Talking tech since 2003

We’ve known for some time that renowned computing chip company Intel has been hard at work on projects revolving around Internet-driven television. However, we learned today from The Wall Street Journal that Intel has plans to start a server farm to record every single minute of television aired locally, nationally and internationally, and store it for three days in the “cloud.”

This idea, coupled with a potential Intel-designed set-top box for your living room, would allow you (the subscriber of this potential service) to watch any content you like, when you want it, without scheduling recording ahead of time, and all without your own personal digital video recorder (DVR) to make it happen.

This is all according to the account of Intel’s own Erik Huggers, head of the company’s 350-person TV-focused team – one comprised of programmers, industrial designers, artists, and experts in video encoding. In his eyes, any viewer who’s a part of what Intel will eventually/potentially offer can turn on their TV in the middle of a program and immediately rewind to the beginning without hassle.

“This is live TV—but you can rewind it.”

How and when Intel plans to unleash this cloud television service to the masses remains to be seen, but they certainly have some preliminary hurdles of their own to overcome first –most significant among them being the issue of content licensing restrictions. Companies in control of shows and series’ like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad are notoriously cautious of licensing their content to Internet-based platforms. Usually it’s concerns of monetization and piracy — concerns that have some legitimacy to them.

Though, some companies have made significant strides in this field, such as Netflix and Hulu, each with their own unique slate of shows and movies on offer. However, many licenses and partnerships often expire on these services, so there’s hardly a feeling of permanence to the content in each marketplace — often creating a confusing, inconsistent experience for the user.

Were there a service where everything was available at any time (at least for a few days after it airs), well, that service would certainly attract mass market consumer attention.

In terms of what Intel plans to offer, it could very well be close to this vision — though it definitely won’t have that cool-sounding, facial-recognition-focused camera tech that was discussed months ago, which would recognize each user and deliver content (and ads) based on their liking. It was cut, as it didn’t “work well enough” and raised privacy questions. But then again, who really cares about your privacy — show of hands?

James McQuivey, an analyst who tracks TV technology for a company by the name of Forrester Research, doesn’t anticipate licensing hurdles to be a long-term issue, what with our generation’s ever-increasing leniency on web-based programming.

“The [TV] business is very quickly shifting away from the people that have controlled it forever.”

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