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Intel Set-Top Box Camera Controversy: Much to do About Nothing

February 18, 2013 | Telepresence Options


Patrick Moorhead, Forbes

Last Tuesday, Erik Huggers, Intel's corporate vice president of Intel Media, �announced at D:Dive Into Media that Intel is building a set top box and pay TV service that includes live TV. �Huggers talked about the service which will most likely include friendlier bundling and also about the living-room device itself, which will operate more like a 21st century media device, not the slow and unfriendly devices most consumers use today.

Intel has assembled a group of entertainment veterans from companies from around the media industry blended with Intel employees to attempt to pull off this new form of TV entertainment nirvana. �The ensuing press coverage ranged from optimistic to a bit skeptical about their chances, but that's to be expected as many have tried and failed in this space,�including�Apple and Google. �One element some in the press criticized was the camera, which some fantasized as some big brother nightmare come to life. ��I want to provide the reality of what is going on, which after a bit of research, is much to do about nothing.

The Camera Shutter

While I would rather start with what the camera does and why it's a benefit, I think it's important to air out what Intel's camera has that most cameras don't have... a shutter. �That's right, the Intel STB camera has a shutter that viewers can close if they don't want to use it. �Think about how many devices with a camera that do not provide the option of a cover.

In 2012, there were approximately 675M smartphones shipped with a camera. �At CES 2012, Samsung showed off their latest TVs that�came with a camera.... without a shutter. �They subsequently added a shutter for their 2013 line. �Microsoftannounced last week they had shipped 24M Kinect devices since inception which come with cameras... without a shutter. �Nearly 200M notebooks with a camera... and no shutter. �Adding smartphones and notebooks just sold in 2012, that's over three-quarter of a billion devices sold just in 2012 that could be used in the home that include a camera without a

physical shutter. �You get the idea. �Intel's camera is opt-in and also provides a physical shutter that the viewer can close if they choose.

Let's now talk about why a viewer would want to use the camera.

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