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Intel IPTV set-top box in the works

Intel has revealed plans to get into the set-top box business with a consumer-oriented device designed for streaming video over the internet.

Intel already produces a low-power Atom CE processor range specifically for consumer electronics, but the company has until now limited its efforts to providing components, rather than retail products.

Speaking at the Dive Into Media conference earlier this week, Intel's Erik Huggers told attendees that his company will launch a set-top box into the market designed to connect to an Intel-powered internet video service, providing live streaming and on-demand content to users over their existing broadband connections.

The idea isn't new - the recently-launched YouView service works in the same way - but Intel's involvement is novel, at least. Previously, the company has shied away from getting its hands dirty at retail - but that is beginning to change, with the launch of its Next Unit of Computing (NUC) bare-bones PCs.

Unlike the NUC, however, the video streaming set-top box won't carry Intel's brand: Huggers explained that the company is setting up an entirely new brand name specifically for its video streaming venture, but without detailing exactly what that brand might be. The presence of the reassuring 'Intel Inside' logo, meanwhile, is all-but certain: the set-top box is expected to be based on the company's existing Atom CE processor range.

At the event, Huggers claimed that the set-top box will offer several unique features including an integrated camera with facial recognition capabilities to allow programming to be customised to the user - blocking children from watching unsuitable material, for example - while also allowing groups to connect their systems together remotely to watch and discuss the same programme, creating a 'distributed living room' experience.

Intel has yet to formally announce the device, along with pricing or availability, but is expected to launch the service towards the end of the year in order to compete with YouView's growing market share.

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