The best ever?

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Hey, remember all the rumors regarding Intel jumping into the Internet television world? You know — the subject of this very blog’s very first post (sans the world-wide phenomenon named Netflix Pix) of 2013? The notion that The Big I was concocting plans to throw its hat into the Web TV ring is old news, is it not? This all sounds familiar, right? Good. Because Tuesday, corporate vice president at Intel Media Erik Huggers confirmed all the speculation at something called Dive Into Media. Take it away, John Paczkowski …

“We have been working for about a year now to set up a group called Intel Media,” Huggers told Paczkowski this week. “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.”

Now, for the money line: “That group’s mandate: Build the best Internet television service ever,” Paczkowski wrote.

Boy. Ever? As in, ever-ever? As in, ever-ever-ever? As in, ever-ever-ever-ever? As in … OK, nevermind.

Naturally, the announcement has come with its share of detractors. And we are nothing if we have not a share of detractors, says somebody who speaks Shakespearean. Peter Smith, of the website IT World, chimed in Wednesday. 

“The first problem is that it sounds like the service won’t be cheap,” Smith wrote. “Huggers said Intel TV (not the official name; no name has been revealed yet) is ‘not about a value play’ and that rather than offer a la carte channels, the service will offer bundles of channels. So you can expect to still be paying for channels you don’t watch.

“The second problem,” he continued, “is that the Intel TV box has a camera in it. This camera is intended to deliver personalized content and targeted advertisements by observing who is watching TV, and when. The exact details are still rather vague. I understand how this could offer value; if I sit down it’ll see that it’s me watching and offer up my favorite shows. But I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like I’m giving up a lot of privacy in exchange for this feature. Do you want Intel to know you ate that whole pint of ice cream while watching ‘Twilight?’ I didn’t think so.”

Well, I’m sorry, Mr. Smith, but perfection (ha!) shouldn’t be ridiculed for something as silly as a price tag, duh.

As for the second problem … sigh. I mean, for as much as I’ve been trumpeting this whole Internet TV thing for the last almost-two-years, I simply can’t imagine justifying a device that would video me sitting down in my living room, as Tina Fey once said, pants or no pants. The thought sends a bit of a shiver through my back, actually. Have we become so lazy that we now want technology to take one look at us, giggle at how fat we are in its electronic voice, and offer a lineup of shows it thinks we might want to watch? Come on, guys — that’s why remote controls were made!

Anyway, the bigger takeaway from this is the notion that Intel is actually moving forward with launching this product while … everyone else continues to sit back and mask their laziness by proclaiming that “they haven’t figured out a profitable model” for the whole practice yet. Time is running out for Intel’s sexiest competitors (cough, Apple, cough) to get in on this thing before some company establishes itself as the go-to place for Web TV products. Lest we not forget a time when you couldn’t go 45 seconds without hearing the phrase “Intel Pentium Processor” during a commercial break. Who’s to say something like “Intel Set Top” couldn’t be the next three-word utterance that subliminally creeps its way into each 1-minute technology spot between episodes of “Duck Dynasty?” (Side: What’s “Duck Dynasty?”).

And so it goes. Intel has officially picked up its race bib in this marathon of a competition and is heading to the starting blocks. Who could possibly be next?

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