Intel drops facial recognition capability from upcoming set-top box

By on July 30, 2013, 9:30 AM
intel, tv, dvr, privacy, television, set-top box, facial recognition

Set-top boxes are poised to be the future of TV, and numerous technology firms are battling it out for a slice of the proverbial pie. One such company is Intel, which originally made headlines after announcing its plans for a new facial recognition feature.

New reports suggest that this feature has now been sidelined, and that the upcoming set-top box will be bundled without it. According to Intel Media’s Eric Huggers, the decision to drop the capability was driven by the camera’s poor performance in low light conditions, as well as numerous privacy concerns posed by prospective customers. The feature aimed to revolutionize the way targeted advertising was being conducted, and promised to bring more personalized program recommendations to its users.

Fortunately for Intel, facial recognition is not the product’s only alluring component. The set-top box will allow viewers to watch any program, regardless of whether it’s a local show or an international broadcast, for up to three days following its inital airing. The feature models traditional DVR services, except it works around two major complaints: users no longer have to worry about scheduling conflicts, nor will they have to delete old footage to free up additional storage space.

Other rumored Intel features include voice-recognition technology, an upgraded remote control, and a new on-screen interface.

Despite these innovations, Intel will still face tremendous competition; most notably from the likes of Google, Apple, Microsoft and Sony. Recently, Apple has been trying to incorporate similar DVR and voice-recognition features into their latest iteration of the Apple TV. Meanwhile, Microsoft is relying on the upcoming Xbox One to earn itself a reputation as an all-inclusive entertainment system, shifting its core focus away from the younger gaming community. Furthermore, Google has further crowded the market by announcing Chromecast; a tiny piece of hardware that will allow its users to push content from their phone, tablet or notebook directly to their TVs via the HDMI dongle.

Ulf Ewaldsson, CEO of Swedish telecom-giant Ericsson, added, “I’ve never seen as much innovation in television as there is right now.”

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