According to sources cited in a Reuters report, Intel is getting into the TV business, because hey, so is everybody else these days. Despite television being a rather tough nut to crack, Intel
is apparently hoping that its set-top box and subscription service will be its golden ticket to delivering more Intel processors to the living room.
Simply put, the service would be a sort of specialized virtual cable subscription that would combine a bundle of channels with on demand content. So what’s Intel’s killer feature that distinguishes it from the vast and powerful competition? Granular ratings that result in targeted ads.
It’s no surprise that Nielsen’s rating system is considered obsolete by many; the company gathers feedback from a comparatively small percentage of homes and extrapolates the numbers, but at a time when there are hundreds upon hundreds of channels and dozens of other means of viewing content to choose from, that tactic is far less effective than when there were just three networks to choose from.
Intel is promising technology in a set-top box that can, “can distinguish who is watching, potentially allowing Intel to target advertising”. The technology could potentially identify if the viewer is an adult or a child, male or female, and so on, through interactive features and face recognition technology.
Intel's Berryville CE5300 Media Processor, hoping to make sparks fly in a living room near you, soon.
Aside for the creepy face-recognition aspect of the technology, that sounds an awful lot like Web streamed content if you ask us; sites like Hulu
even ask if an ad is relevant to you, allowing you to teach the service how to most effectively target ads at you. Of course, coupling that level of control with a cable subscription and audience detection would be a step forward technologically.
As always, the holdup for Intel is dealing with content providers, who aren’t too keen on completely changing the way they sell and bundle content just because Intel has a cool idea. In an effort to climb that particular mountain, Intel has assembled a team of savvy TV veterans, which consists of Erik Huggers, Garth Ancier, Ken Ziffren, and Nicole Browning. Their names probably aren’t familiar, but they’ve individually negotiated some tough TV deals in their time.
Intel reportedly wants to launch the service by the end of the year. Bully for Intel if the supergroup can muster some magic again, but it doesn’t sound like you should hold your breath.