Intel Web TV project reportedly held up in content negotiations

Intel Web TV project reportedly held up in content negotiations

Intel’s plan to create a Web TV service and set-top box has encountered delays as the company negotiates with media companies for content licenses, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal had previously outed the project in March 2012, reporting at the time that Intel had indicated to content owners that it was aiming for a launch by the end of the year. Of course, that goal has come and gone, and now the newspaper says the timing “seems uncertain.”

The report’s sources differed on when the service could arrive, with one predicting mid-2013, while another speculated that difficulties with content deals could push the launch into the fourth quarter of this year.

In late December, Forbes reported that Intel’s set-top box, which would directly challenge cable TV providers, could reach a limited beta this March. The chipmaker’s new service is believed to include a la carte channel subscriptions and a “Cloud DVR” feature that provides access to past shows.

An Intel spokesperson has said the company will not be announcing or demoing the product at the CES event next week. Intel Media VP Erik Huggers could potentially discuss the service in February when he speaks at AllThingsD’s D: Dive Into Media conference. Gigaom notes that Huggers, who formerly worked on BBC’s iPlayer, runs Intel Media “like a startup in stealth mode.”

Intel is said to be betting big on this initiative. Forbes reports that the company’s budget for the project is “significantly larger” than Apple or Google’s own set-top box efforts.

“Intel has made it clear to Hollywood they are serious about this product and dedicated to its longevity. Intel is also prepared to invest heavily in making it a success,” author Kelly Clay wrote.

However, the Journal’s sources suggest that Hollywood has been hesitant to jump on board. One insider said that the company had signed on at least one partner.

The TV and film industry are ripe for disruption, and companies are taking radically different approaches to do so. With Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu all taking aim, to name just a few, it seems like just about everyone wants a piece of the Web TV pie. Intel’s chip-making experience could give it an advantage, but it’ll have to get past Hollywood’s content gatekeepers first.

Best of luck with that one.

Image credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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