I first I didn't think much of this but now that I read the article, I think Intel is being serious here.
Why? Well Intel's primary business (PC CPUs) has either been stagnant or shrinking for the last few years with no end in sight. Yes, they've all but killed AMD but that's not the real competition anymore. Intel has completely missed the mobile revolution and now they have to look for new places for growth. The set top box market may be an interesting one since a particular platform hasn't really emerged yet. The current cable company supplied boxes have always been lame. Google TV has never took off due to complexity and Google's hamfisted approach to dealing with the giant media companies. And Apple has all but frozen the marketplace as they all wait to see what they will do.
For Intel, I guess there's a lot of upside trying to attract attention with little downside. The key is partners and developers. Otherwise it's another missed opportunity for the world's largest semiconductor manufacturer.
This is very interesting ill be watching for more on this. I would even pay the same as what I pay direct now for this. But I think it will be cheaper and let me avoid paying for the channels I don't care for. I could see this beeping very successful depending on how they administer it and if they can get media providers to cooperate.