Intel is said to be working on a new television service that will reportedly offer consumers more flexible subscription packages. According to reports from the Wall Street Journal and GigaOm, the company appears to be working on hardware, as well as a television service.
The reports indicate that Intel would still sell channels in bundles, though a report from Forbes has suggested the service would let users pick individual channels, or even shows, to buy. The Wall Street Journal indicates that the service would still sell bundles, but in a different way than the “conventional pay TV bundle.”
No matter what the service ultimately looks like, Intel is said to be gunning for the television in the same way that Apple, Google and Microsoft are with their respective video services and set-top boxes. GigaOm notes that it’s not clear if Intel’s device will be Intel-branded. In the past, the company has partnered with Google and Boxee to put its chips into living rooms around the world, though those products didn’t take a strong foothold in the market. TechCrunch reported last week that a source “directly familiar with Intel’s plans” said that the company was unsatisfied with the Google TV initiative and wanted to strike out on its own.
The company is said to have formed a sort of mini-startup on its campus in Santa Clara, Calif., under the name Intel Media. The new service is reportedly designed to also work on tablets, smartphones and computers.
As the Journal reported, some are skeptical about Intel’s ability to pull off a product like this, particularly since most consumers know the company as a component maker. Richard Bullwinkle, who used to work for the media service company Rovi, told the Journal that Intel’s strengths lie in its technology chops, not its ability to reach consumers.
Cable television is one of the industries that seems ripe for disruption, particularly as users turn more and more to online video services such as Netflix to get video content on demand. Long-standing rumors about an Apple television or television accessory that would have a la carte programming packages have generated a lot of consumer excitement, but the rumors have yet to solidify into actual products.
Content partnerships are said to be hanging up Apple’s plans for television — understandable, as these kinds of products essentially destroy the current cable TV bundling model. Intel is also said to be having some trouble getting partners to sign on to its service, though the Journal report says Intel already has at least one content partner on board.
Nevertheless, it seems that users won’t be getting a look at the new hardware or service next week at the Consumer Electronics Show, though Intel will have a major presence at the annual Las Vegas techfest.