The New Cable-TV Guy: Intel


Staff member
Intel Corp. is developing an Internet-based television service that it hopes to sell to U.S. consumers, a strategic shift by the chip maker as it sets its sights on the crowded pay-TV business.

Intel has for several months been pitching media companies on a plan to create a "virtual cable operator" that would offer U.S. TV channels nationwide over the Internet in a bundle similar to subscriptions sold by cable- and satellite-TV operators, according to people familiar with the effort. Intel wouldn't provide Internet access, which subscribers would obtain separately.

The TV offering would use Intel technology, and in at least some scenarios under consideration, would use Intel's name. In its presentations to media companies, Intel says it is making its own set-top box to carry the TV service, and it has demonstrated an interface for users to browse programs.

Intel has told media companies it hopes to launch a service by the end of 2012, though it faces hurdles such as scarce bandwidth and the high price of TV programming.

In at least some cases, Intel has asked media companies for "rate cards" that lay out what particular channels or types of on-demand programs would cost as part of its subscriptions, but it doesn't appear to have struck programming deals yet, one of the people said.
Some media executives say they believe a real virtual cable service could be two or three years away at the earliest. Others are even more skeptical.

"Several large firms have tried to put that package together and backed off," David Wells, Netflix Inc.'s chief financial officer, said of virtual cable operators in an earnings call in late January. "I don't think that is going to come into existence."
Read More: Intel Developing Web-Based TV Service -

I really don't know where these guys have been hiding, but Christian owned Sky Angel has been offering their IPTV multichannel service for serveral years now. The service doesn't include local channels, or ESPN, but they have a nice offering of "family friendly" channels in their $32.99 a month package. The service requires a dedicated receiver that cost $125. It's interesting to see the "big boys" wake up and start to get in the game.

I can see Intel partnering with smaller regional telcos who can't afford to offer their own multichannel services.
It seems like European counties have been years ahead of the US market for offering IPTV services. I'm surprised there aren't more major players trying to get into our market here.