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Viiv goes live

Intel officially announced the arrival of its new Viiv platform with a lavish party in central London, and Crave was on hand to hear all about it

Intel marked the UK launch of its 'Viiv' platform, whose final specs were unveiled at CES, with a lavish party at London's Floridita bar last night. Crave was on hand to hear all about it, check out some Viiv devices, and more importantly, test the free food and drink.

Intel shied away from explaining the technical side of Viiv, which is essentially any PC that uses an Intel Core Duo processor, provides at least 5.1-channel surround sound, and has the Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system.

Instead, the company concentrated on what the product could offer consumers. Donald McDonald (no, really), vice president and general manager of Intel's digital home group, said Viiv PCs could potentially let you watch big-name movies on the day of release, or niche broadcasts such as Bollywood movies, on demand.

The event was hosted by Jonathan Ross and was attended by a number of celebrities, including England striker Michael Owen, Sky Sports commentator Andy Gray and Peter Hook of New Order.

Crave feared that Intel's guests would be completely out of their depth, but they'd done their homework. To our surprise Jonathan Ross was particularly keen on Viiv -- he's actually a card-carrying Mac fiend -- but perhaps his hefty pay cheque and the odd free PC have softened his Apple bias.

We're currently testing some Viiv review machines, and you'll be able to read about them in our Desktops channel in the next few days. -RR