Intel Building A Set-Top Box and Net TV Service

While the PC industry is still very important, there is denying that it is starting to shrink as new technologies like tablets, smartphones, smart TVs and even set-top boxes start to steal some of its thunder.

This is why many companies have turned to alternatives like tablets, Chromebooks, game systems (Microsoft), and more as a supplement. Its not to say that the PC isn’t important, but as things change in the technology world it is best not to put all your eggs in one basket.

This is why even Intel, which has been a cornerstone of the PC market since the beginning, has started reaching out to the mobile world. Beyond their mobile plans though, there has been rumors floating around for a while now that Intel might consider jumping into the set-top box market.

At Dive into Media event today, Intel Media’s VP Erik Huggers confirmed that the set-top box was really happening. Here’s his initial statement,“We have been working for about a year now to set up a group called Intel Media. It’s a new division with new people — people [we’ve hired] from Apple, Netflix and Google. And it’s devoted to developing an Internet television platform.”

“For the first time, we will deliver a new consumer electronics product under a new brand,” says Huggers. “We’ll offer consumers a box, and they’ll buy this directly from us. It’ll be an Intel-powered device with fantastic industrial design. But it’s not just a device. We’re working with the entire industry to figure out how we get live TV to consumers over the Internet.”

Huggers further mentioned that this is not just about live TV over the Internet (which it and of itself is a HUGE deal), but on-demand services, apps and more. Huggers seemed to suggest that such a device and service could be launching this year.

If Intel can pull this off, this is a huge deal. It is interesting though that Microsoft isn’t mentioned in the list of people they are hiring from. You also have to wonder, what role if any will Microsoft play in all of this? While the Windows RT and ARM additions to Windows might have strained the Microsoft/Intel relationship a little, these two companies are still very much known for working closely together.

With Microsoft itself involved in the media game, what if the next Xbox worked with the TV service functions provided by the Intel-driven service? Keeping on that line of though, what if the service itself (the apps and more) was based on Windows NT technology like Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8? Considering Intel’s past relationship with Microsoft I don’t think that this idea is too unreasonable.

If the next Xbox and many future Microsoft tablets could tap into this Intel net-TV service, this could be a huge win for Microsoft and Intel. Although Intel might have the resources to go at this on their own, teaming up with Microsoft could end up helping both companies in the long-term.

What do you think of the idea of Intel building such a service? Could you see Microsoft getting involved with it as well or do you think this will be a solo effort on Intel’s part?

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