Intel VP behind its OnCue Internet TV service may be jumping ship for Hulu

intel erik huggers oncue tv hulu ceo

Cord cutters everywhere are likely breathing a collective sigh of disappointment today as the New York Post reports that Erik Huggers, VP of Intel Media and the big brain behind Intel’s mysterious OnCue TV service, is apparently eye-balling the vacant CEO spot at Hulu – a fact that could mean trouble for Intel’s Internet TV plans. 

On its own, this might not seem like damning news – lots of people are gunning for the Hulu CEO position, and why shouldn’t Huggers? But when coupled with yesterday’s announcement that Intel is pushing OnCue’s release out to sometime in 2014 (ostensibly because it is having trouble sealing up licensing deals with networks so it can play popular TV shows through its set-top boxes), it’s hard not to wonder if Intel’s plan to deliver pay TV content directly to viewers over the Internet might be facing some insurmountable challenges. After all, if the guy who has spearheaded this project since its beginning is eyeballing the competition, could that mean anything good?

For those not familiar, Huggers has been trying to change the way people think of Intel by developing a piece of hardware that changes the way we watch TV. In an interview with Variety, Huggers noted that when most people think of Intel, they think of ‘Intel inside,’ a logical assumption considering the trademark made Intel a household name. But Huggers aims to change that perception by giving consumers a revolutionary product that they’ll likely touch every day: a set-top box that plays popular pay TV programs via the Internet. 

Huggers walled off his project from the rest of Intel two years ago to give it a sort of start-up vibe. And since then, OnCue has remained super-secret. But recent reports have shown that the box has made its way out of the development phase and into beta testing, with thousands of lucky Intel employees giving it an exclusive spin. That would indicate that the hardware has been developed, the software and user interface is being debugged, and that Intel is able to send at least some programming to the boxes via the Internet. But whatever that programming is, it isn’t good enough.  

For Intel to wrap the project up and start shipping to customers this year, it needed to forge some serious deals with big media companies like Viacom, Disney, NBC Universal, or Fox. Doing so would allow Intel to bring shows people actually want to watch without the involvement of a cable or satellite company. And apparently it hasn’t managed to do that yet because, although Intel has been drumming up a date that would coincide with the holiday season, it has abandoned that plan and pushed the launch date out into next year. 

Which leads us back to the issue of Huggers’ wandering eye: If Huggers would consider abandoning his baby to lead the company it was built to battle, could that mean ruin for the OnCue set-top box and service? Maybe, maybe not. A jump from VP to CEO of Hulu would be big, so it’s possible that Huggers is just fueled by career ambition. Or he’s abandoning ship before it sinks. According to the Post, both Huggers and Intel declined to comment, so, for now, we are left to speculate. 

What do you think? Is the timing of this news purely circumstantial, or is possible OnCue may never see the light of day? 

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Gaming

Microsoft CEO says Project xCloud is the ‘Netflix for games’

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella referred to the company's Project xCloud game streaming service as "Netflix for games." The service will let users play Xbox and PC games on a variety of devices.
Apple

Apple may be developing a new iPod Touch to woo younger users

Apple may be developing its first new iPod touch model since 2015 as it aims to capture younger users who are not yet ready for their own smartphone, and expand its overall listening base in the future.
Home Theater

Cord-cutting has grown by 48 percent in 8 years, according to Nielsen

People are continuing to ditch cable but not all cord-cutters are the same. In fact, there are two distinct groups within the cord-cutting universe, with a very small, yet growing third group that's worth paying attention to.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.
Home Theater

All of the TVs getting Apple’s AirPlay 2 in 2019

This year, Apple made it clear it was done keeping its AirPlay wireless streaming technology to itself. With an open API, the way is clear for a plethora of third-party devices, including this growing list of TVs.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Movies & TV

New trailer for 'The Punisher' season 2 teases a bloody showdown

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Buying Guides

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Home Theater

How much are the initials ‘LV’ worth? $700 if you put them on your earphones

If you're looking for truly wireless earbuds that make as much of a statement about the state of your finances as they do about your high-tech street cred, Louis Vuitton's Horizon earbuds fit the $995 bill.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (February 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in January and February, from new original series to classic films.