Rumors about Intel's OnCue TV service have circulated since early 2012. The chip maker confirmed the project last year and promised to combine live television, on-demand streaming, and a cloud-based PVR. Securing content deals to fuel the service may have been too difficult, though. Now, instead of bringing OnCue to market itself, Intel has decided to sell the whole thing to Verizon.
As part of the deal, Verizon will pick up "intellectual property rights and other assets" associated with the OnCue platform. The financial terms haven't been disclosed, but the deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter. Staffers currently employed by the Intel Media group in charge of OnCue will be offered jobs at Verizon, and they'll be led by the same management team. It's unclear whether Intel will continue to participate in OnCue's development, though. The service was meant to run on Intel hardware, which presumably won't change.
Verizon is set to integrate elements of OnCue into its existing FiOS service. However, there's no mention of whether OnCue will trickle down to lesser tiers or if all the promised features will be implemented. The new TV goodies may be limited to fiber customers for now.
As an existing broadcaster, Verizon should have no problem keeping OnCue well stocked with content. The company already has a big catalog of live TV channels and on-demand video. It also has millions of existing FiOS subscribers. The Intel press release tellingly quotes CEO Brian Krzanich as saying "the critical factor in gaining efficient access to content is based on your ability to scale quickly in subscribers and end users."
Krzanich's statement has interesting implications for Apple, which has been working on a TV service of its own. We first heard about that service in 2009, and content deals have long been cited as a roadblock. The latest rumor suggests the Apple service is on hold and may not materialize until 2015 or later.
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