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Intel Will Beat Apple in the Living Room

Big media doesn't need Apple. It's doing better than it ever has in its history. Have a look at the relative outperformance of the stocks in the sector. Plus, big media are not incredibly fond of the people Apple brings to negotiations.

Expect Intel to cut meaningful content deals. I would be surprised if more than a few are not already signed and sealed. Don't expect the same from Apple; we'll be lucky if we get more than an update to the existing Apple TV this year.

Simply put, Intel positions itself as a good partner. That's not the game Apple plays and, even if starts trying, it doesn't have respected names like Huggers . . . names New York and Hollywood greet with handshakes, not guarded skepticism.

The user experience Intel is working on for its set-top box could transform the living room experience. From what I ascertain, Tim Cook is lost. And few people in the industry believe Steve Ballmer will ever properly position Xbox to be a true contender.

Intel TV will organize content in the most intuitive way, while keep some of the features consumers have become comfortable with, such as grid-like program schedules, as options. It will evolve from its launch as its users get to know the services. These updates will take place in the background, possibly without prompts, and will not require new hardware. And, while it might not happen at launch, Intel TV will be more social than anything that has come before it.

For example, expect a feature to be known, tentatively, as Watch With. You have Intel service in New York. Your friend has it in Chicago. The Rangers are playing the Blackhawks. You want to simulate the experience of watching the game together. You will be able to open windows into one another's living rooms and view the game together. Less invasive social options will also be available.

I'm still not sure I have faith in what Intel is doing -- or not doing -- with its core businesses, however, come the end of this year and into next, I'm confident about two things: Intel's TV venture will be a company bright spot and it will make Apple's foray into the living room look even more behind schedule than it presently appears. And it will serve as another factor that leads to Tim Cook's departure as Apple CEO.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.
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