Intel Corp., aiming to alleviate Hollywood’s concerns about piracy, is building security into a new chip design that would let Warner Bros. and other studios sell high-definition movies online for viewing on computers.
The chipmaker will announce the Intel Insider feature this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, said Tom Kilroy, head of sales at the Santa Clara, California-based company. Warner Bros. will use the technology as part of a plan to make more than 300 titles available in February.
The feature is designed to prevent illegal copying of high- definition films, providing the assurance studios need to make more movies available on the Internet, Kilroy said. For Intel, the technology gives consumers another reason to upgrade their computers, and may help the company maintain its edge over rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
“Online distribution is where all of the growth is,” Kilroy said. “This is a major breakthrough.”
Computer users will be able to watch movies with the highest-available resolution, 1080p, he said. It also will work with services such as Best Buy Co.’s CinemaNow. Intel is talking with other studios to get them on board, Kilroy said.
Intel developed the technology by adapting security features designed for business computers. By building those features into semiconductors, they are harder to thwart than software-only protections, he said.
“This provides a strong level of security” that wasn’t available previously, Darcy Antonellis, president of technical operations at Warner Bros., said in an interview.
Intel also will introduce a higher definition of its so- called WiDi technology, which allows laptop users to beam whatever is on their computer screen to a nearby television, Kilroy said.
The movie feature is part of Intel’s latest processor design, called Sandy Bridge, which will debut at the show. The design features built-in graphics for the first time, stepping up competition with developers of add-in graphics cards. Intel gets more than 90 percent of its revenue from computer chips.
Intel fell 18 cents to $20.85 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares climbed 3.1 percent last year.
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