One of the problems that has faced PC makers over the last 13 years has been the inability to get simple fast access to Hollywood movie content other than by physical media.

The movie studios have long baulked at the idea of allowing PCs to stream even DVD-quality video, let alone anything higher definition. Both chipmakers Intel and AMD have had attempts in the past to make the computer welcome in the loungeroom (anyone remember Intel’s ViiV or AMD’s Live!?) but the release of Intel’s new Intel Insider technology looks to be the first attempt that actually appears to have backing from Hollywood movie studios.

Intel Insider is a hardware-based content protection technology built into second-generation Core i processors that enables users to buy or rent movies from participating websites. So far, that seems to include – no-one – although websites are said to include, the official Warner Bros website and Best Buys’ Cinema Now.

The idea is that users will be able to buy or rent movies and be able to stream them from one PC to another via a wireless network.

However, it appears having a second-gen Core i-series CPU won’ t be enough. According to the Intel website, consumers will need a system with Intel’s built-in visual features enabled but in the fine print, Intel says not all new Core i-series will have this feature enabled. Intel’s solution? Check with your system manufacturer.

Of course, this will mean little to the millions of consumers who already watch pirated videos whether from websites or Torrents. We all know piracy is wrong, that it’s stealing and damages the industry by making it harder to produce profitable movies but this is unlikely to change consumer patterns of behaviour.

Both DVD and Blu-ray disc technology come with copy protection technology – DVDs use CSS (Content Scrambling System) while Blu-ray discs use, among other things, AACS (Advanced Access Content System). Both have been defeated, enabling the vast majority of movies to be copied or “ripped” using freely downloadable software.

Intel Insider will acts as a copy protection mechanism for movies bought or rented via this newly-hyped system but what it won’t seemingly do is prevent movies that have already been ripped and transcoded from being copied or streamed around the home.

In a sense, Intel had to do something to catch up to Apple’s iTunes store and Intel Insider is the chipmaker’s latest effort to try and bring at least PC technology closer to the loungeroom if not in the room itself. The ability to stream movies wirelessly sounds great but given the technology has already existed for at least the last two years, this is more about aiming at the AppleTV/iTunes market: consumers who haven’t heard of ripping movies, who are happy to consider buying or renting online.

Whether or not Insider becomes a serious competitor to iTunes or just ViiV: the Sequel remains to be seen.

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