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Intel to target TV viewers with facial recognition ad tech

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Intel is pitching a set-top box to media companies that can recognize the viewer in order to pitch more-targeted advertising. Luckily, it's reportedly running into problems.

Multiple sources told Reuters that Intel is developing the hardware and software to allow facial recognition of the viewer, including their age and gender. Chipzilla is pitching media networks for support in a TV network, offering a small numbers of channels but with very precise user monitoring and feedback.

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Because who doesn't want adverts aimed right at them?

"They've told us the technology is going to be so much more interactive with ads that you can make more money. But it's just a little unproven," said one executive involved in the negotiations.

Intel had been pushing the concept of smart TVs powered by its hardware for some time, but has had little luck convincing manufacturers or consumers that they need what Chipzilla has to offer. Some reports suggest that Intel has been considering getting out of the market, but it may be the company has changed tack instead.

Companies are also taking another look at this whole targeted-advertising malarkey, as well. There's a growing consumer backlash against highly targeted advertising that uses personal data, and the idea of a television that watches and reports back on the viewer could well prove unpopular.

Intel is also reportedly running into problems that have bedeviled others trying to break into the US TV market. Suppliers know that very few people will buy specialist channels, so they're commonly sold in bundles, and Intel's plans look to be too small-scale for most bundlers.

"Why would I want you to take subscribers away from another distributor at a lower price?" said media executive who spoke on condition of anonymity. ®

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