Intel's Viiv head honcho, Don MacDonald, took a jab at Steve Jobs in his keynote speech this afternoon, saying that Intel had come up with a remote control that required no buttons on it at all.
Jobs has been widely quoted as suggesting that Apple's media software, Front Row, is a far better solution than Media Center since its remote control has only 6 buttons, as opposed to 40+ on a Media Center remote.
(Of course, no one has pointed out to Jobs that Front Row only does about 1/4 of the things that MCE does.)
Don said that his group had been working on voice recognition for MCE, and went on to give something of a demonstration, which didn't entirely work. Shouting "When is Family Guy
on TV" into his remote control eventually convinced the MCE system to search through the programme guide for the cartoon show. Don then instructed the system to record the programme, and it duly did so. A fairly impressive use of voice recognition, although clearly not very reliable at this stage of development.
He went on to demonstrate some features that will make it into future generations of Viiv machines. One was easy setup of wireless networks, making it easy for users to configure WEP networks with merely a remote control. The other was the use of Near-Field devices, which can transfer data based on proximity. He showed how a PDA could be used to download a film trailer from a poster by holding the PDA next to the poster, then how the PDA could transfer the trailer onto the big screen merely by holding it next to the Viiv PC.
Discuss day one of IDF here!