Intel has created a set-top box that uses facial recognition technology to distinguish who’s watching — and potentially serve targeted advertising accordingly, Reuters reports. The box would not identify people specifically, but their gender and whether they’re adults or children, according to Reuters.
It’s all part of Intel’s apparent plans to create its own over-the-top subscription TV service and break into the living room. The “virtual TV” service hinges on Intel’s hopes to license content in ways that can be offered to viewers in much smaller bundles. Of course, bundling is an economic stable of cable and satellite TV — viewers pay for channels they don’t want in exchange for a few they do — and content providers are hesitant to diverge from the model and upset their bread-and-butter distributors.
Intel argues, according to sources, that targeted advertising, interactivity and more accurate ratings metrics will generate more than enough revenue to offset the reduced subscriber fees. Reuters reports that negotiations with several content providers are underway, but given the unproven nature of the facial recognition technology, most remain unconvinced.
After similar negotiations, Microsoft abandoned its own plans to create a subscription service earlier this year, Reuters reported back in Janaury.