Intel gears up for TV content provider push

News 2 Jan, 2013

Users will be able to stream channels via the internet through the firm's set-top box.

Intel has tentative plans to launch its own set-top box, which will allow users to stream TV channels via the internet in mid-2013.

The project has been running under the Intel Media umbrella, and was kick-started in 2012. The chip maker has worked to make living room hardware in the form of a set-top box and plans to act as a virtual cable operator.

Unlike Apple TV, which was primarily designed to let users stream content from sources such as iTunes, YouTube and Netflix, Intel’s offering aims to compete with more traditional set-top boxes.

Intel also wants to shake up the way end users pay for services. The firm is rumoured to be pushing for a pay-per-channel option. This is a radical shift in the way content is delivered in countries such as the UK and US where channels are bundled together in packages.

The chip maker is said to have reached one content deal with an unspecified partner, according to the Wall Street Journal. Negotiations remain on-going with other major network providers as they ponder the viability of this delivery method.

Barring any major hiccups, Intel is expected to launch its service in mid-to-late 2013. It is likely to be debuted in the US first and then rolled out to other regions, such as the UK, if it proves successful.

If it ever does make it to the UK, Intel is going to face some stiff competition.

The TV landscape is dominated by heavyweights such as Sky and Virgin, which offer the traditional packaged subscriptions. Offerings such as FreeView and YouView have also entered the market and provide a select number of channels for a one-off payment.

There were rumours Intel was set to make an announcement regarding its content-delivery service at CES, but as only one content deal is reportedly in place, this is unlikely. Instead the firm is set to focus on unveiling its latest chipsets optimised for mobile use and also given more details about its 4th Generation Haswell architecture.

However, the fact that Intel is pushing into the content delivery market shows that it is willing to look for alternative sources of revenue as competition from ARM-based chips dominate the ever-growing mobile market at this point.