Intel said to be prepping set-top box

Would combine cable TV with online streaming services
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Intel apparently doesn't believe the set-top box is dead. The monster chipmaker reportedly will use its press conference at next week's CES in Las Vegas to introduce a new box that reports say will contain elements of premium cable TV reception with access to streaming video services like Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX).

The box is apparently being aimed at the U.S. market, where it will be launched on a city-by-city regional basis so Intel can "overcome licensing hurdles" for local content, according to a story in TechCrunch. It's also aimed at folks who don't want to depend solely on streaming online video for their home entertainment.

Intel's incursion into the cable-streaming set-top box business comes as both Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) dither away with planned introductions of competitive TV services and also after Google took steps to sell off its Motorola Home Business unit to Arris (Nasdaq: ARRS). The most immediate benefit to Intel would be the inclusion of more of its chips into more devices across a wider range of users.

Intel had originally been part of a Google TV deal with smart TVs, but that seemed to fall apart over time. Now, sources told TechCrunch, the silicon maker wants to go it alone and "do it right."

The box is expected to appeal to people who want a subscription TV service but also want streaming TV access: the best of both worlds that gives access to the MVPD-provided live content like sports and the streaming movies and TV shows which would be piped in via traditional streaming players like Redbox and Netflix.

The TechCrunch piece, written by Josh Constine, also noted a feature that "could be a real game changer for the digital video recorder experience": technology that would let people recall and watch any programming that aired in the previous month on any subscribed channel.

"That means no worrying about scheduling what to record," the story said, before qualifying that it's possible this isn't feasible but "if it is, it could convince people to ditch their current set-top box for one with Intel inside and out."

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