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July 01, 2013

Intel Being 'Cautious' About TV Rollout

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Intel (News - Alert) Corp.'s new CEO downplayed the chipmaker’s TV aspirations on Friday, noting that there is much work to be done on the content front.

"We believe we have a great user interface and the compression-decompression technology is fantastic," Brian Krzanich told reporters. "But in the end, if we want to provide that service it comes down to content. We are not big content players."

He added, “We're being cautious. We're experts in silicon; we're experts in mobility, in driving Moore's law. But we are not experts in the content industry and we're being careful."

Intel is working on a set-top box to launch its own over-the-top (OTT) pay-TV service later this year, which would offer consumers the ability to choose the channels they want to pay for. The silicon giant has been in talks with a range of content providers including Time Warner (News - Alert), NBCUniversal and Viacom to license TV shows and movies.  And while those Big Media stalwarts have signed off on the concept of what Intel is trying to do, hammering out the exact business model details is an ongoing project.

Intel is looking to leverage an STB to offer a sort of super-Roku proposition. Yes, it would be a box-based OTT play that consumers would buy at retail. However, it would have the look and feel of a traditional IPTV (News - Alert) service, with access to all the channels one would expect from a pay-TV provider. In addition to live TV, there would be an on-demand option and a cloud-based DVR, and subscribers will have multiscreen access across TV sets, computers and mobile devices.

Gaining access to the content for a cost that wouldn’t require Intel to price the service out of the going market rate for TV is, of course, the key to making the idea work, but asking content companies to unbundle their networks could send the cost per channel skyrocketing.

Intel is eyeing video to help shore up flagging PC market sales, but Krzanich said that the company is also accelerating the rollout of chips for smartphones, tablets and wearable devices as big initiatives going forward. Intel hopes to be embedded in things like connected wristbands and watches as soon as 2014.

"I think you'll start to see stuff with our silicon toward the end of the year and the beginning of next year," Krzanich said, according to Reuters (News - Alert). "We're trying to get our silicon into some of them, create some ourselves, understand the usage and create an ecosystem."

Edited by Alisen Downey

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