Back in March, we learned that Intel is cooking up an Internet-based TV service for the living room. The initial version will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show next week, according to one of TechCrunch's tipsters, and it looks like Intel will take a novel approach to rolling out the service. A "video industry source" says Intel will introduce its TV venture on a city-by-city basis rather than blanketing the nation in one fell swoop. This strategy will reportedly give Intel more flexibility in negotiating content licenses, which is perhaps the biggest challenge facing any of the would-be cable killers.
Somewhat surprisingly, though, Intel's service seems to be designed to complement cable television rather than replace it. TechCrunch says Intel is designing a set-top box that combines traditional channels with streaming content. DVR functionality is expected to be part of the package, and there may be a unique twist on that front. The Intel solution will purportedly "allow people to recall and watch any programming aired in the last month on the channels they subscribe to." Such a feature would surely rely on streaming to deliver older content to users, and it doesn't sound like a bad idea.
Advertisers don't like the time-shifting capabilities of DVRs, but Intel's service could give them a new tool. This summer, Reuters cited several sources as saying Intel will allow ads to be targeted based on who is watching. Such functionality would target broader demographic groups rather than specific individuals, but the potential exists for ads to be tailored on a more personal basis.
I still haven't cut the cord to my cable provider, largely because it remains the best option for sports—especially with a DVR to blow through commercials and superfluous commentary. Boy am I ready for an a la carte replacement that allowed me to choose individual shows and channels at reasonable prices, though.
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