Intel’s web TV service will be smart, expensive, and not particularly innovative
Kevin William Grant
Published on
December 31, 2020

Intel is planning to release a revolutionary new television service that will allegedly change the way people watch TV forever. Then again so is Apple and so is Netflix. These are big “revolutionary” claims but is it hype or is it possible?

Intel has experienced disappointing microprocessor sales as consumers move from desktop computers containing Intel microprocessors to tablets and smartphones not containing Intel microprocessors.

The Vice President of Intel media, Erik Huggers, shared details about the chip maker’s ambitions to remake television but it doesn’t sound very different from what’s already available.

(1) A Set Top Box

Intel is working on a set-top box device — an Intel TV Box — that would operate an Intel-powered service, which is similar to what Roku is already doing.

(2) Pay TV Model

The service itself sounds like it’ll be wholly dependent on the existing pay TV model, operating on top of cable and live TV broadcasts.

(3) Catch Up Service

Current pay television providers don’t offer a “catch up” service. You can pay to catch up on shows you have missed. This is one of the perks the yet-to-be-named Intel Box.

(4) Better User Experience

Huggers also touched on other things the Intel Box would improve, like channel listing grids, content discovery, previously discussed motion sense controls and interactivity, and a more cohesive experience that doesn’t require multiple apps or devices to view the content you want.

(5) Expensive Clunky Business Model

One thing Intel won’t be doing is reducing your monthly television bill.

With Intel you will have to pay for your current TV subscription on top of whatever Intel offers, plus the cost of the Intel Box. Yikes!

Also, the Intel Box/service won’t be changing the current model of TV pricing, meaning it won’t offer channels on an à la carte basis (that is, buying only the channels you want).

Intel executives “do believe there is value in bundles … if done right they can provide a lot,” Huggers said, adding that Intel’s new TV service may seek to provide differ kinds of bundles that make more sense than what’s currently offered by cable providers like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and such. “I don’t believe the industry is ready for à la carte television."

At first look, it doesn't look very promising

What Intel is building really sounds like a better version of what cable TV providers. It is unlikely that people will want to pay for the same service twice.

The Intel Box/service will be available later in 2013.