Intel set to abandon moribund TV project, sell assets to Verizon, sources say

“Intel’s efforts to break into the TV business may be coming to a close,” Peter Kafka and Arik Hesseldahl report for AllThingsD. “”

“Sources say the chipmaker is close to a deal to hand over control of Intel Media, the unit that has been trying to build a Web-based subscription TV service, to Verizon, the telco that already operates a pay TV service,” Kafka and Hesseldahl report. “People familiar with the talks say the two companies are in advanced negotiations. But it’s unclear whether Verizon would take control of the entire Intel Media unit, or if Intel would retain a piece of the Web TV project or a say in its operations.”

“In January 2011, Intel hired Erik Huggers, the executive who had headed up Web video for the BBC, and Huggers began working on a plan to create an Intel-branded pay TV service, using an Intel-built set-top box,” Kafka and Hesseldahl report. “Huggers eventually hired a team of 300 workers, built the box, and created branding for the service, which was supposed to be called ‘OnCue.’ Thousands of Intel employees have been testing the service in their homes this year. Intel was never able to secure the programming deals from TV networks it would need for a commercial launch.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The whole abortive thing always was a clusterfsck. It flopped OnCue.


  1. How did Intel ever think this was a good idea? I don’t understand how these companies fail to recognize the power of Apple’s end-to-end integration. Instead of working on their own set-top box, Intel should have been working on a chipset that integrates encryption and security when streaming video from any number of mobile (and non-mobile) devices that already have Intel chips in them. That way, device manufacturers can do the R & D on their own to bring the extra features to the set-top device, while Intel still brings in money for the chips.

    1. Um, how did they think it was a good idea? The same way Apple did. Their business plan is the same as what Apple has been trying to do with Apple TV. And their failure is the same too: no content deals.

      The only difference between the two companies is that Intel didn’t want to sink more money into their ‘hobby’ (probably didn’t have it to spare), while Apple is rolling in the dough & can afford to keep plugging away at a losing strategy.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Apple should abandon AppleTV. They just need to stop trying to make content deals with dinosaur gatekeepers. I’ve said this on other posts … the content is already out there. All Apple has to do is make the AppleTV a device that allows me to collect it (ala DVR), & push it out to my devices (ala Roku). If they make it so I can rip my DVDs to it too, I’ll buy two. One for my family, the other for my best friend’s family, as it would be the perfect gift.

      Really, Apple needs to look at this story and see the writing on the wall. Make the hardware leverage all that technology allows & stop pussyfooting around with negotiations among luddites. The sooner Cook lets me cut the cord & take control of my own entertainment (& lower my monthly finances to boot), the sooner he can have my money.

      1. To Just,,,,
        Yeah, legal things like ownership and permission just do not get in your way, do they. This is the problem everyone is having. They need ownership or leasing permission to be able to broadcast these things… That includes things like putting them in a format so you can do what ever you want with them.

        The content owners are very much against that. Heck, they would like to charge you every time you watch a show… lol

        1. I agree that’s exactly what they want. The entire corporate structure of America wants nothing less than to turn the world’s entire population into a community of ‘renters’. A lot easier that, than to actually make anything worth buying.

          However, you’re off the mark snarkily saying “legal things like ownership and permission” don’t get in the way of his argument, as if they should, because they aren’t at issue here.

          First, Over the Air (OTA) broadcasts AND cable TV are allowed to be recorded, as per the 1984 Supreme Court decided BetaMax Case. Read here:

          “Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984), also known as the “Betamax case”, is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States which ruled that the making of individual copies of complete television shows for purposes of time shifting does not constitute copyright infringement, but is fair use.”

          As for ripping DVDs, that’s covered under Fair Use Rights as well, and are codified in law (title 17, U. S. Code). The relevant passages are found in sections 107 through 118.

          “Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.

          1] The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
          2] The nature of the copyrighted work
          3] The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
          4] The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work”

          It’s number 4 that’s the relevant one for DVD ripping. Unless you are ripping and making multiple copies, then selling them or giving them away, thereby harming the “potential market … or value” of the copyright owner’s product, then there is no legal infraction. If you buy a DVD, then rip it so that watching it becomes more convenient for you to do, there is no harm to the copyright holder because you already legally purchased the content from him, and are not denying him the ability to sell it to someone else.

          I mean really – everyone should know this by now! How else can you explain so many software rippers being available if it weren’t legal to rip?? You are subject to the relentless mind control of those that want to turn back the clock on these legal realities. If enough people believe it, maybe it won’t matter that it isn’t true, eh?

          FWIW, I agree that Apple is wasting it’s time, just as Intel did, with content negotiations. The company needs to make AppleTV into what it should be – a recording and personal distribution device – or it should follow Intel’s lead & just shut the whole thing down. I for one am tired of this pointless dance Apple under first Jobs and now Cook has been engaged in. AppleTV is a potential goldmine not being exploited, all so various CEOs and executives can still go to the same social functions an not suffer uncomfortable silences.

      2. Agreed that Apple TV is fairly similar. The problem Intel and Apple face is that he content providers are loathe to abandon their models. They are endemically against what consumers want – easy access to everything. Part of that is the business model of cable and satellite and part is the business model of commercials. Another important part is inability to realize that they cannot apply rules from their old business models if they want to be succeed in new areas. Studios should be carbon copying Netflix, but the empirical result is that they applied their old rules (not all content available at once, for example not all seasons of a given show).

        I think those old rules of the content providers would prevent Apple TV from having DVR functionality or allowing DVDs to be freely ripped. I’m sure Apple would do it if they could (though I suspect they would have you rip DVDs to your computer and stream from that).

      3. I will let others argue more deeply with what you say. I will just say that to compare Intel’s structural position with Apples is simply wrong even if both are being frustrated. Apple has a wide ranging end to end entertainment/media business with millions of customers Intel is a chip company that is nothing without a wide range of associates most of whom would be unwilling to give them the power to dictate that Microsoft for example already does.
        Yes of course there are similar fear of Apple but Apple has much more influence, less need for associate support, more persuasive technology and software including online presence and an ability to get into the business via stealth rather than head on like Intel and the like have to. They can afford to wait till circumstances come to them precisely as they did with Microsoft in the computer market when the goal posts changed and the mobile market opened the door. How was that ever going to happen for a company like Intel?

  2. Here is a thought. How about an Apple TV/cable box combo like is rumored to be testing at time Warner where you can watch live TV but overlay apps and other info over the signal and instead of a DVR you get free access on Itunes to any show that was available with your package from the date you first subscribed. Anything older or outside your package you would have to buy through ITunes. Apple and the cable company would have to work ot some revenue sharing but you would be able to get off this antiquated DVR concept and maybe make live TV more interesting.

    1. I guess that could work through the App process that we saw suggested a while back as Apples future strategy. Rather like that idea you get consistent interface, new profit streams but lots of flexibility for all concerned if only they show some imagination. Still needs some element of control surrendered by the suppliers/broadcasters but both could actually benefit and if a couple signed up the others would have to follow or die. This is precisely the sort of pressure/persuasion that Apple can bring that Intel cannot. Still tough technically and contractually but certainly gonna happen at some stage. And why the iTV is anything but a losing strategy.

  3. Isn’t this like the second or third time they try something like this and fails? Just like Qualcomm? I mean, I don’t wish them to fail but they never seem to succeed and TV seems so out if line from what does companies usually do.

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