Yes, this is possible, but only by using the InstantOn PC, launched last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by InterVideo, a Californian company. According to an article to appear on January 17 in the New Scientist, this new PC is running a pared-down version of the Linux operating system, called LinDVD.
In a direct challenge to PCs running Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center, InterVideo of California last week launched the InstantOn PC. Instead of having to wait for Windows to boot, the technology allows all a PC's entertainment functions- TV, DVD, CD, MP3, radio- to be run on a pared-down version of the open-source Linux operating system, called LinDVD.
Rather than sitting on a hard drive, LinDVD is small enough to be held in a read-only memory chip and boots in 10 seconds flat. "For consumer electronics activities, the InstantOn PC is strictly Linux. It simply uses Windows for the slower drudge work like word processing," said InterVideo spokesman Andy Marken.
InterVideo developed the InstantOn technology in collaboration with Intel, IBM and Sony. Its system lets LinDVD and Windows coexist in the same computer, running on a Pentium 4 processor and a minimum of 128 megabytes of RAM.
Of course, this technology competes directly with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center. And in a typical Microsoft attitude, Paul Randle, Windows XP product manager, says that boot time is a non-issue.
"We find that most people never turn their Media Center PCs off," he says. "I don't even turn mine off when I go away for the weekend."
As notes the New Scientist, this Microsoft statement is not very ecologically responsible.
In 2002, a Cornell University study calculated that the US could switch off seven power stations if TVs, videos and computers were not left on standby.
Please note that the InstantOn PC runs LinDVD to start the media components. When you want to surf the Web or check your e-mails, you'll use a remote control to switch off the LinDVD software and to reboot the PC under another operating system, such as a full version of Linux or Windows.
When will the InstantON PC be available? This press release, issued by InterVideo last week, gives us the answer.
InterVideo InstantON is currently available from InterVideo only to OEMs for evaluation and integration and is not sold as stand-alone retail software. The modular nature of the product enables OEMs and middleware developers to create customized solutions and to incorporate only the features that are required for a particular device. To meet individual OEM requirements, InterVideo InstantON is offered on a range of operating systems including Linux, Windows and WinCE. InstantON also supports a variety of different CPUs (x86 and non-x86).
It looks like Sony, Sharp and Pioneer will soon use the technology.
Source: Barry Fox, New Scientist, January 17, 2004, via EurekAlert!