Intel to challenge Apple and Google with move into pay TV – Rumour

Internet-based pay-TV service

Intel is reportedly considering a move into the TV space and is already developing an internet-based pay-TV service that could directly compete with offerings from both Apple and Google as the IPTV market continues to hot up. A Wall Street Journal(WSJ) article, citing people familiar with the effort, claims that Intel is planning to offer bundled channel packages through consumers’ broadband in a move that could also pitch the firm into competition with traditional cable broadcasters. Intel is reportedly already in negotiations with traditional media companies as it attempts to secure content for the service, which it hopes to launch before the end of this year. Intel is yet to comment on the rumours, but if confirmed the move would mark a change in tack for the chip maker, which appears determined to broaden its offerings under CEO Paul Otellini amid slowing global PC sales.

While Apple and Google both provide IPTV services, neither firm offers an over-the-top pay-TV platform, though both have reportedly entertained the idea in recent months, as consumers increasingly shift their viewing online. Google recently submitted an application with the Missouri Public Service Commission for a video and TV license, as it reportedly aims to deliver a pay-TV trial in the state. Meanwhile, Apple is said to be at an impasse with media firms in its negotiations for a subscription-based platform over its desire to control the pricing and content.

Intel recruited former BBC exec Erik Huggers in January 2011 to head up its digital home division, and he could lead any TV service. Huggers was the BBC’s director of future, media and technology and is credited by BBC director general Mark Thompson as being a “key architect for a radical refocusing of BBC Online“, including revamping its video-on-demand iPlayer service. Huggers hinted last year that Intel could be preparing to “go further up the food chain” in the TV industry as it moves beyond simply providing chips for TVs and set-top boxes.

Traditional linear TV viewing is coming under increasing pressure from online services, with consumers shifting online to view on-demand content, paving the way for firms to build and license internet-based services through connected TVs in the living room. Recent research by Accenture claims that traditional TV viewing is eroding faster than expected, with the number of consumers watching traditional broadcast and cable TV in an average week falling to below half, while the number of consumers planning to purchase a TV set during the next year has dipped below a third. However, as evidenced by broadcasters boycotting Google TV, some broadcasters are wary of internet TV services amid fears they could eat into more traditional revenues, with firms such as Intel needing to quell such concerns if any pay TV offering is to take off.

 

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