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.
@Bert22306: "Not sure why Intel thinks it needs to become a copycat cable system, content tiers and all, instead of focusing its efforts on making a good Internet TV STB. Or for that matter, marketing their solution to the CE vendors, to embed in TV sets."
Because Intel is a hardware maker, and wants to sell stuff that will have "Intel Inside". TV requires hardware, as does distribution of content. Intel wants as big a piece of that market as they can get.
Since the necessary work can be done on ARM, MIPS and other architectures, good luck to them in getting that market share.
@iSteve: "Divakar, Intel already has Puma6 silicon that can deliver 1Gbps Downstream (and 320Mbps upstream) cable modem speeds to the home..."
So do others, I believe. But I connect to an ISP. They may install that hardware and be *able* to offer me 1GB down/320Mbps up. The question is what they will want to charge me for that bandwidth.
At present, that's likely to be "More than I want to pay".
Of course that is a business decision based on the MSO's cost of back haul and infrastructure vs. # of subscribers utilizing the bandwidth.
I'm really just addressing the above comments about how easy it should be to technically unbundle content, and build a STB that looks good and performs well and can handle all of the future needs. Technically, all that is done and ready to go (nothing left for the Intel engineering side to do). For the service side, weather it be Comcast Xfinity X1, Google TV, Apple TV, Amazon or Intel Media, it is about providing the infrastructure and dealing with content contract negoitations. The tech is ready. But the $$ cost of the remaining pieces such that you can provide a great service to the consumer at a reasonable price is what is left to be done.
@iSteve: thank you for the links on Puma6... not sure if that is the Silicon used in Google's boxes.
@DMcCunney: don't hold your breath for affordable high speed internet in US! From an OECD study, Japan has the highest advertized bandwidth (~150Mb/s) whereas US was in the bottom (3rd from the bottom to be precise, just above Egypt!). US also had the highest pricing from that study.
That's just it, iniewski, I don't need to start my own business, to make a thoroughly useful TV STB for unfettered Internet TV access! Dell and other companies have already achieved that.
It might take a tiny bit more effort to set it up than a purpose-built TV Internet STB might, and it costs more, because I use a full-fledged PC. However the job is a total no-brainer.
As to content, rights to content, and what have you, there are only about a zillion portals aready available on the Internet for TV shows and movies online. So let those portals, including the popular ones like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and Hulu Plus, maybe iTunes, the portals run by each TV network, the BBC, etc. etc. etc. fight it out for any content that is particularly hard to get.
Why on earth would anyone expect Intel, basically a hardware company, to have any better luck at getting rights to difficult content than the numerous portals out there that already exist?
I'm simply saying, a purpose-built TV STB for Internet TV access is not a difficult job. Content rights are an entirely different discussion, for entirely different businesses, some of which are well known, others seem to pop up daily.
Intel should not make a good Internet TV STB contingent on issues it basically has no background or expertise in.
Again, while there is a ton of content available online already, although mostly invisible to "connected TV" products available today (because these products are unreasonably limited by design), there may be some content, like perhaps ESPN, that is hard to get online.
If the likes of abc.com, or netflix.com, or hulu plus, or iTunes, are having a hard time getting access to THAT particual content, then what makes anyone think that Intel, Dell, or Chrysler, or Ford would have better luck?
I think everyone is mixing up apples and oranges. One problem is rights to certain content that some people might want. Mostly, ESPN, is my guess. The other issue is decent hardware to allow large screen TVs to access Internet TV content.
Decent hardware doesn't exist, unless you make your own with a PC or maybe a game console. Intel can easily sove that.
The contents rights issue is separate. No need to conflate the two discussions, just because so many cable TV addicts have become used to the distribution network renting out its own proprietary hardware. That's an anomaly tha hopefully the Internet will kill in a hurry. But not if we continue to have hardware and content distribution colluding.
The US is huge and spread out, so offering very high speed broadband to everyone becomes difficult. However the good news is, a 2 Mb/s downlink speed is totally adequate for good quality TV, and may be even better when H.265 compression rolls out.
We've seen the Verizon annoncement that it never planned FiOS roll-out to the whole country, for instance. Too bad. FiOS offers high data rates, like 100 Mb/s down and 50 Mb/s up.
Note: 3 years ago Intel and Google (with Sony and Logitech) already built some nice boxes capable of receiving OTT content like Hulu, abc.com, fox.com, Netflix, Amazon etc... Re: GoogleTV… but then all the free sites blocked the box from access (but there were ways around that for most of the sites). Intel Media is about getting the premium content that is only available from Comcast, Time Warner, DirecTV, Dish etc… and delivering it to the end consumer (a service model that is very expensive to get into). And, you are correct, Intel did not have the expertise in this area (past tense), which is why Erik (the former director of BBC) strongly points out that Intel (Erik) brought in that expertise from outside of Intel for this Job. I don’t think there was ever any doubt about Intel’s engineering abilities to build the technology (if there was, clearly someone does not understand the amount of engineering capability Intel has).
Bert, you are right about the hardware. As you know from personal experience, building a very capable HTPC is trivial -- you can even put it in a nice case that looks like a piece of A/V gear, and there are plenty of usable UIs available for the 10-foot experience.
But just as with a Roku box, Apple TV or any of these other STB replacements, eliminating the monthly fee for renting the cable company's proprietary hardware does not eliminate the monthly fees for content.
As every cord-cutter knows, you can save some money if you're willing to subscribe to a couple of pay services (Netflix, HuluPlus, etc.) and willing to navigate to the network sites, but you're still going to be giving something up -- specifically, nearly anything that's live, especially live sports.
I agree we don't need to have hardware colluding with content distribution, but this isn't really a hardware problem as much as it is a business model problem -- one that involves those aforementioned contracts with the likes of Viacom, Disney & Comcast -- and all the issues related to channel tiers vs. a la carte.
Intel cannot solve that problem. No hardware company can. And neither can your HTPC.
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