Tucked away as a bullet point in today's Core 2011 processor family unveiling (announcement, review) from Intel was the new technology called Insider that is now part of the latest Core i3, i5 and i7 mobile and desktop processors. What does it mean for you and me, you ask..
Well, for the first time ever it will be possible to rent or purchase Hollywood movies in 1080p the same day following their DVD and Blu-ray releases and stream them wirelessly from a PC to your HDTV, bypassing HDMI cables and complex network setups.
One part of this technology is the Intel Insider service, a cloud-based video delivery akin to iTunes and scheduled for launch in Q1 2011. The other part is built right inside the new Core 2011 family of processors. Hollywood producers are willing to play ball and support the initiative with their premium content.
Intel bills the second-generation Core 2011 chips as your ticket to "a world of premium HD movies" because they bring hardware-supported copy protection rather than software-based digital rights management like on Apple's iTunes Store, making possible end-to-end content protection in hardware.
In addition, the Core 2011 chips support WiDi version 2.0, the latest digital network interface for wireless high-definition signal transmission for consumer electronics products, that will allow owners of new Core 2011 notebooks and desktops to stream full HD content to supported display devices. Sadly, you'll need a new HDTV receiver to take advantage of 1080p wireless streaming and that two-second lag isn't going away.
But what about content selection? Exact details are scarce at the moment, but we know Intel has arrangements with Dixons Retail, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, Image Entertainment, Sonic Solutions, CinemaNow and Warner Brothers.
Working to Intel's favor is the fact that big studios are said to be wary in their dealings with Netflix, which plans to roll out internationally in 2011.
Therefore, Intel Insider gives content owners a much-needed leverage in negotiations. Even though it remains to be seen if an unusual partnership can threaten Netflix and iTunes, the fact that all those years the studios refused to provide Apple with 1080p content (iTunes Store movie rentals and purchases are in 720p) speaks volumes.
If Intel can get other studios on board and flood the market with a wide selection of quality Hollywood entertainment in 1080p, Intel Insider could be a winner.