While many have speculated about the Apple TV with a Pay TV subscription, Intel may be farther along in talks with programmers to build a new service. "Networks such as Time Warner’s CNN, NBC’s USA Network and Viacom’s MTV would give Intel critical mass to offer consumers an alternative to established pay-TV services. Using its own set-top box, Intel plans to offer an online product this year, Erik Huggers, Intel’s vice president for media, said last month. That would represent new competition for incumbent operators like Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) and DirecTV. (DTV)." And working from scratch, Intel could avoid the problems plaguing these current distributors, by not offering expensive networks, especially sports networks, that raise the costs and hurt the profit margin. With less linear channels and more access to on demand programming, Intel could build a low cost, higher valued Pay TV service that would attract price conscious households.
Also of interest, Intel would offer a DVR service in the cloud, rather than stored in their set top box. Such an approach would make it easier to offer from the outset a TV Everywhere model for access of programming on all the household's devices. These requirements are no doubt also being negotiated with the networks. How fast Intel can build its model and whether Apple is working furiously behind the scenes to get to market first remain to be seen. No doubt, the consumer interest for a better viewing experience is growing.