Intel’s hope of getting its Internet TV service up and running by the end of the year reportedly is in doubt.
According to reports by Bloomberg and AllThingsD, Intel officials are talking with representatives from Samsung and Amazon in hopes of getting help for the chip maker’s “over-the-top” television service. Intel executives have been talking about the initiative for much of this year, with Eric Free, vice president and general manager of content and services at Intel Media, saying during a conference in July that the goal is to sell set-top boxes and content by the end of 2013.
However, what has dogged Intel throughout the effort has been the inability to nail down deals with TV programmers for content. Now the chip maker is looking to Amazon and Samsung, which have the rights to programming and the strong base of Internet users that Intel needs, according to the news outlets, citing comments from anonymous sources. Samsung makes smart TVs, and Amazon has a huge base of Internet users and growing Internet video capabilities.
Intel officials have declined to comment to media outlets on the situation.
Also reportedly impacting TV efforts has been the change of leadership at Intel. The TV effort was born under Paul Otellini’s tenure as CEO. However, he resigned in May, and now Brian Krzanich has taken over, and his primary focus has been getting Intel silicon into mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, and embedded systems such as wearable computers.
In an interview with Reuters in June, Krzanich said the company was being “cautious” in its approach to the Internet TV strategy.
“We’re experts in silicon, we’re experts in mobility, in driving Moore’s law,” he said. “But we are not experts in the content industry, and we’re being careful.”
Intel’s plans entail selling Intel-powered set-top boxes that will enable consumers to bring TV shows, on-demand content, live events and other services into their televisions and other devices via the Internet. Users would be able to order and pay for whatever shows they want, without having to pay for content and channels they don’t want, according to Intel officials. Intel would offer both video-on-demand and live programming.
Intel reportedly has about 300 people working for its Intel Media business, which is being run by Erik Huggers, a former BBC executive and now general manager of the group. Intel is testing its service on more than 3,000 Intel employees.
A move into the Internet TV space would put Intel into competition with such established cable and satellite media companies as Dish, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable. In addition, a number of other tech vendors—including Google, Apple and Sony—also reportedly have considered an Internet TV service.
Intel’s TV ambitions were given little attention during the company’s three-day Intel Developer Forum earlier this month. Instead, the focus was on Intel’s mobile device efforts, including the release of its low-power 22-nanometer Atom Z3000 Bay Trail systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) aimed at tablets and other mobile form factors, and the unveiling of the company’s upcoming Quark family of small, power-efficient chips for such segments of the embedded market as wearable devices and the Internet of Things.