Intel Preps Set Top Box with Streaming Content

Intel being in the set-top business isn't news. The company has been producing SoCs that are ideal for boxes that hum along 24/7 handling media-related tasks, and while these chips aren't nearly as well-known as the Xeons and Pentiums of the world, they're being shipped in a large amount of products. But what if we told you those shipments were just the taste of larger aspirations for the company? A new report from TechCrunch suggests that Intel could be about to launch a "virtual cable TV service" as well as a dedicated set-top box, which could begin the up-ending of the pay-TV universe. To be honest, that universe has long been ripe for disruption, and people have been hounding Apple to do the disrupting for years.

Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook changed his tune on the Apple TV, upgrading it from "a hobby" to something far, far more interesting. It's unclear if Apple and Intel are about to hit the pay-TV world at about the same time, but at least Intel looks poised to do some moving and shaking soon. Reportedly, Intel's services will begin as a slow rollout to certain cities, similar to how Google has focused its Fiber rollout to the Kansas City region. The box may also advance the idea of a DVR by tapping into the cloud, and Intel seems dead-set on getting its processors into the living room.

Evidently, Intel wasn't too keen on trying to shove chips into half-hearted Google TV boxes, so it decided to take matters into its own hands. In sum, we could see an Intel STB as well as a partner subscription TV service that could potentially interest consumers who want a splash of streaming but don't want to entirely cut the cord and lose things like live sporting events. It could be the hybrid compromise that the industry has been longing for, and it would almost certainly give Intel another major revenue stream as people move away from desktops and towards tablets -- a place where Intel just hasn't made an impact yet.