The rumors were true; Intel has just confirmed that it will be launching an internet television service later this year.
Erik Huggers, General Manager of Intel Media, made the announcement at the Dive into Media conference today, saying that the company will be releasing its own Intel-powered set-top box as well. The box won’t come out under the Intel brand, apparently, though Huggers wouldn’t say what the other brand will be. The service is expected to be available on various mobile devices through apps as well.
Huggers touted the upcoming hardware’s “beautiful industrial design,” and said that Intel’s TV service will come with “network channels, pay-TV channels, catch-up television, on-demand, and a host of applications.” So, the works.
As for content, those patiently hoping that Intel would deliver the dream of a la carte programming — or, giving consumers the ability to pick exactly which programs/channels they want to pay for — shouldn’t hold their breath. Huggers noted that he doesn’t believe the industry is “ready” for a la carte, which would mean that Intel will be offering bundled programming similar to how Comcast, Dish and others already do. That’ll likely disappoint more than a few hopefuls.
Huggers did appear to hint that the Intel TV service may give users more of a choice of what goes into their bundled content, however.
“If bundles are bundled right, I think there\’s real value in that, and opportunities to create a more flexible environment where end-users have more choice than they do today,” he said.
When it comes to pricing, Huggers said that the service isn’t going to be a “value play,” instead focusing on providing a premium experience. So it probably won’t be cheaper than a normal cable subscription then.
The Intel TV set-top box will also include a camera, which Huggers claims will provide a more social viewing experience, and could theoretically provide users with more personalized viewing recommendations and the like. Of course, it could also allow advertisers to target their ads more specifically at certain users, something that Huggers admitted during the conference.
The camera can be turned off, so anyone who doesn’t want to put up with targeted ads can probably rest easy for now. It does sound oddly similar to rumors surrounding the next Xbox’s Kinect sensor that arose yesterday, though.
No word was given on a specific launch date for Intel’s Internet TV service, nor was a specific name for it, nor was any specific price point. Something like this probably won\’t do wonders for a user\’s broadband bandwidth limit either.
Either way, expect to hear much more about the service over the coming months (presumably), as Huggers repeatedly stressed that the platform will need a little bit, even after it launches, before it can fully come into its own. Until then, that’s one more rumor we can all put to bed.