Erik Huggers, General Manager of Intel Media, has confirmed that the company is actually working on launching its internet television product this year. It plans to do so with some new consumer hardware which Huggers described as something with “beautiful industrial design.”
The service will be mostly fully featured with live television, catch-up television, on-demand and some other applications. The hardware will also supposedly include a camera which can be turned off. Huggers said one use case for the camera could include synchronizing viewing with viewers across the country for a “real social experience.” The camera could also theoretically recognize users in order to provide personalized show recommendations.
Discussing Intel’s plans at the Dive into Media conference, Huggers declined to name the service, which will launch later this year. “We’re working with the entire industry to figure out how to get proper television,” Huggers says, pointing out that making the consumer box isn’t nearly as difficult as making deals to provide the content.
Intel will use the HEVC video codec instead of H.264, which Huggers says can provide much better video.
Why is Intel doing all this? “Intel is very interested in [having] a direct connection to the consumer,” Huggers says, which is a fairly big change for the chip maker. Huggers says there is very broad support for Intel Media’s project within the company at large, and that the new TV service and box are more than just experiments.
CNET spoke to Huggers after the event and gave hints that this device will probably not be Intel branded. “When I say Intel, you will automatically think ‘Inside.’ That’s what we’ve all been trained,” he told.