Intel to offer à la carte pricing for Internet-delivered programming

Although Intel Corp. has made no formal announcement yet, reports from several media sources report the chip maker is about to unveil its own over-the-top (OTT) Internet-based television service. If true, Intel will be the first video service with à la carte pricing. Such a deal could shake up cable providers, which have so far only bundled programming for one price. 

The new service would work over the Internet, but would require an Intel-provided set-top box. Forbes reported that “this set-top box, said by industry insiders to be available to a limited beta of customers in March, will offer cable channels delivered ‘over the top’ to televisions anywhere there is an Internet connection regardless of provider.”

The report said, for the first time, viewers will be able to subscribe to content per channel, unlike bundled cable services, and subscribers may also be able to subscribe per show. They will also have access to the company’s existing app marketplace for apps, casual games and video on demand content.

Intel also plans to give subscribers the ability to use a cloud-based DVR that allows users to watch any past TV show at any time, without the need to record it ahead of time, pause live TV and rewind shows in progress.

According to GigaOM, the company has spent more than $100 million on the project. Research and development, a report said, has been going on in a nondescript office building between two parking structures in a corner of the Intel Campus in Santa Clara, CA.

Sean Ludick, who helped Jawbone design and market its well-received Bluetooth speakers, is overseeing development of Intel’s set-top box, according to GigaOM. Also onboard is Courtnee Westendorf, who worked for more than a decade at Apple, where she managed global marketing for the iPhone and iPod. She is now head of marketing at Intel Media.

Intel is currently in the process of securing the rights to individual TV channels over the Internet. 

Previously, Intel has made the chip sets for Internet TV devices, including the Google TV and first-generation Boxee Box. Neither product was successful with consumers. This time, Intel appears intent on getting it right in order to serve a rapidly growing segment of the media consumption universe.