Apple, Intel Can Both Win Television

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I spend countless hours questioning what I think I know about everything from reasons for my existence to less lofty propositions such as what will Apple ( AAPL) do next and can Intel ( INTC) succeed in the living room?

It's a tortuous process that usually ends with frustration upon the realization that I know nothing , followed by the decision to move forward anyway with careful consideration, reflection and introspection.

It's liberating to come to the conclusion that you know nothing. This seemingly unfortunate outcome keeps you humble, but, more importantly, keeps the wheels of critical thought turning. Because, if you discovered you actually know something, you might shut off that portion of your investigation. Not good.

All of this to say, very few people have even the foggiest idea of what's happening inside Apple. Sadly, all of the latest rumors combine to create a false perception of reality that brings us to what we have now -- the media's Apple versus Apple's Apple.

We have access to the former because it's cheap -- often free -- and the folks who craft the media's Apple want to let us in. They require our participation. Apple has no interest and no reason to let anybody, other than those already on the inside, behind the curtain.

Intel doesn't say much either. However, in an excellent interview with All Things D, Erik Huggers, the President of Intel Media -- the division that might actually save Intel from an embarrassing death spiral -- said a heck of a lot more than Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have combined to say about the living room in the last five years.

Here's what we know, straight from Huggers' mouth:
  • Intel will do a set-top box. In fact, it already has one, you just aren't allowed to see it. Yet.
  • It has a unique brand name, but Huggers can't tell us what it is.
  • We'll probably see it before the end of the year.
  • Talks with big media companies are going well.
  • The consumer will have better control over what they consume and when they consume it.
  • You should be able to do things such as take one Netflix (NFLX) account and personalize it for individual users. No more seeing your kids recommendations when you sit down to binge on Netflix.

That's at least the good stuff I took away from Huggers' talk.

He's a confident guy. Clearly smart. And I like him, in part, because he made it a point to say that Intel Media is completely separate from the Intel we know. A separate building, plenty of new outside hires, and a totally different culture. But then, as to not offend or send a message contrary to the company line, he threw in but we're really proud to be part of this great Silicon Valley beast with so much history. I read you loud and clear, brother.

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