Intel is also working on a TV service called OnCue, which is expected to launch later this year. The service would play through a yet-unannounced box that would function like a cable box, but which would deliver TV shows via the Internet.
The device is expected to not only stream shows, but record and retain them for up to a week. It also may offer music and gaming services.
The unannounced tagline of OnCue appears to be “TV has come to its senses” -- a possible reference to the use of sensors to identify who’s in the room so that suggested content can be customized and also the use of in-the-air gestures for controlling the service. Intel recently acquired an Israeli-based company called Omek Interactive, which makes Kinect-like gesture devices.
Sony has been making some interesting news in the realm of content licensing recently.
For example, the company has changed its download policy for its Video Unlimited service, removing DRM and enabling any TV show or movie downloaded to a PlayStation to be available for download forever and on any device, including tablets and phones.
Speaking of the sudden rush of announcements from tech companies preparing to offer TV, the Journal reported that "the Internet-TV services could have major implications for the traditional TV ecosystem, creating new competition for pay-TV operators that are already struggling to retain video subscribers."
Yeah, no kidding.
The challenge is that media companies have existing deals in place with cable companies and others, which new contracts for delivering directly over the Internet would undermine. The new Silicon Valley players would have to outbid these older deals. Individually, they are unlikely to because they're looking to offer shows at very low rates. But collectively, they just might.
Any studio that opts out of deals with these companies risks being left behind as consumers embrace Internet-delivered TV over cable and, in a worst-case scenario, alternatives to studio-produced content.
So how does that “kill” TV?
Well, once a living room screen no longer needs to be able to receive signals from the air or from a table box, and gets all media from the Internet, it’s not a TV anymore. It’s just a PC with a very large screen: The dedicated TV becomes obsolete.
More interestingly, every Internet-connected screen -- PCs, laptops, tablets and phones -- becomes every bit as capable as the TV in the living room of functioning as a TV set. The dedicated TV becomes unnecessary.
Once television is just another web site, just another source of content on the social networks and just another app, the whole TV set idea will seem quaint and old-fashioned.
In fifteen years, kids may ask their parents: “What’s a TV?”