Insider information has confirmed that Intel is planning to break into the TV set box business. Later this year the company known for their top of the line core processors will begin trying to cash in on the fast growing home entertainment business. The idea is to compete with companies such as Western Digital, Boxee, Roku and Apple in the set-top boxes along with TV makers such as LG, Panasonic, Sharp and others that sell units combining broadcast and internet content.
Intel will offer its own TV box that will combine both live TV and on-demand content along with a customize user interface. The unit will be sold directly to consumers , according to a company spokesperson. Intel has not set a specific date for the device’s launch, but did hint the unit will be available later this year. Company insiders do say that Intel has a team of developers dedicated to this particular project.
Although details on the exact specifics of the box are fairly sparse, Intel’s ground breaking foray into the world of home entertainment may also wind up being competition for providers such as Netflix, Google TV and Hulu Plus as well. It is not clear at this time if Intel plans to partner with any content providers or go out on their own.
Known for making top of the line computer chips, Intel sees the foray into home entertainment as a way to broaden their offerings and tap into new markets even though past attempts have not been overly successful for the company. In the past few years, Intel has produced TV-optimized chips for Google’s TV set top boxes and other similar set ups but the chips weren’t widely accepted.
With Intel winding down the retail TV business side, engineers have been assigned to other divisions with the goal of developing the means to for internet based delivery to TV’s, smartphones and other mobile devices. While Intel has always been known for its branding via “Intel Inside”, it has not so far been overly successful with direct consumer sales. It is hoped that the set-top box will change all that and that Intel has learned from its past mistakes when foraying into direct sales to the public. Industry experts see the production and sales of the TV set-top box as a test for the company to be able to produce and sell a unit that doesn’t just complement cable TV but replace it completely.