Intel plans to launch Internet television service this year

Could revamping the television industry help Intel in the face of a struggling PC market?
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
erik huggers intel television service
Screenshot: C.Osborne/ZDNet

Chip maker Intel has confirmed its plans to enter the Internet television industry as PC sales continue to dwindle.

During an AllThingsD conference, Erik Huggers, vice president and general manager of Intel Media confirmed that the company will be launching an Internet television service this year with both live and on-demand content.

As reported by sister site CNET, the PC market is having a tough time with the rising adoption of tablets and smartphones, and so businesses that rely on this as their core source of revenue have to find other ways to generate profit.

Huggers confirmed on stage at AllThingsD's "Dive into Media" conference on Tuesday that Intel's new Internet television service will provide hardware and services directly to consumers, and as it is a highly competitive market in which Intel has no existing relationships, the chipmaker is currently negotiating with content providers. 

Hundreds of employees are currently testing a new set-top box as part of the anticipated launch. The set-top box will include a camera to detect viewers and will be powered by Intel chips. Rather than necessarily trying to undercut other television service providers, it is likely that Intel's offering -- which will include both live and on-demand, catch-up television -- will be based on a subscription model that offers more flexibility than current systems.

"Ultimately we think there's an all-in-one solution," Huggers said. "What consumers want is choice, control, and convenience. If bundles are bundled right, there's real value in that.... I don't believe the industry is ready for pure a la carte."

Following stints at the BBC and Microsoft, Huggers joined Intel to help push its move into the media market, a business that has been expanding for approximately a year, and has staff from Intel, Apple, Microsoft and Netflix. Intel's plans to offer smaller bundles and go beyond offerings from Amazon and Netflix to offer both live and on-demand media could not only give the firm an additional revenue stream if successful, but the camera on the set-top box could be used to tailor advertising depending on the user.

As well as potentially diversifying from the PC chip market, recent reports suggest that Intel has hired Spencer Stuart & Associates to help with its quest to find a new, suitable CEO for the chip-making firm, sources suggesting that external candidates are being seriously considered to fill the role. The company's current CEO, Paul Otellini, is due to retire in May.

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