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Intel Formally Shuts Off Its Web TV Plans, with Sale to Verizon

Intel was supposed to deliver pay TV over the Internet last year, but never did.

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Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Intel is now officially out of the Web TV business: The company has formally announced the sale of its Intel Media unit to Verizon, a deal we first told you about back in October.

The two companies didn’t announce terms for the deal, which is scheduled to close “early in the first quarter,” but said that Verizon plans to purchase all of Intel Media’s assets and expects to hire “substantially all” of its 350 employees.

The two companies also said Verizon would hang on to Intel Media’s top executives, led by general manager Erik Huggers.

In a statement, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich echoed comments he had made to Re/code’s Ina Fried earlier this year, arguing that Intel had developed cool technology for delivering pay TV over the Web, but wasn’t able (or willing) to buy content for that technology: “Intel Media’s over-the-top TV products are truly innovative and under Verizon’s ownership have the potential to change how people interact with content. The critical factor in gaining efficient access to content is based on your ability to scale quickly in subscribers and end users, which is why selling these assets to Verizon makes perfect sense, with its millions of FiOS network and wireless customers.”

Verizon doesn’t spell out what it intends to do with OnCue, the Web TV system Intel Media had developed, but the wording of its release suggests that it may bundle it with both its FiOS pay TV service, as well as with Verizon Wireless’s LTE network. Late last year, Verizon bought two other Web video companies — EdgeCast and UpLynk — for around $500 million.

Earlier this month, Sony announced that it would bring its own Web TV service to market in 2014, echoing promises that Intel made, but couldn’t fulfill, in 2013.

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