX) with the comfort level needed to release hundreds of high-def movies online for the Intel chip-equipped computers. According to a Bloomberg report, Warner plans to release over 300 titles next month because of the Intel technology.

Intel may or may not be learning a thing or two from its soon-to-be wholly owned subsidiary, software security giant McAfee (MFE). Intel developed this 1080p security feature by tweaking security measures it already had for business computers and placing them into its semiconductors, according to Bloomberg. The thought behind that decision was to make it more difficult to hack than a software-only solution.

Intel plans to team up with Best Buy's (BBY) CinemaNow movie-rental service and others, according to Bloomberg. And the Journal notes that it anticipates high-def 1080p movies and shows to be available in the first quarter.

Folks will have the ability to wirelessly transmit content from their computers to their HDTV. Although Intel has previously made use of the technology, the Journal says, it limited to lower-quality 720p images.



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