Why Verizon Buying Intel’s Internet TV Project Is Bad News

Senior Contributor
01.21.14 2 Comments

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Intel had big plans for its Intel Media division. But those big plans have not panned out; the entire project is being sold to Verizon. Here’s why that’s very bad news for everybody except TV providers.

The Dream

Intel’s set-top box was designed to be revolutionary. The idea was that it’d put all the television content on the Internet in one place, organizing it simply and easily and making cord-cutting a possibility for the masses. Essentially, instead of having to stream one season from Netflix, buy another from Amazon Instant Video, and then see the five episodes Hulu was allowed to post, you’d have it all in one place, easy to watch, easy to buy.

The idea was that you got a subscription and that subscription was tied to your tastes. You wanted nothing but sports? By God, you could make that happen. You wanted your TV to be nothing but Chuck Lorre shows? There’s a Nausea channel just for you. And now, that’s dead.

The Crushing Reality

Intel’s press release claims this will “accelerate the availability of next-generation video services”, but the reality is that this will do just the opposite. The simple fact of the matter is that cable providers, like Verizon, hate and fear any technology that might allow people to, you know, actually consume television in the manner of their choosing, without having to pay for crap they don’t want. And the people who sell them video content loathe that idea even more.

It’s likely you’ll see a form of this technology incorporated into Verizon FiOS, or possibly sold to non-FiOS customers, but the simple fact of the matter is that Verizon probably bought this technology to cripple it.

It’s true that you’ll still have the option to cut the cord, and the increasing reach of services such as Aereo are going to start squeezing cable companies more and more. But for now, expect the status quo to stay the same when it comes to television.

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