Intel on Tuesday confirmed a lingering rumor that they are working on a new set-top box and live internet-based TV service, beating Apple to the punch in the connected television market. In an interview with AllThingsD, Intel Media corporate vice president Eric Huggers confirmed the news, revealing that Intel had hired a number of employees from Netflix, Apple, and Google to work on the project.
“We have been working for about a year now to set up a group called Intel Media,” Huggers said “It’s a new division with new people — people [we’ve hired] from Apple, Netflix and Google. And it’s devoted to developing an Internet television platform.”
That group’s mandate: Build the best Internet television service ever.
“For the first time, we will deliver a new consumer electronics product under a new brand,” Huggers said. “We’ll offer consumers a box, and they’ll buy this directly from us. It’ll be an Intel-powered device with fantastic industrial design. But it’s not just a device. We’re working with the entire industry to figure out how we get live TV to consumers over the Internet.”
The new service and set-top box will compete directly with services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, offering live streaming of broadcast television, and will include a build-in camera to collect information on users to help them target their programming and ads according to users’ viewing habits.
If true, that would present a concerning privacy issue for many users – especially if it is difficult or impossible to opt out of the tracking program. That level of invasiveness would likely cause many users to avoid the service altogether out of concern for their personal privacy.
Privacy concerns aside, the service would be the first of its kind in the TV industry. According to Huggers, the service will also offer on-demand programming, a TV “catch up” feature, and even apps that run on televisions. The service is intended as a complete all-in-one solution for consumers, allowing them to more easily cut the cord with cable providers. The service is expected to launch sometime this year.
It will be interesting to see whether Intel really does beat Apple into the TV market – and if they do, how many consumers will subscribe to the service, especially considering it’s invasive nature.