Intel Jumps Into Living Room with Internet TV Device

Intel Corp., known more for its semiconductors than its media prowess, on Tuesday confirmed that it will be jumping into the crowded Internet television business later this year with a device that will allow users to stream live and on-demand content, including pay-TV shows.

General Manager of Intel Media Erik Huggers, who made the announcement at the AllThingsD Dive Into Media conference, said the device could have a camera that can sense who is in front of the TV set in order to serve up personalized content. While Intel is focused on paid television content, many similar devices have also integrated streaming music services as a way to become an all-in-one entertainment hub for the living room.

Huggers, who previously worked at the BBC as the Director of Future Media & Technology, said Intel’s offering would be more compelling than rival offerings from Roku, AppleTV and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 because it will offer a “superior experience” including on-demand shows and “catch-up” TV that gives viewers a chance to watch episodes they’ve missed without having to search them out on disparate streaming services.

He cited the BBC’s iPlayer as an example, which lets viewers access all BBC content online for 7 days after the content initially airs on a BBC channel.

“It’s a cloud service that offers true catch-up TV,” Huggers said.

The device, which is scheduled to launch this year, will carry a new brand, separate from Intel, but Huggers declined to disclose the name, pricing, content partners or launch date.

Intel’s efforts to use the Internet as a catapult into the living room was an evolving theme at the Dive Into Media conference. HBO also announced that its HBO Go service, which lets paying cable subscribers access HBO shows on connected devices such as the Xbox 360 game console, will also be available to stream from a connected device to a TV via Apple’s AirPlay.

However, HBO Go will not yet be on AppleTV, highlighting the fragmented and complicated nature of cable content as it takes baby steps into the world of Internet-based distribution channels.