Intel wants piece of TV biz via face time

Jun 10, 2012 by Nancy Owano weblog

(Phys.org) -- Technology industry giants are extending their lines of business from PCs, tablets and phones into owning a piece of the action of TV sets and content services. Apple and Google have got a lot of press over designs on TV-playing devices in people’s homes. Now Intel is staking its claim, too. Intel has been working out a business plan to issue a set-top box with a subscription TV service. The key feature that Intel hopes will turn the profitability corner is facial recognition technology. Intel is thinking along the lines of a TV service using a set-top box employing facial recognition to tell who is watching so that the TV can deliver more targeted ads.

Facial recognition would be used to detect the gender and age group of the people viewing a TV set at any one time. The set-top box would check out each person watching in front of the TV to deliver more targeted ads that would be specifically chosen to cater for the TV-viewing audience.

Targeted, demographically suited advertising is generally considered the ideal way of guaranteeing advertising success. As for privacy, nothing would be detected beyond age and gender. Other identifying data would not be made known. Intel’s plan also involves keeping costs down by featuring smaller packages of TV networks instead of the standard large bundles of many channels. Intel would be seeking to win over subscribers with attractive pricing while using technology to deliver targeted advertising.

So far, though, the news of such a service has not gone over well with the general public, based on comments on news sites and via Twitter. A story headline further reflected reaction: “Intel Wants To Sell Your Face To Advertisers.” That was the header from redOrbit. On the heels of the Intel TV story released by Reuters came a Reuters blog report that people, once reading about the plan, are annoyed. One reader said he would never allow a set-top box pointing a camera in the house. Another was upset over the idea of having kids exposed to targeted ads constantly, amounting to more brainwashing of young people. “So gross,” and “how creepy” were other comments about facial recognition technology planned.

While nothing more than gender and age would be tracked, an emotional reaction to camera-tracking in viewers’ homes is evident and, as observers note, may be a hurdle to an extent that Intel has not yet realized. Intel hopes to launch its video service before the end of the year, according to sources in a report from Reuters.

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User comments : 5

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Feldagast
5 / 5 (1) Jun 10, 2012
I can fix that with a little piece of electrical tape.
dogbert
5 / 5 (1) Jun 10, 2012
People have come to accept that they are constantly under surveillance in public (because they have no alternative), but most people will reject being under surveillance in their homes.

Intel is misguided if it really believes it can sell people ads based on surveillance.
ormondotvos
not rated yet Jun 10, 2012
And yet the camera in your phone, iPad, or laptop can be turned on remotely, at will, by the occasional virus (also known as Homeland Security.)
rwinners
not rated yet Jun 10, 2012
Black paint, or paint the color of the frame will do the trick.

Of course, listening would be even better... and speakers are easier to hide. Ack! Paranoia!
Nyx
not rated yet Jun 12, 2012
Oh joy, they can gender advertising even more, then. Because all women care about nothing but cleaning products, make-up, clothes, and things for the babies they'll of course be having, and all men want to see ads for beer, technology and power tools. Oh, and male enhancement. Feh.

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