Time is running out for Intel as it looks to fulfill its earlier promise of getting its web-based TV service into our living rooms before the end of this year. Reports say that the chip-maker giant is struggling to get its TV service off the ground, with not a single content deal with any major broadcaster agreed so far – and now its desperately seeking help from some of the industry’s biggest hitters to try and beat its deadline.
According to a report in All Things D, Intel is sounding out both Amazon and Samsung as potential partners in its TV endeavors. It adds that if the chip maker fails to find a strategic partner soon, it could well decide to throw in the towel and scrap the project entirely.
Intel’s TV project was perhaps too ambitious from the start. The company announced earlier this year that it intends to muscle in onto our living rooms with its own internet-based broadcast service, which would allow viewers to watch TV live and on-demand. Intel’s plan was to build its own hardware and services, which included a hi-tech set-top box fitted with a camera that could detect who was in the living room watching TV at any given time.
Known internally as OnCue, the project is being overseen by Head of Intel Media Erik Huggers, whose said to have 300 employees on his team. The firm is already believed to be running trials of the service with 3,000 of its own employees, but while these tests have been ongoing for several months there are many obstacles in the way. The main problem is that its yet to sign a single deal with any major content provider – in fact its faced serious opposition from cable providers like Time Warner Cable, which have been putting the pressure on TV channels to reject Intel and similar web TV providers.
Such are the difficulties facing Intel that its new CEO Brian Krzanich has reportedly put the TV plans on the back-burner, with the intention of doubling down on its mobile plans instead, reports Bloomberg. The general mood in the company is that without the assistance of a major partnership, its TV ambitions are all but done and dusted.
But can Samsung and Amazon really be of much help? A deal with the former could make sense, given that its by far and away the largest TV maker in the world. Samsung ships millions of smart TVs each year – one quarter of the world’s total, according to Strategy Analytics – and could easily distribute Intel’s service as a bundle.
It seems less likely that Amazon would be interested in helping Intel out though. While it could in theory provide access to its Lovefilm and video-on-demand catalog, word is that it already has designs on its own set-top box – something that would likely be a direct competitor to Intel’s offering. Then again, it could be that Intel is proposing something else entirely – such as building the chips for Amazon’s own hardware, or even merging their projects into one. So far the companies haven’t made any comment on the reports, so we’ll just have to wait and see.