Intel’s TV box to include server-side DVR that records everything for at least three days

iTV on wall mockup

We’ve been hearing for months how Intel’s been hard at work developing its own Apple TV contender, which sources claim includes a television service of sorts. Conceivably frustrated enough with “everyone doing a half-assed Google TVs,” the world’s top chip maker reportedly set on to engineer a set-top box itself “and do it right.”

These rumors may soon prove true: according to a new report, Intel aims to turn the industry upside down by introducing supercharged DVR functionality said to tap a powerful server farm that records and stores every piece of programming for at least three days.

Now, TiVo devices have had a similar patented DVR feature called Trick Play for years. But Trick Play doesn’t hold a candle to Intel as it relies on local TiVo storage to record just up to half an hour tops of recently viewed television…

In that regard, Intel’s ambitious DVR plan no doubt entails massive investments in server infrastructure and billions of dollars in licensing payments to secure rights to record live TV for later viewing.

According to Don Clark and Ian Sherr with The Wall Street Journal, owners of Intel’s set-top box will be able to ditch their DVR devices:

Intel’s plans include a server farm to record every piece of programming aired—local, national and international – and store it for at least three days in the “cloud.”

Switch on the TV in the middle of any show, and a viewer can simply go back to the beginning. “This is live TV—but you can rewind it,” Mr. Huggers says.

Such capability would free the user from having to worry about scheduling and reduce the box’s reliance on local storage. The report goes on to mention the chip giant is currently testing the service with 2,500 employees in three different states.

Apple TV 5.4 Beta (Conference Room mode, iGen 001)
The upcoming Apple TV software update with Conference Room mode.

It could be called OnCue, as mentioned in Intel’s numerous trademark filings around the world. In case you’ve been wondering, an Intel-branded set-top box with server-side DVR that records everything is still on schedule to launch later this year.

Negotiations with media companies for content rights could delay new services and limit some features, though Intel vows to enter some markets by the end of the year.

Originally designed around a camera with facial recognition capabilities, Intel Media’s Erik Huggers now tells the Journal the team axed the built-in camera over privacy concerns and performance issues in low-light conditions.

According to the executive, Intel had planned to tap facial recognition to deliver social features and personalized recommendations, with Reuters even mentioning souped-up targeted advertising via facial recognition.

atv roku chromecast

Interestingly enough, the Journal states Apple too has explored integrating DVR storage and iCloud and Siri-driven voice capabilities. In addition to the incumbents such as Roku, the living room contenders increasingly include Silicon Valley’s top tech giants such as Microsoft with its Xbox and Apple, which may or may not introduce its own television set.

Microsoft’s experiments reportedly include “offering an Apple TV-like set-top box without videogame capability, building Xbox circuitry into TVs and adding DVR capability to Xbox models”.

In the meantime, Apple’s $99 Apple TV “hobby” claims more than half of all streaming set-top boxes sold. The latest entrant, of course, is Google’s Chrome OS-driven Chromecast HDMI dongle, seen above, a $35 device  that streams web video to television sets.