Fuzzy Picture For Intel's Planned TV Project

| About: Intel Corporation (INTC)

One of the more interesting side skirmishes in the greater battle for Internet supremacy is a chunk of old media: the TV show.

The popularity, accessibility, and interactive nature of the World Wide Web was initially predicted to crush the lower-definition, passive television, just like TV was supposed to do to radio, and radio to newspapers. Though all these media have taken beatings, they've all survived and either found ways to adapt to make themselves unique and relevant, or at least ways to merge with the newer media.

TV companies, for instance, add extra content on a TV show's web site, or let users watch and talk about shows on their laptops or tablets.

The whole 'on demand' philosophy has also yanked the traditional TV concept into the future - now users don't have to tune in at a certain time or hope to catch a rerun next time they're flipping channels. They can now pull up certain shows or movies anytime, whether it's an hour or 10 years after the initial viewing, and you watch TV on the go with their smartphone or tablet.

Companies like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) , Hulu and even some cable companies have been staking out the on-demand market share for the past decade.

According to Bloomberg, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) was quietly working on its own Web-based television service, which would offer a variety of broadcast and cable TV shows.

Last February, the project, named OnCue, was publicly announced, with a projected launch of the end of 2013. InvestorPlace.com said the service is currently being tested by 3,000 Intel employees, and is controlled a box above your TV.

Unfortunately, word emerged last week that OnCue is on the ropes and may miss the December deadline, if it comes out at all.

AllthingsD.com said Intel has been shopping for a partner to keep this project afloat, and companies that have been reportedly courted include Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). However, neither company has confirmed or commented.

What is interesting, at least to investors, is that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich doesn't seem to be as enthusiastic about OnCue as other Intel executives have been. He told AllthingsD.com and other media last spring that the company really needs to maintain a focus on what it does well: building better, faster processors for a variety of computers and mobile devices, rather than moving into the content delivery market, an arena it is much less familiar with.

Recent stock activity has shown that Intel, while performing better than the low of $19 per share last fall, still isn't entirely stable, so perhaps it's prudent to pull back a bit on developing something that's not just experimental for the company, but similar in concept to other more established companies. This sometimes works in the retail world, but in the faster-paced tech world, third or fourth place into an existing marketplace can render someone invisible.

Last week, Intel closed at $22.98 per share, down .43 for the day or 1.84 percent. Most of last week, trading was nearly $24 a share, but then started sliding by the end of the week. Intel stock is still up 11 percent for the year.

But other activity last week was more interesting than the fairly regular stock performance.

It received more than 66,393 "put" options, based on encouraging predictions from analysts. The Street gave it a buy rating, and Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) moved its price target from $28 to $30. Other equities research groups are split, but more are saying hold or buy compared to those encouraging a sell-off.

Other positive news not involving fresh TV options is chips for wearable devices. Many tech watchers predict that low-power tiny computers are going to be more and more vital to a company's growth. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Glass allows users to do visual computing while wearing eyepieces, some fitness attire companies are including devices that keep track of your work-out, and other companies are creating 'smart' watches.

This vision will work well with Intel's new chip, called the Quark, designed to be its smallest, fastest processor. Intel also announced that its wearable unit will be headed by Mike Bell, former director of its mobile phone and tablet unit and a previous employee at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Palm. Intel also plans to invest in a company that makes heads-up displays, a possible asset for future wearable products.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.