It’s getting down to the wire for Intel Media, the Intel (S INTC) unit that is looking to launch an internet-based TV subscription service called Oncue before the end of the year, and now, it may be looking for new partners to meet the deadline: Intel executives have talked to Amazon (s AMZN) and Samsung to partner on Oncue, according to a report by AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka, which suggests the whole project may be scrapped if Intel can’t find any such partner. An Intel spokesperson declined to comment on the report.
It’s unclear what exactly such a partnership would entail, but the report suggests that either Amazon or Samsung could provide distribution help as well as a cash infusion.
Intel has been working on Oncue since late 2011, and publicly unveiled its plans earlier this year. The company is working on a pay TV service that will combine live TV with a kind of catch-up service that would allow viewers to watch any show or movie they have missed on TV within the last few days, as well as online video sources.
Oncue programming will be streamed over the internet, with subscribers accessing it either through a dedicated Intel set-top box or on PCs, tablets and other mobile devices. Intel plans to sell its set-top box through its own website as well as through traditional retail outlets, and it hired an executive from Jawbone to oversee its retail strategy.
How would a partnership fit into this picture? Samsung is already shipping millions of smart TVs, and could possibly help Intel to reach consumers through its platform. Amazon is working on its own streaming device, which could possibly bundle Intel’s service as well — but it’s also possible that the two companies were talking about distributing Amazon’s growing movie and TV show library through Intel’s product as a way to add content to Intel’s offering.
All of this wouldn’t necessarily solve one of Intel’s biggest problems: The service can’t really launch without contracts with at least a significant subset of the big TV networks. I have heard from networks that they have had talks with Intel, but no one has fessed up to having made any deals yet.