Intel confirms online TV plan

Chip maker Intel has confirmed that it is working on a set-top box that would stream content  to connected TV sets. Speaking at AllThingsDigital’s ‘Dive Into Media’ conference, Erik Huggers, general manager of Intel Media, suggested the device would offer “a vastly superior experience” to today’s cable STBs.

Although Intel is traditionally a business-facing company with little exposure to the consumer, Huggers said the company was keen to enter the segment on the basis that it could control every aspect of the service, from chips to software, to get it right. Intel has been struggling in the fiercely competitive chip market.

Any such service would be dependent on the co-operation of content owners, a point recognised by Huggers, who suggested that media companies were showing some flexibility. “I think we can bring an incredible TV experience via the Internet, to consumers, and that is a great opportunity for programmers,” he said. He described the planned service not as a value play, but rather “a quality play”.

According to Huggers, the box would offer on-demand content as well as apps, with a built-in camera able to detect people in a room and help deliver personalised programming and advertising. Intel’s plan, if successful, would go further than products currently offered by Apple, Amazon and Netflix by offering live programming as well as on-demand content.

“There is an opportunity to offer a bundle that can be curated by the consumer, an opportunity to create smarter bundles,” Huggers said. “There’s a scenario where the TV recognizes that it’s you and says ‘Hey, I know what you like. I know what you want to watch’, versus the environment we’re in today where the TV literally is not interested in you at all,” Huggers told Reuters.

Huggers was involved in the BBC’s launch of iPlayer and has worked at Microsoft. Despite talk of a lunch this year it is not clear any content deals have been done.

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