Keep an eye out for “virtual cable” as a new variation on TV Everywhere and over-the-top experiences, says Greg Ireland, Research Manager at IDC in an interview with Beet.TV. “So far TV Everywhere today is fractured and inconsistent, across some different apps, with some linear, some live content, some on-demand content. It’s not a replication of everything I can get from my set-top box. Virtual cable is the complete TV Everywhere opportunity for consumers and could be an interesting inflection point for competitive dynamics in the pay-TV business.”

Companies like Intel for instance, might become new entrants and represent new competition. However, Intel did make an attempt at a TV play with a service it eventually sold to Verizon, he points out. Nonetheless, he expects more “virtual cable” offerings from other service providers either within a footprint or as an over-the-top service. “Virtual might be a new competitive environment or distribution mechanism, but many of the same rules will apply.”

For more insight into the virtual cable opportunity and how it dovetails with TV Everywhere, check out this video interview. We interviewed Ireland last month at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.