back to article Intel to target TV viewers with facial recognition ad tech

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 …


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  1. LaeMing Silver badge

    I'll wait for the OSS version.

    That detects when you are watching and doesn't play adds. But when you get up for a dring or a pee or to answer the door, it pauses the programs plays adds on mute until you get back.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I need this as much as I need a nest of wasps in my pants.

      Imagine, while you partner is asleep you have a shifty at the adult channels.

      The following night your both sitting down to watch Coronation Street and.... 'Yes you, last night you watched XXX why not try our XXXXX channel instead. '

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re:Imagine, while you partner is asleep you have a shifty at the adult channels.

        I don't think the TV can really be blamed for you basing a relationship on lies.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just like the telesales guys who call when your eating your tea. Will it have a big red F*** Off button embedded in the remorse control?

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: I'll wait for the OSS version.

      I find pressing || on the remote isn't so taxing I want to buy a TV that guesses when I want it to do that for me.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Isn't Microsoft already doing this with Kinect?

  2. mhoulden
    Big Brother

    I can imagine this being *really* popular

    "According to our tracking data, 5% of the audience put on masks when the adverts came on, 10% of them swore, 20% made rude gestures and 64% either left the room or turned to a different channel. The remaining 1% watched, but we think they were the clients who ordered the adverts". I understand companies want to make money but it would be nice if they could find ways other than showing as many adverts as possible when we're in the middle of something else.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: I can imagine this being *really* popular

      Welcome to the world of web 3.0.

      Dunno about you guys, but I will check on the schedules for the completion of my firewalled bunker with automated machine gun emplacements and hunter killer programs in the "software moat". Once the 3.0 goes into full swing I will retreat there until we go back to stone age 2.0.

      1. Mike Flugennock

        Re: I can imagine this being *really* popular

        Back to Web 2.0? Hell, I'm about ready to go back to Web 1.0. We may have been running at 56k, with no YouTube or streaming radio, but at least the Web wasn't so goddamn' polluted with tracking cookies and advertising.

    2. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: I can imagine this being *really* popular

      0.1% put tape over the sensor, and 0.001% hacked the firmware.

      We've had both groups terminated (although we offered a couple in the last group a job.)

  3. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Easy to fix

    A wad of gum or some duct tape should do the trick if any cable company is dumb enough to try and give people a set top box with a camera in it.

    1. Wize

      Re: Easy to fix

      I don't want a camera in my living room thats controlled by someone else.

      What if me and the other half 'get it on' while on the sofa?

      Get your face recognition software on that one.

      Ok, the pictures may be for face recognition services only, but will any be sent back to 'improve customer satisfaction' and how long before its remotely hacked?

      1. LaeMing Silver badge

        As Leonard Cohen sang (Tower of Song)

        "The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor"

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    You had me, but you lost me

    Having 30% of TV being ads (when it's not 100% infomercials) has already made me cancel cable and turn to Pirate Bay.

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  7. Richard Bijster
    Big Brother

    Sell your soul...

    "facial recognition of the viewer, including their age and gender." So.we'll now have cameras watching us in the living room, or in any room you choose to use such a 'service' in. The Orwellian telescreen will get a huge update with this being introduced. They know that you know you want it.

    From Orwell's 1984:

    "The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinised"

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Sell your soul...

      Lots of narcissists and Facebook users will love it. Anybody have a TV in the bathroom?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I see possibilities here...

        It could auto-tweet what you're watching, what you're wearing, what you're eating, drinking, how you've gone to take a poop...


      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sell your soul...

        "Lots of narcissists and Facebook users will love it."

        That's a fine distinction you're drawing there.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh I remember those.

    Surely they're still not popular.

    Last I heard they only showed faux news and something called "reality".


    D. Load

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Yours must be faulty

      Mine shows the odd documentry and a lot of video games

  9. Buzzword


    "There's a growing consumer backlash against highly targeted advertising that uses personal data..."

    Any technology which reduces the number of tampon ads that I (as a man) must endure can only be a good thing!

    1. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Tampons

      Mate are you watching daytime talk-shows and soaps or something? Not dissing your viewing choices but I think you're watching shows aimed at birds.

      1. Benjamin 4

        Re: Tampons

        They're even on Dave during Top Gear and mock the week and such like.

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: Tampons

      How about a trade? No more tampon adverts for no more nauseating 'Lynx effect' adverts.

      1. cyborg

        Re: Tampons

        Because men enjoy stupid Lynx adverts?

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Tampons

          Well then you'll have to put up with adverts targeted to other people than yourself as well.

  10. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    Three reasons...

    why I don't own a TV.


    Stupid Adverts

    Totally f**king annoying Adverts

  11. Khaptain Silver badge

    No longer meant to entertain

    The TV has for many years given up trying to entertain people. Selling advertising space is it's only purpose and unfortunately the guineau pigs are the public at large.

    I gave up the television more than 10 years ago, I can't think of any plausible reason for ever owning one again.

    Its a sad situation when peoples only thought for the evening is which channel to watch......

    Pick up a book, go for a walk, do anything instead of sitting in front of a loud machine that bombardes your mind with publicity.........

    1. Mike Flugennock

      Re: No longer meant to entertain

      ...or inform, or educate, or anything else particularly useful.

      Just over twenty years ago, in the summer of '90, I moved out to California and stayed with some friends for a few months while I took crack at looking for work. In order to fit my computer into the back of my car, I had to leave the TV set behind. Best decision I ever made. My friends' place didn't have a TV readily accessible -- though I'd heard there was an old one stashed around the house someplace -- so for three or four months, I watched pretty much no TV at all; if I really, really needed to catch a ballgame on TV, I'd do what my Dad did, when he was young, back in the early '50s -- go to a bar, quaff a couple of brews, and watch the game there with a bunch of other guys.

      Returning home from California, I went back to watching just a bit, and only had the set on when a specific program I wanted to see was on, and the set was switched off after that (unlike my wife, who has the TV going in the bedroom almost constantly). In the past twenty years, there were only a handful of shows I'd make a date to watch every week, then I'd leave the set and go back to my studio to work. During the '90s I was watching maybe five hours a week at the most -- maybe.

      I've hardly touched my TV at all since MST3K's final season, in 1999. At the time, it was pretty much the only TV I watched on a regular basis.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone needs to stand up to these fucktards and tell them where to stick their 'great idea'

    Including Cookie Laws, Record Labels, Internet Taxation, etc etc

    It's getting ridiculous, who are these people and what short bus did they come in on

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Standing up to the 'Ad Men'

      Not gonna happen.

      At least not in the good ole USofA.

      If you try you will labeled a 'commie bastard' or worse, a 'terrorist'. Any act against this sort of thing is plainly not 'the American Way'.

      If we get to a point where there are no TV on sale that don't have this and Free to Air TV has died a death then I'll get rid of the TV.

      Until then you advertisers out there take note.

      This 'Grumpy Old Man' will never sign up for a system the TV/set-top-box sends data about what I'm viewing back to some MegCorp. NEVER Got it!

      (not that it will make one iota of difference but it feels better)

      Anon naturally.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Dear advertisers.

    When you intrude an advert into something I'm watching, or reading, or listening to, it has the same psychological effect on me as if someone had suddenly shat on my plate, while I was enjoying a meal, or pissed in my glass, while I was enjoying a drink. It makes me feel about as well-disposed towards you and as keen to give you my money as I would towards anyone who carried out either of those two acts.

    If you think the best way to avoid antagonising me in this way involves also spying on me so that you can ensure the steaming shit you deposit on my dinner plate is my preferred shade of brown, you are missing the point by several lightyears.

  14. Chris 171
    Big Brother

    Tinfoil maybe but...

    Every inbuilt webcam on my devices is covered.

    1984 is fiction, not a fkin manual.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising...kill yourself.

    there is little that irks me more than being considered part of a demographic. I assume as a twenty something male the ads targeted at me will be for Carling or similar (more of a real ale person). Bailey's or Dooley's (I like single malts of Scottish origin). They'll probably even throw in a few football themed ads too (Cricket is my passion.)

    I guess I'll just have to wear a flat cap and driving gloves when I get a TV so it can detect my inner grumpy old man.

    Now if you'll indulge me, can I take a moment to mention the astronomical price people are paying for satellite TV - which seems to cram in MORE ads?

    If I was paying £30 a month along with MILLIONS of others, I would expect my shows to be virtually ad free. Nobody likes ads, and if I watched telly more often I would be willing to pay a premium to ensure it would be ad free.

    As it is I get the shows I want ad free (ahoy there shipmates!). I watch them once or twice - delete them, and if I like the season I buy it on DVD/Blu-Ray. This seems fair to me and currently the only way I have to preserve my headspace.

  16. The Envoy

    There's always a market ...

    Today I saw a newspaper asking five people if 2 000 USD/1 360 GBP/1 680 Euro is too much to pay for a pair of sneakers.

    All adults said no. The young girl asked said "yes, if it is original enough".

    The follow up question to her would've been "how do you pay for it?", but it was never asked and I guess she'll pay with one of those phone loans with ridiculous interest rates.

    Consumingly yours,

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: There's always a market ...

      In a world of mass production, perhaps originality is all that's left for some people?

      I'm not buying a pair of sneakers - I'm buying a pair that I'll never see anyone else wearing...

      (Not that I would; I'm old and crusty enough to prefer function over form. How terribly 0.9 of me.)

  17. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Facial recognition may sound interesting.

    Facial recognition may sound interesting.

    Unless you are part of the target

    Clever it may seem to some

    Keen advertisers may want to try it

    Ordinary folk will find it distasteful though

    Facebook diehards may be less troubled.

    Fundamentally though I think its pretty


    No, I really cant see myself ever considering it


    Dont try to sell it to me, please

    I am not interested. Enough behavioural monitorimg is


  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    they know you are an idiot already

    stupid feature that everyone will hate but at the end of the day the consumer looking at a spec sheet of 2 tv's will plump for the one with this 'extra' feature .

  19. Benjamin 4

    Just realised Samsung are marketing TVs with built in web cams for 'video calls'. Also with xbox kinect. How long until a firmware update is released to enable this new feature?

  20. Richard Plinston Silver badge


    TVs with Webcams: It's not like the TV webcam in the bedrooms will be hacked into and watched by voyeurs, perverts or stalkers.

    Is it ?

  21. Richard Plinston Silver badge


    Most of what little I watch has been recorded and then I watch when I am ready and skip any adverts.

    With this technology the camera will see no one there while the recording is made and when I watch the TV is not set to a channel (it is on HDMI).

    How about having two TVs set to different talk show channels facing each other and let them knock themselves out.

    1. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Recording

      You sir are a genius

  22. Eddy Ito Silver badge


    "the idea of a television that watches and reports back on the viewer could well prove unpopular"

    Unpopular? Do you think?

  23. JaitcH

    Simple Fix!

    Either stick a piece of tape over Cyclops eye, or put a doll in front of it, or point it sideways.

    Might be interesting to see what it makes of that.

  24. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Wake up No 7864543, yes you!

    We insist you watch this advert for No-Doze Pills.

    No-Doze, the the proletarian's choice

  25. jai

    Alan Partridge

    Shouldn't there be an "Ah haa!" at the end of that subtitle??

  26. Sceptic Tank

    Could work....

    Targeted advertising sounds like a good idea. It will see me cringing as soon as the ads start rolling, see me reach for the remote and sense that I'm flipping channels somewhere in the KHz ranges trying to find a channel where there isn't an ad-break. So after a day or two it should already start seeing that I'm not the ad-watching type and stop showing them altogether. Bonus!

    The sad thing is that you will probably be able to buy TV sets without this tech, but you'll be charged more for the privilege.

    <==== Mommy, the nasty uncle machine is watching me!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    folks, it's gonna happen. No matter how outraged you are, it will happen. And, by the way, fear not, you're not the target. You and your views (pardon the pun) are - irrelevant, because you are such a miniscule group. You're not even in the (tiny) minority who feel a bit uneasy, and WE HAVE SOMETHING READY FOR THEM TOO, don't you worry. You're in this tiny fringe minority which is so tiny, that the advertisers can't be bothered to spend a split of a second of their precious time to think how to get to you.

    The majority - which the advertisers are interested in - will embrace this idea (however you want to visualize it, usually thus: they will bend over, they'll spread their cheeks, shove it in themselves and say: uhm, it feeels so goood, gimme more, etc). They will. They always do. That's why advertising is such a lovely, profitable business. More than enough sheep to shear, and all that. Do you start seeing sheep edging away? Maybe. Like, 1 out of 10 milion.

  28. Big_Boomer Bronze badge
    Big Brother

    Where is your phone?

    Your phone has one or more cameras on it.

    Where is it? Is it watching you?

    Has BB switched on the camera and right now is watching your every move?

    Mine is in my jacket pocket so they have a great view of lint. :-)

    As for cameras in TV sets, what difference will that make.

    Your house already has several cameras in your Kinect, laptops, phones, etc.

    And turning off targeted ads will be no more difficult than turning off untargeted ads.

  29. John A Blackley

    Ah, I remember

    That's the medium that dished up truckloads of pigswill - at times and on dates dictated by the truckers - so heavily polluted with advertisements that one tended to lose track of why one switched it on in the first place.

    How charmingly old-fashioned.

  30. GLT

    Does anyone remember...

    John Brunner...Stand on Zanzibar...HomeImage...Mr & Mrs Everywhere??

  31. MJI Silver badge

    You watch Adverts?

    I don't, I pay about £140 though, and may be one programme a day I want to watch.

    When you read all of these posts you think - at least we have the BBC. There may be a load of crud, but there still is the odd gem.

    We have some fantastic documentries, nature (David Attenborough) programmes, sitcoms (recently Not Going Out), reasonable news, just need to look past Deadenders.

    Other sides - PVRs make short shrift of adverts.

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