RSS
Can Intel create a DVR that never sleeps?
Imagine the ability to record every show on every channel for three days at a time
If Intel has its way, two will soon become one.
If Intel has its way, two will soon become one. Illustration by Sarah Eberspacher | Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Facebook/Breaking Bad
A

long with the rest of the tech world, the computer chip company Intel has been working behind the scenes on new products that could greatly improve the way we watch TV.

The company recently abandoned work on a facial recognition camera that would deliver content based on who was watching, after it tested poorly in low lighting. Its next project: A DVR-like system that records every second of television aired locally, nationally, and internationally, and stores it for up to three days.

How does a DVR that never sleeps work? Intel plans to build a server farm that will record and store the content in the cloud, says The Wall Street Journal. Theoretically, TV viewers with Intel-designed set-top boxes will have full access to every show that aired, without having to schedule or record them on their own. For example, if a viewer turns on the TV at 9:55 p.m., right as an episode of Ink Master is ending, he or she could simply rewind to the beginning.

The product isn't up and running just yet. Intel is testing it with 2,500 employees in California, Oregon, and Arizona, and a few hurdles could slow the process. The most challenging, so far, is licensing. Networks are already arming themselves against what they view as a hostile takeover of their territory — i.e., your living room — and have boosted licensing costs for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

"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," says Landon Robinson at Best Techie.

Fierce competition in the rest of the tech world poses another challenge. Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and more are all toying with internet-television products that should start trickling out to the marketplace soon. "Apple has explored a number of new features for such a product, people familiar with the situation have said, including integrating DVR storage and its iCloud Internet syncing and data-storage service, and voice-interaction capabilities — which Apple's Siri brought to its mobile devices," says The Wall Street Journal.

But Intel's super-internet-DVR is different, says Mike Wheatley in Silicon Angle. "It looks as though Intel’s efforts are the most novel for its attempting to do the one thing that no one else has really thought of — leveraging the internet to build a superb TV viewing experience first, before adding on the additional bells and whistles at a later date."

Carmel Lobello is the business editor at TheWeek.com. Previously, she was an editor at DeathandTaxesMag.com.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week