Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Can Intel Change The Face Of Cable?

Intel may be trying to do what Apple hasn't so far, build a new cable mousetrap that offers consumers their choice of programming, via the web, at a lower total cost.  How?  According to stories, they are building their own set top cable box that connects to broadband and delivers cable programming to the TV set.  It's called XBox, I mean Apple TV, sorry Roku; actually, it has no name yet.

But here is the problem, those best networks offering their TV shows are the same ones already getting license fees from cable operators like Comcast and Time Warner.  And these same networks may just be reluctant to upset the apple cart.  Why leave a guaranteed model which places you on the largest bundle of service for the chance to be picked a la carte by the individual consumer.  What is the win, a larger fee per user at the risk of less than 80% choosing your network.  And on top of that, these same top networks have second and third level networks that they also get license fees and carriage for distributing.  That's right, mixed in the purebreds are some possible mutts.  For these same programmers are doing what cable operators are doing, bundling their networks to assure fees and distribution.  Because once they are on the line-up they can begin to get additional advertising revenue billed as well.

Can Intel construct a deal to get programmers to come on board?  For smaller networks with little to lose, of course; but for the big guys, the ones that get the highest ratings, the opportunity is doubtful.  And that Intel can do a deal while Apple has been hard pressed to get more going with their own Apple TV box, let alone an Apple TV set seems a stretch for me.  Yes an Intel cable box could be in their pipeline; I just don't believe they will gain more channels than what is already accessible on other over the top devices.

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