Peter Kafka

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New Intel CEO Says Intel TV Sounds Great in Theory. But …

Erik Huggers

Erik Huggers

Since February, Intel executives have been promising to launch a Web TV subscription service sometime this year. And they’re still making those promises.

But Intel also has a new CEO. And while Brian Krzanich is still supporting the TV project, led by BBC veteran Erik Huggers, he doesn’t sound convinced about Intel TV’s prospects.

This messaging comes from a Reuters piece, which says Krzanich took a “cautious tone” about Intel TV in a recent interview (presumably today), and “said Intel continues to look at the business model.”

The Reuters piece doesn’t spend a lot of time on Kraznich’s TV comments. Which makes sense, because even if he was incredibly enthusiastic about TV, that business would be a small play for Intel for some time.

Here are the two quotes Reuters provides from him on the topic:

  • “We believe we have a great user interface and the compression-decompression technology is fantastic. But in the end, if we want to provide that service it comes down to content. We are not big content players.”
  • “We’re being cautious. We’re experts in silicon, we’re experts in mobility, in driving Moore’s law,” Krzanich said. “But we are not experts in the content industry and we’re being careful.”

I wasn’t in the interview, but will assume Reuters captured Krzanich’s tone and words correctly (I’ve asked them for comment). And if they did, all it really means is that Krzanich has the same question everyone outside of Intel has about Intel TV — can the company really get their hands on enough programming, at the right price, to make a product that would compete with traditional pay TV?

We won’t know that until Intel actually launches — or at least until they’ve announced distribution deals with the major TV networks. So far they haven’t.

And although there has been recent speculation that entrenched incumbents like Time Warner Cable are blocking their way, people with knowledge of Intel’s negotiations with the biggest programmers say that’s not the case: If Intel is willing to pay up, the networks will put out. Let’s see what happens over the next six months.

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— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”