updated 09:36 am EDT, Wed October 30, 2013
Intel OnCue said to be on life support
Intel's as-yet-unrevealed streaming media service may never see the light of day under the chipmaker's brand, as a new report from AllThingsD has Intel considering handing over the project to Verizon. Intel is reportedly close to sealing a deal with the telecommunications giant, though it is uncertain whether Intel would retain any control or interest in Intel Media should it choose to sell off the unit. If the deal does go through, it would mark the end of a nearly three-year saga in which Intel's service was perpetually just around the corner but never materialized.
Having been dabbling in television since 2010, Intel's quest to make its own device began in earnest in 2011. That year, the firm hired former BBC web video head Erik Huggers, and Huggers began working on an Intel-build set-top device with an accompanying paid TV service.
Inside Intel, some 300 workers were tasked to the service, dubbed OnCue. Thousands of Intel employees are said to have tested the service in their homes.
Work continued on the project, but recent months have seen reports that Intel has been having trouble getting content providers and broadcasters to move away from the bundled model that typifies pay television. The company was said to be offering rates up to 75 percent higher than traditional cable providers to secure some content. Still, Intel continued preparing for the service's rollout, opening Los Angeles and New York offices in August in order to have a presence in the two major entertainment hubs in America.
At the same time, though, Intel has been casting about for partners to help fund and distribute the service. That could be the motivation behind its dealings with Verizon, a company that already has a television content distribution service with its FiOS unit. The latest report has little else on dealings between the two companies, but if they are close to an agreement, an announcement could be made in the near future.