Feeds

back to article Intel's set-top TV effort snags on cable

Intel's plans for a set-top box that would provide US television viewers' nirvana – being able to subscribe to the good stuff and not a bundle of useless channels – is being delayed by, amazingly enough, the cable industry. Sources within Chipzilla had talked about a release of the devices early this year, with beta units going …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Pirate

Don't know I'd back Intel, specifically...

but I wish somebody would break the channel-bundling mindset. Why do I have to pay for 50+ channels of fucking ESPN? I'm an IT nerd, I don't watch sports other than maybe X-Games stuff. And then I have to pay for 75 OTHER (non-ESPN I guess) sports channels, 40+ Jesus channels, 20 shopping channels, and untold numbers of channels in languages I don't even speak?

Here's an idea, Cable Industry: let me pick the 20 or 30 channels I want to watch, and you charge me, say, $1.50 per channel per month. That includes you, DirectTV and DishNetwork. And you can even keep charging a premium for the "premium" movie channels like HBO, Showtime, etc.

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Don't know I'd back Intel, specifically...

Yes, I got rid of my cable TV, so I have Time Warner, Roadrunner, Comcast, etc actually sending physical sales people to my door. One of the deal breakers is "and I can have just the channels I want?" "oh yes, we have many lineups!!" "no... you're not listening..."

5
0
Bronze badge

Re: Don't know I'd back Intel, specifically...

it's called subsidizing. It's quite likely the channels you want(assuming tech related), if they came unbundled would cost you significantly more than $1.50/mo (I'd wager north of $10/mo). If people didn't pay for it then the channels would go away entirely (at those rates not many would pay). I suspect many folks would not pay enough to support these channels and they'd just die off, leaving only the most mainstream channels left around (the ones that folks like you seem to bitch about not wanting anything to do with).

Just look how well TV shows on the internet are doing (relatively to traditional broadcast) if you want to see how well this model might work (it hasn't worked to-date anyway outside of hobbyist videos).

2
2
FAIL

Re: Don't know I'd back Intel, specifically...

And the problem with that would be?

If they are not popular enough to stand on their own at $1.50/mo, then why should they be subsidized?

BTW, I haven't had cable for 13 years, since I moved into a house and the cable company told me I would have to pay to have the previous owners channel choices removed.

Fail for the cable providers.

3
0
Pirate

Re: Don't know I'd back Intel, specifically...

Err, the channels I watch all run commercials, so that should ideally be their revenue stream, same as it was for broadcast TV. If the cable channels were commercial-free, I could see your point. But they aren't. They are laden with commercials.

And as others have said, if a channel isn't popular enough to stand on its own, then why does it get to stay?

3
0

Re: Don't know I'd back Intel, specifically...

At this point all of the channels I used to love and want unbundled are now ad-infested reality TV. The whole Discovery Network is dead to me now, and Logo is nearly as bad. The basic cable channels have been horrible since back when I was a kid, too bad all the rest followed.

I could now live with nothing but Food Network, Cooking, AMC, and a few premium movie channels. Even if I paid the same as I do now, it might mean less commercials and at the very least my money is going where I want it to, not the ESPN juggernaut.

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

BBC Sport in the US - BRING IT!

I now acquire the BBC Sports MotoGP programming through the internet and it is absolutely top notch. (Of course about anything would be an improvement on US channels)

I'd love to be able to actually buy it as a channel I could watch all the time. That would be awesome enough that I'd buy cable and start watching TV again.

0
0
JB
WTF?

iPlayer America

"What? You mean the BBC make other programs besides Top Gear?"

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Top gear franchise

And here's your reason why the beeb hasn't sorted out iplayer is the US. They make more selling top gear to cable than thye'd make from individual iplayer accounts.

2
0
WTF?

Re: Top gear franchise

"They make more selling top gear to cable"

To themselves, you mean? BBC America did originally belong to someone else, but it's a fully integrated part of BBC Worldwide these days.

0
1
Facepalm

Re: Top gear franchise

Last time I checked BBC America didn't own a broadcast network.

0
0

Re: Top gear franchise

Has anyone checked the schedule on BBC America recently? Today there's 5 episodes of "Law & Order UK" (less than 40 episodes made, so they could show the whole series in 2 weeks at that rate, even if they do something else at the weekends), a couple of hours of BBC World News, an episode of the Graham Norton show (at 9AM!), and episode of Dr Who, an episode of Battlestar Galactica, 4 hours of Gordon Ramsay and 8 hours of Top Gear. Oh and they stick and hour of "childrens programming" in between the BBC World News and Graham Norton at 8AM.

Really top class stuff - the America media execs must be really shaking in their boots that ordinary Americans might discover what they've been missing.

Not!

BBC America occasionally (maybe 5 or 6 times a year) carries some quality new show that's worth watching. But if I had to chose between $1.50/month for BBC America and $5/month for USA Network or TNT or AMC, I'd pass on BB America. Top Gear is amusing, but it's just fodder - nobody actually stays home to watch it.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

The IP TV market will never take off in the States until they get a regulator that isn't part of the cartel. To be honest truly diverse and rich services wont take off anywhere until the media industries and tech companies are forced to behave in a way that benefits the consumer instead of their own fat arse pockets.

0
0
Megaphone

As for the license fee...

That £145.50 ($237) fee may sound cheap to the author, but I can't see a lot of people in the US going for the iPlayer at a price like that.

OTOH, there are a ton of people who are fans of one individual show or another. I for one would be happy to fork over $1.99 per episode for a chance to watch Top Gear unmangled right after it airs in the UK, rather than months later with almost a third of it hacked out for commercials.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: As for the license fee...

£145.50/year Hah! I'd take it, here in Oz.

Foxtel will set you back $40/month before you've got any of the channels you want. Most people are looking at $80-$100+/month.

Telstra with their foxtel link won't appreciate it, but iinet might be willing to cache content. Just don't force me to take one of their BoB thingys or overly compress it.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: As for the license fee...

I thought that the BBC doesn't make programmes any more; it just commissions them (or buys them in from abroad).

If it wants to sell the entire BBC channel output abroad, I imagine its cost base will go up accordingly, because it will have to buy worldwide licences rather than UK licences.

0
0

Channel Bugs and Overlay Graphics

When a company takes the time to develop the firmware to allow the end users to actually choose the format that they desire, and block Channel Identifier Bugs and Pop-up Overlay Graphics from running across the screen during shows that users are watching..............Then the world of Tubers will beat a path to their door.

2
0
Bronze badge

Die, TBN, Die

I have been asking for unbundled cable/sat tv for ages. Where I am currently living, I would have to subscribe to all three levels of packages to get the 5-7 channels that I would watch. Like other here, I would get the nerd package including Discovery, TLC, NatGeo, Science, History, BBC and perhaps a couple of others. I would much rather have 4 channels of BBC offerings than 12 channels of ESPN. I don't care for sport.

I understand the business model of packaging, but there can be other models that can support individual choice. Many lesser watched channels and networks may have to close if this happens. I hardily support the Darwinian selection process for TV. As I "believe" in Darwin more than a supreme being, I am not interested in having a couple of dozen religious channels that I have to edit out every time there is a lineup reorg. The age old saying of "500 channels and nothing on" is still relevant after a the few decades since it was coined.

I worked for a specialty magazine that folded after a couple of years as its subject matter wasn't broad enough to bring in a large enough subscription base. The prices that can be charged for advertising is tied to the number of subscribers and a magazine needs to make at least a certain amount of money every month or it can't survive even with the leanest staffing. Sucked for me as I really enjoyed the work. After the magazine ceased publication there was some talk about an online version that could be produced for less since they wouldn't need premises and some of the staff involved with preparing a printed edition, but that fell through since ad rates for online ads are even less than printed ads.

The above story may be what happens to some of the specialty channels that can't draw a big enough audience. A few might be able to change to an online format and many others will die. Why should there be welfare for TV shows?

Disclaimer: I don't subscribe to any TV service anymore.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: "Christian" TV Channels

I'm a Christian, and from my limited exposure to the God channel and other similar channels I think Christians would be better off without them, too. I'm not a Roman Catholic, but their US channel (EWC I think) was much better than any Protestant channel, at least when it was laughable it was only because they had a monk doing a youth show instead of being insipid worse and saying 'this poor couple donated the few dollars they had to our TV station and a washing machine just turned up at their door overnight!' (CBN/700 club *shudder*).

Too many US Christian speakers become 'brands' with whole industries* around them.

*Note the use of the word 'industry' instead of church or congregation.

0
0
IR

The cable companies make it sound as if they want to keep the specialist channels part of a bundle so that you have access to them them. What they really want is for you to pay for the complete bundle that includes a particular channel, even if you don't watch the rest. The psychological aspect is that you are getting more for your money, even if you aren't going to use any of the extras. And because these silly mind tricks work on so many people, the rest of us are stuck with it.

My DVR keeps track of the channels I watch the most. Taking out local news channels, I watch six channels about 95% of the viewing time. The other 5% are from movies on random channels that I don't see otherwise. I expect that most people are roughly similar although with different channels. If I paid $10 per channel then I'd still save money, although even in that case I think I'd probably only go for 3-4 channels and use the saved money for Netflix for the programmes on the channels I drop.

We just need a few brave channels to start livestreaming, but I'm sure that the cable companies forbid them from doing so in their contract.

1
0
Silver badge

Why would anyone think that INTEL would be the one to buck the system?

Microsoft has been trying to do this for well over a decade, Google has been trying it for a few years, and Apple has been rumored to be doing so (probably since the first AppleTV device was on the drawing board)

If none of these guys, who unlike Intel actually have experience making media deals and selling products to end users, have been successful why would anyone think Intel would do better?

1
0

Re: Why would anyone think that INTEL would be the one to buck the system?

I haven't yet seen an indication (from Intel) that they intend to do much beyond design a platform. There are indications that they've licensed RDK, but so has practically everyone else in the CE market and they might be packaging a technical solution (instead of offering a bare chip) but I doubt they will get into the content rights game.

0
0
Silver badge
WTF?

BBC America gets 25 million viewers a month and numerous awards

Why the surprise? Even a channel showing bread dough rising would be more interesting than some of the visual garbage fed to US viewers.

And it's not much better on international channels where the Discovery channel group (we having a 'Premier' show repeated 5 times so far in different YEARS) and the Nat Geo group are both playing "if we edit the original show this must be new. Right?" game and 10-year old re-runs CSI-Somewhere are padding out other channels.

I'm awaiting the schedules to start re-running "I Love Lucy" crap soon.

The real kicker is that our Discovery channel content is so old that NEWER seasons, shown on 'Western' satellites can be downloaded from InterNet.

Little wonder the Beb is so successful.

Of course, we are not talking about BBC World, which is as bad as many other satellite channels. And this explains why I haven't bothered to improve the signal-to-noise ratio by removing the bird guano (our dishes point almost directly vertical).

0
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

iplayer content is 'available' in America

If you use a UK proxy to load up iplayer, the actual rtmp stream comes from American content servers..

It's just getting that damn rtmp url in the first place...... but i'm sure there are public uk proxies out there, and it doesn't matter if they are slow, because once the page has loaded, the stream is fast and direct

0
0

Not a technology problem...

...it is a content and licensing problem. Premium content raises the most money when sold exclusively by territory. Unless you can bid enough to buy exclusively or at least make a non-exclusive purchase lucrative enough to outweigh a premium sale you or Intel won't get the best content at least for the first run.

It doesn't make sense for Intel to spend a sufficient amount on content to scare the cable companies and Sky's of this world.

Likewise the BBC doesn't have FULL rights to enough content to offer a worthwhile iPlayer outside the UK. Whether the format is bought in or the production company retains substantial rights or it has been sold to a US channel already there are some restrictions on most content outside of the news and current affairs programmes. Now those may over time be negotiated and managed but with no amount of money could the BBC just offer an iPlayer with the same content in the US. BBC America show a mixture of BBC, Channel 4 and probably some ITV content too where the rights can be obtained affordably which might be possible for BBC iPlayer to do too but the content line up will not be similar to the UK one and in practice would probably be a subset of Netflix's offer.

1
0
Pint

Re: Not a technology problem...

but since its easily done technologically speaking, someone will do it, for nothing, and someone copies them and...hey haven't we been down that road with other stuff?

0
0

Re: Not a technology problem...

There are already lots of internet sites doing channel rebroadcasting outside of the normal reach of the law, and they've been around for many years, although the individual sites come and go. It's merely a Google away, but since most of them aren't advertised except through word of mouth, they'll never seriously catch on.

0
0
Go

Iplayer IS available worldwide.

For those in foreign parts from Blighty, (Like me!) tunlr.net offers all you need to watch Iplayer. For free. But do feel welcome to contribute by buying a license fee. I'm still paying mine for my UK home.

0
0

Intel needs to focus on volume chips

phones/tablets/tv's/set top boxes are the only way they will pay for their expensive fab addiction.

unfortunately you cannot change the quickly in the IT chip world and intel is doomed for the next few years as PC's go from a 1-2 year refresh to 4-5 and phones/tablets instead get refreshed every 2 years.

did i mention windows 8 is bipolar? it truly sucks its like I am running vmware and two o/s's and have to switch back and forth to do what i used to do with just windows. extremely annoying

0
0
Bronze badge
Boffin

We already have a provider trying this model over in Malaysia

And well, it was balanced out by making individual channels somewhat expensive. For example, I'm paying some 36 Malaysian dollars for 6 channels. I believe a provider in Singapore is also trying the idea out and is charging the similar rates for a channel ala-carte compared to a bundle of channels.

So yeah. Just because they'll offer it "ala-carte" doesn't mean that it would be cheaper. The cable industry is run by the same people as the MPAssA, so it comes as no surprise.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.