Intel said to seek Web TV backing from Samsung, Amazon

The chip giant is looking for a partner to provide funding and distribution to get the set-top box to market by its year-end deadline, sources tell AllThingsD.

Erik Huggers, head of Intel Media, describes Intel's latest TV effort at the AllThingsD media conference in February. Screenshot by Shara Tibken/CNET

The clock is running out on Intel's promise to deliver an Internet-based TV service by the end of the year, and the company might be looking for help from heavy hitters to make its deadline.

The chip giant has approached Amazon and Samsung about providing funding and distribution for the service, people familiar with the service told AllThingsD. The report suggests that the set-top box project could be scrapped if a strategic partner isn't found soon.

An Intel representative declined to comment. CNET has contacted Amazon and Samsung for comment on the report and will update this report when we learn more.

Dubbed OnCue, the service was described during an AllThingsD media conference as allowing users to watch live TV, on demand, and other offerings. Intel said it would be providing the hardware and services directly to consumers and that the box -- powered by an Intel processor, of course -- would come with a camera that can detect who is in front of the TV.

Intel is said to have 300 employees working on the project under Erik Huggers, the head of Intel Media. A version of the service running on Intel hardware is said to be in testing with 3,000 Intel employees.

While Intel has been testing the product for months, it 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.

It wasn't immediately clear what contributions Intel might be seeking from the companies. Samsung, which ships millions of smart TVs, could distribute the service as a bundle, while Amazon could provide access to its growing library of movies and TV shows. However, Amazon is said to be working on a set-top box of its own .

Besides competing with the likes of Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, and every TV manufacturer that now builds smart-TV apps like Netflix and Vudu, Intel has a shaky history in the TV industry. It was early to push Google TVs and other smart televisions, with its processors powering a Sony Google TV and a Logitech Google TV set-top box. However, such products flopped, and Intel shuttered its TV business in late 2011 after failing to gain much traction.

 

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