Intel Corporation (INTC) Online TV Service Isn’t A Threat To Pace Plc

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Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) reveals its intent to enter the Internet-enabled STB space. It looks to be going head-to-head with the PayTV players offering a set-top box (STB) + over the top (OTT) streaming media service. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) doesn’t actually have a name yet for the service but it’s thought to have live TV, catch-up and apps.

According to a report from Jefferies, there is no threat to Pace plc’s (LON:PIC)’s 2013 business; the analysts think this rubber stamps the Internet TV push as a real market development – many are invested here now – but one that is still ill-defined from a market positioning and price/service perspective and unlikely to massively disrupt the status quo for a couple of years yet.

Intel Corporation (INTC) Online TV Service Isn't A Threat To Pace Plc

Analysts believe, there does not appear to be anything revolutionary in this offering, over and above what other OTT plays are coming up with and this may see weak uptake in this first generation. The analysts’ initial guess is that the USP will be (i) design not price, (ii) tailored viewing (alongside targeted advertising), and (iii) perhaps a chance to tie up to other screens such as ultrabooks or laptops.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) wants (and needs) to be in the upcoming “battle for the living room” where rival ecosystems look set to clash in the long term.

Content deals sound thin – curiously, no potential content partner shared the stage with Intel. Rumors of an Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) set-top box and TV service emerged in late 4Q12 and analysts believed that something similar to the AppleTV puck was on its way.

The design may be a little more considered than the anonymous black cube but it looks as though content provision will be limited (initially at least) and that this platform has been rushed to market ahead of similarly rumored rival platforms (Apple?). Content provision will as ever make or break this move – a la carte content is unlikely to be on the menu at first and Intel will be hoping that this evolves though generations of the device.

This should be more seen as “things Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) will have to do in the post-PC era” than necessarily a rampant threat to PayTV guys. All in, this gives Intel a chance at some volume but Jefferies’ analyst believe it’s tied too tightly to a nascent service platform (plus you pay for both the service and box) and has a camera to snoop on viewers’ habits – not sure we are ready for that yet.

But it’s worth noting that Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has been superb at dictating specs to PC boxmakers (and reference design; even helped them source other components etc.) and has been working with ODMs for a while (knows the Taiwanese supply chain inside out), so the venture is not without its merits.

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