TechCrunch reports that Intel is planning on launching its own virtual cable TV service, along with a set top box, in the near future.
The news comes at a time when rumors of Apple’s own television service have been becoming more frequent.
To combat licensing issues, Intel has decided to roll out the service on a city-by-city basis rather than launching nationwide, allowing Intel to negotiate for control of smaller markets with content providers, who have been reluctant to hand over valuable licensing rights.
TechCrunch’s source, who is in the video distribution industry, and directly familiar with Intel’s plans, tells TechCrunch the semiconductor company is completely serious about getting its chips into the living room.
Intel decided to go it alone after its attempt to convince Smart TV manufacturers to use its chips in the intial launch of Google TV failed. The source says Intel was frustrated with “everyone doing a half-assed Google TV so it’s going to do it themselves and do it right.”
Intel’s is reportedly planning to create a set top box and subscription streaming TV service. They hope to appeal to those who want a streaming TV service, but don’t want to cut cable TV out completely for fear of losing other content, such as sports.
Apple has also been said to be working on a similar project, and the “Apple television” has been the source of much speculation and rumor.
Apple has been reported to be running into roadblocks obtaining content rights, which is thought to be one of the reasons Apple’s project hasn’t yet seen the light of day.
Intel is reported to be facing the same hurdles securing content deals. Content providers are unwilling to offer television channels piecemeal, because of contracts already in place with cable providers. The city-by-city launch by Intel is designed to work around that.
Intel’s cable TV service and set top box launch may come as soon as January 7th, at CES.