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Cameras in Cable Boxes Under Consideration by Comcast
It is unusual for corporate executives to blab about new product concepts that aren't even in testing yet, and even more rare for them to openly discuss product ideas that appear very controversial.
That's why we're surprised that Comcast's senior vice president of user experience, Robert Kunkel, talked to Giga Omni Media blog NewTeeVee about a potential cable box with a built-in camera that can recognize the members of your household and their viewing habits.
Its almost like Kunkel wanted to draw out conspiracy theorists and privacy activists, but we suppose this is why businesses like a "trial balloon."
The theoretical product that Comcast is experimenting with would work like this: The cable box with camera recognizes a TV-watcher and brings up programming they've watched or makes viewing recommendations. Parental controls could appear if kids are in the room, and ads targeted to individuals could appear on-screen. The tech isn't based on facial recognition, but instead on body-shape recognition.
We're not sure why a camera is more useful for making user profiles than simply individual log-ins, but either we hope Comcast subscribers will be able to opt-out of this type of feature should it ever make it from think-tank stage into living rooms. -Rachel Rosmarin