Intel Media head Erik Huggers recently announced that Intel will launch a new TV service, with a name to yet be revealed. What the news media is referring to as Intel TV, will include a set top box, and will provide programming in bundles, similar to what cable companies do now. Huggers stated that the programming would not be available a la carte, but has indicated that the bundles may be smaller, allowing more flexibility in choosing content packaging than a cable TV company offers.
We’ve changed the way we watch TV. More and more consumers are getting their content online, through services like Netflix and Hulu. An August 2010 Nielsen study found that about 1 in 5 global consumers owns or has a definite interest in purchasing an internet-connected TV within the next 12 months. In addition, the poor economy has people concerned about their budgets. More are willing to try a newer and less expensive way of getting television programming.
In 2010, Google entered a partnership with Intel and Sony to create Google TV. Now, Intel has decided to enter the streaming content service market with its own device. It’s predicted to be launched later this year. Rumors say that Apple will also launch a TV service in 2013. Huggers has not said what content deals have been made, if any, but stated at the All Things Digital’s Dive into Media conference this February, that Intel Media is working with the entire industry.
Yet, the new Intel TV service may not be cheaper than cable. Major content providers may be unwilling to unbundle content and let Intel sell it cheaper than cable television companies do now. Intel TV seems to be positioning itself as a high quality product, rather than a low-cost one. Huggers has said that Intel Media wants to create a service better than anything on the market now, and that’s why they are building their own set top box.
Current TV services have employed methods to predict the programming a user would like to watch. Netflix has an algorithm that uses viewer’s ratings of shows to predict the shows they would like to see. Roku and Google TV have search functions that index several programming sources. Microsoft Research has developed Kinect-based facial recognition that allows the system to detect the user, and select shows for that person. Intel TV could go a step too far, though, as it is expected to come with a camera, which will be used, at least partly, for targeted advertising. Rumors of “the TV that watches you” have spread over the Net, ringing alarm bells for those who are familiar with 1984’s Big Brother.
This is all we know about Intel TV so far. The year 2013 may be a big one for innovative TV services. What’s clear is that how we watch television has changed and will continue to change in the future.