Reports have emerged in the US that cable MSO Liberty Global is in talks to acquire Intel’s planned online pay-TV service, possibly in tandem with US telco Verizon, which late October was rumoured to be interested in the OnCue set-top box.
Such a move seems unlikely given the fact that Liberty Global is rolling out its Horizon advanced set-top box across a number of its European operations, and has a large installed base of TiVo STBs in the UK’s Virgin Media, which it acquired February 2013.
The arrival at Intel as Chief Executive Officer of Brian M. Krzanich in May 2013 seemingly dampened the chipmaker’s enthusiasm for the STB project, headed by former BBC executive Eric Huggers, with concerns at the level of investment required in programming.
Accordingly, the company has been seeking partners with a base of Internet subscribers or rights to films and television shows. According to Intel Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith, key for for the company was going to be to have the content lined up so that it was a great experience, and then to have the right partners in place so it could be scaled. “At the end of the day it’s all going to be about getting those subscribers and those viewers,” he said.