Intel reportedly in talks to sell Web TV service to Liberty Global

Chipmaker has been looking to unload the service, which was expected to be launched this year but has been delayed.

Intel at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Verizon Communications might have some competition for control of Intel's delayed Web TV service.

European cable operator Liberty Global is in private talks to acquire Intel Media, according to unidentified sources in a Bloomberg report. The discussions would create a rival for Verizon, which last month was reported to be in late-stage negotiations to assume control of the planned Internet-based subscription TV service.

Earlier this year, Intel announced its plans to launch hardware and software that allow for live TV, on-demand TV, and content streaming. The offering, dubbed OnCue, was supposed to be available this year. However, in September, Intel pushed the product launch back to 2014.

The company hired hundreds of people, including former Microsoft and BBC executive Erik Huggers, to lead the TV business. It has been testing the service in employees' homes, but the company still faces some hurdles.

One of those is reaching content deals. Intel has yet to announce any TV programming partners, and Time Warner Cable and other cable TV providers have been pressuring channel owners to shun pacts with Intel and other Internet-based TV providers.

Both suitors already have extensive subscription TV experience. Verizon offers a TV service through its FiOS unit, while London-based Liberty Global recently spent $24 billion to acquire Virgin Media, the No. 2 cable TV provider in the UK with nearly 5 million customers.

CNET has contacted Intel for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

 

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