Intel has finally confirmed its much rumored revolutionary TV gadget and, as expected, it will not offer à la carte cable channels. But after a CES letdown the chip-maker has said its Silicon Valley star-studded Intel Media group will build a potentially game-changing set-top box — one that might just end up slicing your cable bill. At an AllThingsD conference this afternoon, Intel VP Erik Huggers not only detailed that this as yet unnamed magic box will combine DVR, live TV, and apps, but also explained how it will provide a cable alternative. Instead of requiring a subscription from a standard pay-TV provider, Intel will offer its own different bundles. So, for example, someone who wants the ESPN/Disney package might get all the ESPN channels they love, plus ABC Family, the Disney Channel, A&E, the History Channel, and other stuff owned by Disney, suggests Business Insider's Steve Kovach.
Intel has not confirmed how its bundles will look, or the pricing options therein. But if Intel offers non-Disney/ESPN packages, those should theoretically cost a lot less — the rates of ESPN and other sports-bound networks push up the price of basic cable. And for all those people out there who don't at all care about sports, it might be nice to stop subsidizing it for everybody else. Again, Intel's Huggers didn't specify whether the company's new device, set to debut sometime this year, would break that contractual dilemma that gouges TV package prices. But he did mention a more "flexible environment,' which sounds promising:
I agree that consumers want choice and convenience, but I think there is value in bundles. If bundles are bundled right, I think there's real value in that, and opportunities to create a more flexible environment where end-users have more choice than they do today. I don't believe the industry is ready for true à la carte.