The Consumer Electronics Show is back, and it's underway with a bang ... or is it a whimper? Intel's big TV announcement — the set-top box that was supposed to revolutionize the cable industry via subscribe-by-channel deals — is not a box at all, and it will not, in fact, change the way you pay for television. At its CES keynote Monday afternoon, the chip-maker announced a key partnership with Comcast that will allow the cable giant to run its Xfinity channels — all of them — live through televisions and other gadgets, except now without a set-top box.
So much for à la carte cable channels, as the most over-the-top of rumors had suggested. Now you'll just get cable TV inside your TV. The new Intel deal will reduce some of the annoying steps for Comcast customers, including setting up equipment and installation. But it doesn't take the bigger stroke of getting rid of all those channels you don't want — and it also only works from a single location. Intel didn't announce when this "innovation" would reach subscribers, but the chips that will make it all happen should reach manufacturers sometime this year.