Intel Web TV Won't Make It To CES 2013

By Khurram Aziz email: | Jan 04, 2013 05:16 PM EST

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Intel's new set-top box, which promises to stream online video and cable programming to your TV, has been beset by license negotiations with content owners, meaning a prototype won't appear at CES 2013.

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Reports had suggested that a prototype of Intel's new on-demand TV service will be seen at the technology show which begins on Jan. 8, with a limited number of beta versions available from March.

However, Gigaom said that these reports are inaccurate.

"Both Forbes and TechCrunch reported this past weekend that Intel may announce its much-rumored TV service at CES next week," said Janko Roettgers of Gigaom. "I've been told by a knowledgeable source that this is inaccurate, and that there won't be any announcement or other kind of public appearance in Vegas."

In fact, separate sources have told the Wall Street Journal that Intel's new TV service won't see the light of day until the fourth quarter of 2013, citing delays in reaching content-licensing agreements with entertainment companies that own major TV channels.

Intel has been developing its new TV service, dubbed Intel Media, secretly in its campus at Santa Clara, California. It's being pitched to media companies as a "virtual cable operator," which would offer US TV channels nationwide over the Internet, similar to subscriptions sold by cable- and satellite-TV operators.

Intel isn't the only technology company planning a TV service. Both Google and Apple have similar products on the market which stream online content direct to consumers TV sets, but Intel is promising something different.

Erik Huggers, who worked on the BBC's iPlayer and now heads Intel Media, has gone on record as saying the user experience of many existing TV services is "absolutely dreadful, completely awful."

That's because services such as Apple TV offer a combination of video on-demand and apps, forcing users to browse through catalogs of media before they're able to watch anything. Intel's new service will likely take a broadcast-like approach of curated channels that require a minimum of interaction - think Pandora, not Spotify.

One way it will do this is by offering users the ability to subscribe to individual channels as opposed to a big and expensive cable bundle, but that's where it has run into problems with media companies.

"Persuading companies to license individual channels would require far higher fees than the companies currently receive," said the Wall Street Journal. "But Intel has so far reached at least one content deal, one of the people familiar with Intel's plans said, without identifying the partner."

However, even if Intel's TV doesn't make CES 2013, South Korean companies, Samsung and LG are both promising next generation Smart TVs, which will showcase online content streaming, for the event.

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