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Intel aims to deliver more targeted packages of TV and internet content at different price points through its upcoming TV set-top box
BY AGAM SHAH | NEW YORK | FRIDAY, 22 MARCH, 2013
Intel aims to deliver more targeted packages of TV and internet content at different price points through its upcoming TV set-top box, which will better address user needs than bundles offered by cable TV and satellite companies.
Later this year, Intel will release a set-top box that will deliver live TV and on-demand content through a customized Web user interface. The set-top box could replace cable TV boxes, Apple TV or Roku boxes, and will also deliver TV and internet content to tablets and smartphones.
The TV box, which is yet unnamed, is being tested in the homes of some Intel employees on the US West Coast, said Eric Free, vice president and general manager of content and services for Intel Media, during a speech at the Next TV Summit in New York on Thursday.
Consumers have different viewing needs, and cable and satellite companies load packages to include channels that customers may not want. Intel will offer a wider range of packages of targeted content, Free said.
"We think we can deliver a better user experience" and better packaging, Free said.
Intel is partnering with online and broadcast companies to deliver content through its box. Intel is open to the idea of working with cable companies, though the company has not made any related announcements.
"We think there's an opportunity to bundle in a smart way," Free said.
The company announced the TV box just a month ago, and has not revealed packages or pricing. But Intel does not want to try to "outprice or underprice" existing services, Free said.
In a question and answer session after his speech, Free acknowledged that there could be an opportunity to drive content bundles that could be inexpensive compared to packages available now, though Free said that wasn't the goal.
There is an audience who can't afford cable TV, but the set-top box is targeted more at younger audiences who want convenient access to live TV, on-demand TV and internet content in a single box, Free said.
The box will bring social media, gaming and other online activities to the living room TV watching experience.
"We are more interested in solving problems for the younger audiences who are deeply dissatisfied with what they are getting," Free said.
Intel has an early advantage as products like Roku and Apple TV either don't offer live TV or offer it in a limited fashion, and satellite and cable boxes are not yet designed to handle online content.
The TV box is being made by Intel's Media Group, which was founded in late 2011. The chip maker faces challenges as it moves into a market in which device makers, TV companies, content providers and cable and satellite companies are jostling for control of TV sets. Intel has rarely released products directly to consumers, and that has raised questions about whether the TV box will succeed.
But Intel has moved fast in making the device, and Free said the time is ripe for delivery of TV content over the Internet.
Content compression techniques are improving, and the internet download speed will quadruple by 2015, Free said. Citing a Cisco study, Free said that in the future more than half of the internet bandwidth will be taken up by video streams
Intel TV will be a colossal failure. Not only does it bring nothing new to the party, Intel has no presence in the content market. It is basically a beggar looking in the window from outside on the cold sidewalk.
That thing you posted is basically a marketing blurb written by some marketing puke at Intel who is paid to deliver such speeches. To call it news is a stretch.
OMG, I'm getting attacked by the "thumbs down," brigade. They can't defend INTC's Stupid TV effort, so they attack poor lil Vinnie instead. Mark my words, Stupid TV will be a long forgotten piece of history in two years, just like Itanic, diamond substrate, NetPC and hundreds of other desperate attempts by INTC to have a product other than the 386.
There are so many problems with this plan.
As Intel has said repeatedly lowering the cost of cable TV service to consumers is NOT the goal. Could there one day, possibly, maybe be a way Intel could deliver cheaper bundles than cable TV already delivers? Only if the cable companies see it in their interests to voluntarily undermine their own business model and that doesn't look too likely.
According to this article, Intel is not distributing its box in partnership with any cable operator and that's a big problem. Intel's Web TV relies on the consumers cable Internet access (for the majority of the US population) and the amount of data traffic allowed in one's monthly charge is finite. Watching too many Netflix movies can already force a consumer over their monthly data allowance. Watching Live TV multiple hours a day could put a consumer over their data allowance in the first week. Intel customers had better budget overage fees on their Internet service bill.
Increasingly the comments coming out of Intel Media Group seem to be saying they've already written off most adults and will be aiming this to "younger audiences" interested in gaming and social media. Well few teenagers are buying homes and making choices about what cable TV service to buy.
Simply acknowledging the regulatory and business climate in which Intel intends to launch its Web TV service does not mean I have any issues with Intel getting its chips into TVs and other consumer electronic devices. Nothing could be further from the truth. Intel should be working much harder to get its new SoC's inside new SmartTVs and other consumer devices and working harder to offer services in conjunction WITH cable companies.
Unfortunately this is not the plan Intel is implementing. Intel's Web TV intends to offer its dedicated box and Over-The-Top service directly to consumers. Occasional movie streaming is tolerated today by cable companies but 24x7 live TV streaming to multiple TV's in a household in a completely different animal and is likely to trigger a response by cable operators unfavorable to Intel's plan. Intel's plan is further complicated by the fact that cable companies enjoy enormous unfair advantage when it comes to selling a service that relies on cable infrastructure.
As it pertains to Intel's Web TV, cable companies can raise the price of Internet service to Intel's Web TV customers for all extra data they use streaming live TV while the same cable company can offer consumers a service that functions just like Intel's and not charge extra for the data. You may say this is unfair and uncompetitive. It is not a level playing field but that is the regulation that exists today.
The problem with Intel's plan is not that they want to get inside the living room or have their chips streaming live TV, the problem is that they control none of the critical resources necessary to deliver this service, the playing field is highly skewed to the cable operators and if the cable operators want to compete against Intel's service they have a built-in advantage they control.
So the question is not about getting x86 inside consumer devices, its about the wisdom of THIS plan to get there.
merlot/sanddollars (it's obvious you two are one and the same person)....I don't know what you have against Intel going into the TV business. You honestly think supporting live TV is straying away from their main business? Think about it...Sooner or later, Intel will have to support live TV in the chips. Live tv affects their business! If they don't support it and nvidia does or arm chips does than that would be at a major disadvantage! They have to live TV. TV will be as pervasive as youtube is right now. You think live tv can be done thru software only...baloney! Intel needs to support live TV in their chips for the future of their business! In the future all PCs will support Live TV...do you not agree with that? Then what the h*ck is your problem!?
As a result of the FCC's Broadband Task Force and recommendations to Congress to encourage wider broadband access the Commission permits all broadband service providers to charge for data usage. Fixed-price unlimited access is no longer the U.S. policy. Just because someone streams a couple movies per week today doesn't mean their Internet service is unlimited. I know heavy Internet users that regularly receive warnings from their service provider along with additional charges for exceeding the provider's cap.
And here's the rub. When cable operators and the FCC were deciding how much monthly usage is suitable for the average consumer, they envisioned web access, email and some occasional movie streaming. They weren't planning on substituting cable TV service with 24x7 live TV IP streaming so when the cable operators grow tired of Intel's live TV service getting a free ride on the cable operator's infrastructure all they have to do is raise the cost of the Internet service to customers of Intel's Web TV service.
I think folks are missing the point about Intel TV. It really isn't about having another cable like service, it is about providing consumers with more content choices at a lower cost. Most folks have unlimited bandwidth on their Internet service and streaming content with all the compression that goes on is not as bandwith intensive as you might think. The cable TV model is broken. Most folks don't want to pay $100 a month to buy just 3-4 channels that they commonly use. Personally, I stream a lot of content from the internet to my TV now. If Intel comes out with a service that allows me to stream channels that I watch all the time then I would totally ditch my cable and pay them for the service. Intel TV in the end is going to be about content. It will need something to make it a bit more exciting then say Hulu or Netflix.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
I should add that the playing field is even more distorted than described in the previous post. Not only can cable operators charge the consumer more for data when the consumers uses an over-the-top service like Intel Web TV, but if the cable companies makes an identical device and delivers the same service they don't have to charge the consumer for the same amount of data used. In short, cable operators can control how successful over the top operators can be and if they want to offer the identical service they have a built-in pricing advantage.
To be sure cable operators have a sweet deal with regulators.
For the last 15 years the FCC required ISP's to deliver unlimited usage for a fixed monthly price to the consumer. However, following the broadband service reforms that took place over a year ago the FCC changed that long standing policy due to the recognition that usage and cost to deliver are related. The cable companies specifically pointed to rapidly growing amount of data used by Netflix customers. The outcome is that the FCC killed mandatory unlimited service and gave wireline service providers and wireless ISP's approval to charge consumers for the amount of data they use. To be sure, most cable operators so far have been generous with their allocation but it is not unlimited and Netflix users are often among those that find themselves with overage fees at the end of the month.
Today cable operators now decide how much data is suitable to deliver within the fixed monthly price, and with modest regulatory oversight they can change this when they like. Running a live TV streaming service is far outside the parameters cable companies envisioned. And that would still be true even if Intel's box uses the newer H.265 compression codec.
I hope you're not a member of Intel's Media Group assuming fixed-price unlimited service was still the national policy because this could be a serious oops moment.
I have unlimited internet plan how about you? Show me a plan out there that isn't unlimited..show me the link. Also, video compression algorithm has gotten better....will not take much data to watch tv.