Huggers believes the time is right for Intel to roll this out, noting
that the “broadband capability is already here; and HEVC [high
efficiency video coding] can now achieve video compression that’s 50
percent more efficient than H.264.”
Intel’s box, powered by an Intel chip, will feature a video camera so that it “knows” who is
watching the programs and the programs he/she prefers. Featuring a
camera on a TV to change the user interface was something proposed by
Panasonic at its press conference during the Consumer Electronics Show
last month. But Intel will take that idea a step further, in an attempt
to offer a much more attractive and tailored programming to viewers.
Huggers drew a comparison to today’s electronic programming guide which, he
said, looks more or less like a “spreadsheet.”
While stressing a
more advanced and intuitive user interface as an advantage for its
Internet TV platform, the “curated bundle” is another feature Intel is
pitching for its service. When pressed about whether Intel’s new
Internet TV service will finally allow viewers to pick and choose what
they want to watch, Huggers demurred. “I don’t think the industry is
ready for pure a la carte.”
He said, “I think there is value in
curated bundles.” However, Huggers declined to say how much more freedom the
company’s new service may allow consumers. Asked if viewers will be able
to make their current cable bills cheaper by going with Intel’s new
Internet TV platform, Huggers said, “This is not about a value play.”
actually knowing more details about Intel’s Internet TV platform, it’s
hard to judge how deep an inroad Intel might be able to plow. One
question dogging Intel is this: After failing with its previous TV
initiatives, what proof does Intel have now that things are different
this time around?
Huggers' answer was simple. “People,” he said.
which has been in existence for about a year, is a unit separate from
Intel, housed in a separate building. It consists of a “new type of
people,” said Huggers, including a female marketing executive who joined
Intel Media from Apple, where she spent her last 12 years launching
i-products. Also on the “new people” team is someone from Jawbone,
famous for its Bluetooth headset, and an escapee from Microsoft, Huggers said.
This doesn't seem like a big deal to me. There are a lot of online TV companies that don't require anything, not even registration. My boys and I have been sitting and watching all the football matches online. The only thing that was still tangible was the [url=http://www.russettsouthwest.com/heating-cooling-services/air-conditioning-tucson/]air conditioning Tucson[/url] remote.
For my part I like the idea of "catch-up" viewing. The rigid single-showing schedule of popular TV erks me to no end, especially with sports events. (Yeah, NFL channel I mean you. If any of your marketers are reading the answer is NO. As in 'NO I would rather NOT watch your gaggle of overpaid, over-ego'd ex-athletes and other know-nothings talk about the game.' JUST REPLAY THE FRIGGIN' GAMES - ALL OF THEM, NOT JUST TWO! ALL WEEK LONG!)
But Bert, after reading your many well-informed comments you've opened my mind to looking beyond merely working around the limitations of the set-top box. Now I'm thinking about how I can save $120 bucks a month alltogether.
Streaming is the answer, DrQuine. Why bother downloading first? All of the major, minor, and utterly obscure portals I've tried support streaming. And all have reasonably to very intuitive UIs.
All you need to do is set up a few bookmarks (favorites) on your browser. Each bookmark will typically open a portal for you, with all manner of well organized content. If you insist, you can label these favorites with a "channel number" instead of a name, although that would be counter-productive very quickly.
Every step increase in the volume of choice brings with it necessarily new navigation tools. A simple numbered knob was enough originally, when a TV market had maybe 3 to 12 channel choices. Cable systems augmented channel numbers with proprietary channel guides, as choice climbed to maybe 120-150 channels. Now we're way beyond any such walled-in net and its still limited choice.
So, you simply use the tools developed for Internet level of choice volumes. Browsers, search engines, bookmarks, streaming media.
How long does it take you to get to your favorite online newspaper? It should take no longer to get to your favorite online TV shows.
TV simplification is urgently needed. Navigating the menus, requesting downloads on your computer and then returning to the TV to view them (Netflix), and trying to remember the constantly changing channel numbers are not tasks we should be burdened with. If IP addresses can access every Internet device in the universe, why can't we have a simple means to access TV content instantly (a virtual channel number) and leave all the content mapping to a computer with nothing better to do? A simple content directory would also be an obvious development ... TV-pedia anyone?
For that matter, Apple is no Apple either, when it comes to TV.
It seems to me that all manner of people, from the production studios to CE vendors, to pundits and certainly also many consumers, are having a really difficult time thinking outside the stale old box, when it comes to topics of TV.
This doesn't apply all over the world, but in the US, ever since ~1980 or so, a whole lot of consumers became addicted to cable TV. Addicted to the point that they now assume TV content and the distribution of that TV content must forever be tied to dedicated and inseparable hardware. The assumption going in is that the box on your TV set is essential, is proprietary, and it is what allows you access to the content. Apple and Intel are both trying to keep that old model alive. Our box gives you content rights.
But the IETF developed this obsessively open medium called the Internet. The standards are available free of charge, even. Those old models of dedicated, proprietary hardware tied to your rights to the content are obsolete and are far better left that way. Its a travesty to force-fit those olds ideas to the Internet.
Consumers have proved to be quite adept at using the Internet for just about everything. The younger generation is having little trouble treating TV content like any other Internet content, viewing it on any manner of device. The Hollywood studios are not blind to this, are offering their content more and more on Internet sites, but are slow at opening the floodgates completely. What we don't need is for hardware companies, including CE companies, working in (apparent) collusion with the studios, to try to yank us back to 1980. Or similarly, Internet TV boxes so deliberately crippled that people can't do without their old cable hookup.
The Valley is littered with the wreckage of hardware companies thinking that they could make money utilizing Hollywood. Content companies will announce 'partnerships' and 'relationships' with Intel to be sure. In the end, all that will have happened is that Intel cash ends up on someone else's bank account.
Apple was successful with music, OK. But Intel is no Apple.
All this is very nice but it needs to be looked at in terms of price and family income.
It is not uncommon for a family to presently pay $150 for cable and internet connections. Then the cellular phone bill can be $150. The $3600 a year is a pretty bug chunk out of a family income.
We are in TOTAL agreement, Frank. As you said, the content rights issue is separate, and unlikely that a hardware companey can come to grips with it.
Since so much content IS already available online, for free or for pay, I will assume here that the main thing people are obsessing over is *live ESPN content*.
So here's the thing. If Disney is unwilling to make live ESPN content available at their very own abc.com site, e.g. with subscription, then what leads anyone to think that, oh, say Coca Cola, would fare any better at getting rights to that content?
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.