On the last day of 2012, I wrote an article over at Forbes expressing my skepticism about Intel’s rumored over-the-top video subscription and hardware package. Some felt I was being a little unfair to the chip giant, despite the fact that it has a long and tortuous history of creating end-user consumer media products that never succeed.
One Corey Chambers wrote:
“Useless article by Forbes and Wolf. He is obsesses [sic] about how bad Intel is at consumer products while completely ignorant of what the new Over the Top product actually is.”
Well, he was right about one thing: At the time, I didn’t know a whole lot about what Intel was looking to offer. What I did know, however, was Intel — a semiconductor company with no history of introducing consumer media products into the market with any type of success — was attempting to do what Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Google, and others have yet to really do: introduce an over-the-top cable replacement.
Yes, I guess you can say I was a little dubious about the company’s chances.
So when Intel VP Erik Huggers got up on stage last month at All Things Digital’s media conference, I was hoping he could shed some light on Intel’s plans and show me something that would change my mind, maybe an angle they were pursuing that no one had thought of.
Instead, he seemed to shrink a bit under Walt Mossberg and Peter Kafka’s line of questioning (Mossberg was pretty skeptical himself), and while he did give an almost professorial defense of content bundles, there was no real convincing argument for why Intel would be the right company to deliver a combination of hardware, software, and subscription services for consumers.
And on Thursday when GM Eric Free revealed Intel is in limited trials for its service on the West Coast — as of now the service is being tested by Intel employees — there was talk again of innovate content bundles, integration of social and search, and improved UIs: in other words, pretty what everyone else in video programming is talking about.
So three months later, as details leak out and the company’s big media guns get on stage to make their case, I guess you can say I’m still skeptical, having yet to see anything out of Intel to convince me what it is doing will enable it to become a serious player in this space. In reality, Intel needs an angle here since, as I’ve said before, the living room is where giants go to die. Unless Intel brings something new and different to the table, my skepticism about its chances will likely only grow in time.