Home Entertainment

Intel to launch virtual cable service and set-top box at CES

Intel to launch virtual cable ...
Intel will reportedly announce its plans at CES
Intel will reportedly announce its plans at CES
View 2 Images
The service would allegedly blend traditional TV channels with streaming services
The service would allegedly blend traditional TV channels with streaming services
Intel will reportedly announce its plans at CES
Intel will reportedly announce its plans at CES

If you asked 100 tech pundits which company will revolutionize television, many would say Apple. Some might insist that Google or even Samsung will eventually shake things up. A name that you probably wouldn't hear, though, is Intel. Apparently the chip-maker didn't get the memo, as it's reportedly set to launch its own virtual cable service and TV set-top box.

According to Techcrunch, the service will be a hybrid of streaming services and over-the-top (streamed) traditional cable channels. It's designed for "people who want streaming TV access but don’t want to entirely cut the cable cord and lose key content like sports." The report specifically mentions Redbox's streaming service (now in beta), but Netflix and Hulu Plus could also join the party.

Intel will debut the hardware at CES 2013, with the service then rolling out on a (U.S.) city-by-city basis. Content providers have previously balked at new distribution methods that could up-end their established (and highly profitable) model. A limited roll-out is less risky, and could make them more comfortable trying something new. It also prevents stubborn regional holdouts from grinding the entire operation to a halt.

Old and new

The service would allegedly blend traditional TV channels with streaming services
The service would allegedly blend traditional TV channels with streaming services

We've already heard whispers of Intel's leap into TV. In March, the Wall Street Journal reported on the chip manufacturer's plans, describing it as a "virtual cable operator." Intel wouldn't provide internet service, but it would provide channel bundles (similar to traditional cable packages), which could be streamed over the internet.

The set-top box reportedly offers a fresh take on the DVR. If you're subscribed to a channel, you'll be able to watch every program from the last month at any time – without recording it. If Intel can't negotiate for a la carte channel subscriptions, then the improved DVR could be the service's killer feature.

Does Intel have what it takes to move television into the 21st century? Or is its plan merely the cloud version of the same old cable packages? We may get more answers during Intel's CES keynote next week.

Source: Techcrunch

Joel Detrow
That "modern DVR" actually sounds like a great idea, at least until the rest of TV shows have gone to the internet. "TV" overall will die eventually, but until then, that form of DVR is perfect.
how many ways do we need to watch and pay for the same program,really.
Robert in Vancouver
I hope this will allow me to pick channels I want instead of being forced to pay for bundles of channels just to get the few I actually want.
I'd be happy to pay a reasonable amount for each channel that I really want.
Well. It’s good news that Intel is going to launch virtual cable service and set-top box. Intel desires to move television into the 21st century. Thanks Will Shanklin for sharing the great news
@Joel Detrow: With the price of subscriber services (like cable) constantly rising, I hope free over the air television continues. People on fixed incomes and low income people can hardly afford to pay for cable, after housing, utilities, taxes, food, clothing, gasoline, and insurance. Because of modern lifestyle many previous options for diversions and hobbies are disappearing. Unless you live in a place with a yard and permission of the owner you cannot do gardening especially vegetable gardening. Many places, even a few where there is ownership of homes/condominiums no longer allow pets. Things like community dances, bridge clubs, lodges (Moose, Elk, etc) and social clubs are disappearing. Many hobbies are now frowned on, if not outright forbidden due to noise (woodworking comes to mind). Because of breaking up of neighborhoods whether though economic problems forcing people to leave, change in social status, or eminent domain, there are no longer sense of community and often people do not know the names of their neighbors let alone those 2 or 3 units in either direction. No, unfortunately I think free television has to remain as an avenue of diversion replacing true outlets. The only other diversions are reading, drugs, sex, and alcohol.
I am not a television person so I usually only subscribe to cable when something special like the Olympics or major elections are taking place (debates). 10 years ago you could get basic basic cable service. It was just your local channels, shopping networks, and religious networks. No TBS, WBN, ... It cost like $14.00/month. Now that service no longer exists, the minimum you can subscribe to is close to 90 channels and costs $80/month (for low income or retired people that can be up to 10% net income, maybe 50-100% of disposable income). I am willing to pay $14.00/month for something I use maybe once a week for a couple of hours. I am not willing to pay $80.00/month for (from my perspective) the same service. I do not use the other channels, they are like selling 12 ounces on potato chips in a bigger bag to make you think you are getting more for your money.
I was at my sister's house and she has DirectTV. I never saw so many channels. And finding something you are actually somewhat interested in is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Really is that added value even for a big television watcher. It had like 30 shopping channels and maybe even more religious channels. I mean most religious type people usually only subscribe to one set of thoughts. I am pretty sure Catholics do not watch Baptist and Baptist do not watch Episcopal, and Episcopal do not watch Jew, and ... For all I know they had a Ba'hai channel, Muslin channel, a Buddist channel. Who would watch even 2 different ones let alone all of them? And why 3 channels with the exact same shows? Where is the added value to that.
@robo: I would pay $1-$2 per channel if I could get the service I wanted and ONLY what I wanted. I would probably even keep the service for when I wanted to take a break from the net (not often), watch what is on Smithsonian or History or MSNBC or Boomerang (ok, I like the old cartoons too).