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Rumor: Intel to launch online TV service?

Intel may be trying to launch an online Internet-based television service. The Wall Street Journal reports, via unnamed sources, that it has been meeting with US media companies for the past several months to offer them a chance to join what Intel is apparently calling a "virtual cable operator".

Under the plan, Intel would launch its own set-top box for the service. The article claims that Intel wants to launch the product and the service by the end of 2012. So far the company has yet to make any solid deals with any media companies to join them on this venture; Intel has not yet confirmed or denied this story.

If true, Intel would be the latest company to try to offer such a Internet-based TV service. Apple has had its Apple TV set-top box for sale for some time but sales of the product have not been as high as Apple's iPad or iPhone devices. Last week, Apple launched a new version of Apple TV with a revamped user interface and 1080p resolution support.

Of course, Netflix led the way with its streaming TV and movie service, including movies from the Epix pay cable TV network. Hulu also offers streaming video for first run TV episodes from NBC, ABC and Fox. Users can access both Netflix and Hulu from a variety of devices, including set-top boxes, "smart" TVs, game consoles, tablets and smartphones.

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