Intel planning internet-based subscription TV service?

13 Mar 2012

Intel is rumoured to be developing an internet-based TV service which could see it offer TV channels to US consumers online similarly to how cable and satellite TV subscriptions are sold.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Intel has been pitching the idea to create a ‘virtual cable operator’ to media companies. It reportedly is making its own set-top box to run this service with an interface to browse through programmes, though consumers would use their own internet connection to use it.

The service could use Intel technology and may use Intel’s name. It could launch the service by the end of the year, though it reportedly has yet to sign programming deals.

The move would see Intel join the likes of Google and Apple in attempting to crack the TV industry. Apple recently revealed a new update of its own Apple TV device, though reports suggest that it could launch an ‘iTV,’ a high definition iOS TV at the end of the year. Meanwhile Google is focusing on the software side of it with Google TV which has apps to connect to content on the web.

Intel currently supplies chips for set-top boxes used by operators such as Comcast. It disbanded a group which was involved in developing set-top boxes and TVs sold to consumers in October.

It hired Erik Huggers last year who helped the BBC launch its iPlayer service. In October, he became general manager of Intel’s Media group and set up a centre in London to work on user experience software for TVs.