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Philips Patents Technology to Force Ad Viewing 823

An anonymous reader writes "According to New Scientist, Philips has filed a patent for technology to force viewers to watch the ads in a program. Basically they plan to add extra flags to the Multimedia Home Platform that would stop controls from working until the ads are finished." From the article: "Philips' patent acknowledges that this may be 'greatly resented by viewers' who could initially think their equipment has gone wrong. So it suggests the new system could throw up a warning on screen when it is enforcing advert viewing. The patent also suggests that the system could offer viewers the chance to pay a fee interactively to go back to skipping adverts."
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Philips Patents Technology to Force Ad Viewing

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  • When ads are on I go read articles on /.
    • by sgant ( 178166 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:51PM (#15153648) Homepage Journal
      I don't think you get it. You're FORCED to watch the advertisements.

      Part of this system will be eye-instruments similar to the ones used in A Clockwork Orange that keep the lids of your eyes fully open and staring directly into the screen. There will be no way of skipping the ads nor averting your eyes away from the ads.

      Of course, for a small fee you can avoid all of this.
      • by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:02PM (#15153741) Homepage Journal
        It seems likely that we have until the patent expires before non-Phillips products can use this technology without paying licensing fees. :-) Also means no open source implementations for about 17 years...
        • Re:Still fine by me (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:20PM (#15153864) Journal
          It seems likely that we have until the patent expires before non-Phillips products can use this technology without paying licensing fees. :-) Also means no open source implementations for about 17 years...

          We might not have to wait nearly that long before some insane law gets passed that mandates technology like this. Perhaps through some kind of back-handed method like a rider on an appropriations bill (can you say "broadcast flag?") or by bundling it with some kind of legislated DMCA control built into the players.

          Far-fetched? Maybe. But six-odd years ago, who'd have thought we'd see DMCA at all? Remember: DMCA is not about protecting copyright, it's about controlling access and I think we have yet to see all of the ways that content providers would like to use that control.
          • by Fareq ( 688769 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:34PM (#15153950)
            Since it's the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998, I'd say that 6 years ago we had a pretty good idea!

            (yes, I know that wasn't helpful)
          • by slashname3 ( 739398 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:11PM (#15154150)
            I would acutally welcome such flags in programs. It will make it so much easier to detect and autoskip commercials in mythtv. Right now it is about 80% accurate in skipping commercials using the methods available. With actual flags in the broadcast this will be 100% effective. Very cool!
            • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot.kadin@x[ ].net ['oxy' in gap]> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @11:08PM (#15154648) Homepage Journal
              You should get modded up -- that's actually an interesting way of using the flags. If Philips has a patent on using the flags to force viewing of commercials, maybe somebody else will use the same flags to skip them? That wouldn't infringe on the patent, would it?

              Of course, they'll probably only ever roll out such flags inside an end-to-end DRMed; a Roman orgy that makes HDMI look like a wet dream by comparison. You'd only be able to view the media on an approved platform, and the approved platform would then be forced to use Philips "no skipping" features. (I propose the system be given the brand name "MindRape(TM)" -- think that'll fly with the focus groups?)

              I do think though that implementing a feature like this would push average consumers towards pirated or illegally flashed equipment faster than anything else. Let's face it, Joe Consumer doesn't give a shit about playing HD content on Linux and probably won't own one of the early HDTV sets without HDMI ... but skipping commercials? Now that's a feature worth trolling through some shady businesses in Chinatown for. Why? Because it's something you can easily show off. You and your beer buddies are sitting around watching the game you TiVoed the day before; a commercial comes on and everyone groans...but with a sly wink you pick up the remote and--wham!--back to the game. That's a hell of a lot more impressive than "look, I can play imported anime!" or "I can play weird subtitled French porn!" to most people, I'll bet.

              Yes, it's sad when FF-ing through commercials is something that people will be able to get a slightly deviant thrill out of doing, like running a red light on a deserted street at night, but I think that's the future we're hurtling towards.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:22PM (#15153878)
        So it suggests the new system could throw up a warning on screen when it is enforcing advert viewing.

        "Warning: Phillips electronics engineers are clueless asspirates. Their marketing weasels are worse. While you're watching this shit, they're busy thinking up the next stupid-ass idea."

        The patent also suggests that the system could offer viewers the chance to pay a fee interactively to go back to skipping adverts.

        Also known as extortion.
      • by mdfst13 ( 664665 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @01:33AM (#15155079)
        "Of course, for a small fee you can avoid all of this."

        Did anyone else read that and think about what idiots they are? Offering ad free versions for a fee completely undercuts their advertising market. Think about it. Who pays money not to watch ads: people who are willing to spend money for convenience. Who watches the ads instead: people who are willing to accept inconvenience in return for cheapness. Which group of people makes a better advertising market?

        The people advertisers want to reach are the people who have disposable income and part with it easily. The exact people who do not see the ads in this scenario.

        The other thing that they continue to miss is that studies show that people have better retention of commercials through which they fast forward. Why? Because they actually watch them to see when the show comes back! By contrast, people who leave the commercials play tend to ignore the TV during the commercials (talk to others in the room; get up for a snack or bathroom break; etc.).

        Disabling fast forward during commercials is a stupid idea. The only result of this change would be a bunch of people with MythTV or a gray market commercial skipper getting perfect commercial skip.
    • Re:Fine by me. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by antarctican ( 301636 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:54PM (#15153675) Homepage
      When ads are on I go read articles on /.

      I used to hit mute and do the same (or read email) until I got my MythTV box. I couldn't live without it - watching ads and tv in real time, how archaic.

      Actually, this article gives me a better idea, which as probably been thought of before, but it's new for me! Let's start thinking up technologies (like not being able to skip commercials) which we reeeeeally would hate to see come to market. Then let's patent it, and not license the patents. If these media companies can use the law to limit fair use, then I think we should use the law to limit their anti-consumer techologies. We could then make money on the side when they try to implement these techologies by suing them for infringment.
  • by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:30PM (#15153501) Journal
    ...Is a patent for "paying us because we say so" and another for "a device that cuts out your eyelids" said one Phillips executive as he vanished in a cloud of his own vomit.

  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:30PM (#15153505)
    Philips' patent acknowledges that this may be 'greatly resented by viewers'

    Hard to resent something you will never buy.

  • by DrSkwid ( 118965 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:30PM (#15153507) Homepage Journal
    A TV that won't let me turn it off when it catches fire sounds great !

  • next up? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:31PM (#15153515)
    a tv that realizes you've gotten up to get a sandwich and replays the commercials when you return.

    • by MrFebtober ( 922100 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:47PM (#15153625)
      ...Anybody remember those Magnavox TVs that actually detected when a commercial was playing and attenuated the volume to make them less annoying? I believe it detected the audio compression technique that commercials use to seem louder than the actual program or something like that. Now that was technology for the consumer.
      • IIRC, back in the late 70's/early 80's either Popular Electronics or a similar magazine had plans to build a standalone device that did much the same thing. It was based on detecting a sudden upsurge in volume to work automatically. It wasn't perfect, as audio tracks that had a lot of dynamic range sometimes would trip the device, but it was still a pretty cool hack.
  • make money fast (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:32PM (#15153518) Homepage Journal
    Just start a lottery, where the winner gets to beat the piss out of the guy who thought of "forced advertisement".

    A sure winner.
  • by (chubbstar) ( 963218 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:32PM (#15153519) Homepage
    the next step is to simply have metallic arms come out of your chair, pin your arms down, peel your eyeballs open, and moisturize those pupils for 3 minutes.
    • by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:44PM (#15153608)
      Yes, with "Ludwig van" music playing all the time.
      • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) * on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @01:25AM (#15155055)
        This is capitalism, folks. Free markets demand freedom of advertising, and anything that stands in the way ineluctably promotes communism. This includes popup blockers, bathroom breaks while watching television, even being able to blink -- freedom of advertising is the only thing that stands between the free world and the collectivist nightmare of places like North Korea, China and, um, Sweden. So technology that forces ad viewing is essential to modern capitalism and free markets. Ad-blockers -- whether using fancy computer programs or more simple popup blockers like your eyelids -- destroy faith in the free market.

        Besides, technology that forces ad viewing can also be used to force the viewer to listen to long diatribes read from Atlas Shrugged.

        • Well said commodoresloat!

          Of course the antidote for commercial interests would be to simply put out non-annoying, conscise, informative, even entertaining ads like they did in the early days of TV (where it was mostly product placement within the sponsored shows).

          Or make em all like minimovies like The legendary 1984 Apple Computer ad.

          Now that's how to do an ad!

          The only other ad in the same league would be the (in)famous Where's the Beef? ad for Wendy's with the late great Clara Peller in it.

          By comparison,
  • by roadrash608 ( 542600 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:32PM (#15153520)
    ...if they patent this, then nobody *else* will do it, and than we can all just go and not buy Philips TVs.
  • DVDs anyone? (Score:3, Informative)

    by amigabill ( 146897 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:32PM (#15153523)
    Basically they plan to add extra flags to the Multimedia Home Platform that would stop controls from working until the ads are finished.

    DVDs did that years ago and I've hated it the whole time. Especially after I've waited for it for previous viewings of a movie, and I'ev already decided to or not to buy that thing or watch that other movie coming soon (ie. 4 years ago) to a theater or DVD near me. Is this prior art, or do they have a loophole aroung it? Though I wouldn't mind if the threat of lawsuit over such a patent prevented any media distributors from doing any mroe of this really annoying crap.
    • Re:DVDs anyone? (Score:3, Informative)

      by MoonBuggy ( 611105 )
      I don't think UOPs (user operation prohibitions) are prior art, for two important reasons. Having skimmed the patent itself, the major distinctions seem to be that the flags are in the live broadcast (rather than a pre-recorded disc), that they encode themselves as it is recorded and that it prevents channel hopping in a live broadcast (whereas DVD UOPs only disable DVD functions, not TV channel functions).

      As another poster said, however, it may be a good thing that this patent is valid - if Philips hold a
      • Re:DVDs anyone? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by slashname3 ( 739398 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:31PM (#15154250)
        the flags are in the live broadcast

        We should all get behind this and get the networks to start using this system as soon as possible! Has no one else realized that if they embed flags in the broadcast that indicate when a commercial starts and stops that those same flags can be used to AUTOMATICALLY SKIP those same commercials? This will be a major boon to home built DVR systems.

        So get out there and support this technology!
  • Nice job! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shut_up_man ( 450725 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:32PM (#15153525) Homepage
    My desire to buy a Philips product ever again in my lifetime just plummetted to zero. Nice work, marketing department!
  • by NatteringNabob ( 829042 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:33PM (#15153531)
    Just off the top of my head, it seems unlikely that consumers are going to come beating on Phillips door to get this marvelous new invention, but I guess they can always sell it to cable companies for incorporation in set top boxes so the consumer doesn't get a choice. And I suppose that eventually, they can 'persuade' somebody to introduce legislation to require TV's to include this 'feature'. It wouldn't be the first time.
  • Isn't CSS prior art for this? Plenty of DVDs have commercials you can't fast forward or otherwise skip.
  • offensive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yahweh Doesn't Exist ( 906833 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:33PM (#15153534)
    I hate the forced adverts on DVD. what pisses me off even more is when they aren't even advertising products, they're just forcing me to watch their "copying DVDs is piracy and is the same as mugguing someone so don't do it" bullshit. on a DVD I've just fucking bought anyway.

    stuff like this, like computer game protection, just makes it easier as well as cheaper to get things illegally.
    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:40PM (#15153579) Homepage
      You know, if you just pirate the movie you can skip the adverts.

      Hmm... There should be some lesson in there about giving consumers more for their money, but as far as I can tell that just means more adverts.

      • by JudgeFurious ( 455868 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:49PM (#15154342)
        Exactly. I buy a lot of DVD's but I also rip a lot of rentals too. Every time I learn of some bullshit scheme like this the numbers rise on the ripping side. As things stand right now I rip a lot of the ones I buy anyway to make "disposable copies" while protecting the originals.

          When I rent a movie and rip it to make a keeper is it stealing? I guess so but I don't really care at this point. They hack away at my rights and in return I hack away at their profits.

          Sure I'm not right but neither are they. They might be "legal" but that doesn't make them right.
    • Re:offensive (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:48PM (#15153634) Homepage Journal
      what pisses me off even more is when they aren't even advertising products, they're just forcing me to watch their "copying DVDs is piracy and is the same as mugguing someone so don't do it" bullshit.

      My nieces, who are 4 years old, have a number of childrens DVDs they like to watch (Disney movies and such). These sorts of discs are the absolute WORST for forced advertisements. One of the discs they like to watch (and I forget which one it is) has a 10 MINUTE advertisement for "Madagascar" which can't be skipped.

      And do you know what the galling part about this is? They own a copy of Madagascar!. And yet, every time they want to watch this other movie, I have to stand there with my thumb on the fast forward button to get through the advertisement for a movie they already own (you can't skip the track, but at least fast forward works to get through it quicker).

      Thank goodness my nieces are generally very well behaved and patient people, and don't seem to mind (or question) the fact that I have to fast forward through these things for them. But still, if you think the DVDs you watch are bad, try pretty much any kids movie. Grrr.


      • The joys of VLC media player and a video-out socket.

        I'm also very fond of whoever authored my Buffy CDs, since they seemed to have somehow locked the "next scene" function on the piracy warnings, but not the "skip to scene". Much appreciated.
      • Re:offensive (Score:5, Informative)

        by back_pages ( 600753 ) <back_pages AT cox DOT net> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @10:10PM (#15154434) Journal
        Someone has probably already said this but you can flash the ROM on your DVD player and skip those inane advertisements. It'll also unlock the region encoding and you can play pirated movies from Bangkok or some crap like that, but I've never been interested in that.

        Mine was really easy. I had to open the case and read the model of an IC inside it, but most of the time that step is unnecessary. I just hunted the web for the flash program, downloaded it, burned it's contents to a CD, inserted the CD in the DVD player, clicked a menu or two, waited 10 minutes, and that's it.

        Now I can skip ANY FLIPPING JUNK they put at the beginnings of the DVD. That stuff drove me completely nuts, plus I found it ethically uncomfortable to cope with it in order to watch the movie I bought. It took me about an hour for the complete project (opening the case, reassembly, searching, burning the CD, and burning the ROM) and it has vastly improved how I enjoy my DVD player.

        Just a thought.

        • Re:offensive (Score:3, Informative)

          by Dachannien ( 617929 )
          You have to be fairly fortunate (or do research ahead of time) to own a DVD player that someone has hacked the firmware for, or that even has flashable firmware. For example, I like my DVD player - a JVC - but sadly, very few of their players have been hacked.

          While the parent poster is in good shape, the rest of you can do a search for "dvd player firmware" [] to get started.
        • Re:offensive (Score:3, Interesting)

          by david.given ( 6740 )
          Someone has probably already said this but you can flash the ROM on your DVD player and skip those inane advertisements. It'll also unlock the region encoding and you can play pirated movies from Bangkok or some crap like that, but I've never been interested in that.

          My cheapo no-name far eastern piece of imported junk does all this out of the box --- for most disks, loading the disk and pressing STOP STOP PLAY will cause it to immediately start playing from the beginning of track 1, bypassing all the unsk

    • Re:offensive (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:07PM (#15153774) Homepage
      I hate the forced adverts on DVD. what pisses me off even more is when they aren't even advertising products, they're just forcing me to watch their "copying DVDs is piracy and is the same as mugguing someone so don't do it" bullshit.

      Well, the original intention of the un-skippable sections was the copyright notice; I can at least understand that.

      Using it for ads and trailers is the abuse of the technology, and far more annoying than the 20-30 seconds of copyright notice, which I can live with. Being forced to watch trailers, ads, or anything else drives me insane.

      I don't want forced product placement at the front of my movies any more than I'd be willing to accept 'must watch' ads in my TV. I skip over the Kotex and Huggies ads for a reason; no matter how hard they try, I'm not gonna watch American Idol or Survivor; and geriatric products don't interest me yet.

      When will they learn that not all ads are relevant to all consumers? The sooner they understand that, unless they've paid me, they have no right to insist I actually watch their ads, the sooner we'll get along. :-P
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:35PM (#15153545)
    Do something the victim hates and make them pay you to stop.
    It's called "extortiom".
  • Wel... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kryten_nl ( 863119 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:37PM (#15153562)
    that's it I'm going back to books.
  • by Braedley ( 887013 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:42PM (#15153596)
    "Philips' patent acknowledges that this may be 'greatly resented by viewers'" I don't think resented is a strong enough word. Maybe loathed, but even that, I don't think, is strong enough.
  • Best Idea Ever! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by byron036 ( 178130 ) <rgant AT alum DOT wpi DOT edu> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:47PM (#15153626)

    And I am not being facetious. I can't wait for them to start adding flags identifying commercials to TV signals. One day later I bet there is a plugging to MythTV that perfectly edits your recordings to be commercial free.

    What with Digital TV lock-ins & broadcast flags I have no intention of ever buying mass market cable equipment again anyway. In the future all of my TV watching will be downloads anyway. This will just make it easier to get commercial free programming.

    I hope people buy these TVs like hot cakes, cause I won't.

  • No honey... (Score:5, Funny)

    by jfclavette ( 961511 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:50PM (#15153638)
    I'm not watching porn ! *Clicks button desperately*
  • by joe_n_bloe ( 244407 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:51PM (#15153649) Homepage
    Pretty soon it will be cheaper and less annoying to go see movies in the theater.

    I guess I'll have plenty of former TV time to perfect my Civilization IV skills. Or I could write another book.

    But Civ IV first.
    • Have you been to a movie lately? They run about 20 minutes or more of commercials before the movie. Not just the previews they used to run, actual damn commercials. To say nothing of the DON'T USER YOUR CELL PHONE bits.
  • by zzatz ( 965857 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @07:54PM (#15153666)
    When I buy something, I buy it for one very simple purpose: to gain exclusive control over it.

    If Philips wants to keep control over a TV or other device, that's fine. Give it to me, loan it to me, and I can accept that the owner keeps control over it - and I'm not the owner. But we have a technical term for selling property without turning over control, and that term is 'Fraud'.

    When I sold my previous home, I surrendered control over it to the new owner. I no longer control how that house is used, who may come and go, and which TV shows may be watched in the living room.

    It looks like Philips wants to pretend to sell me a device, while keeping control over it. That's not a sale, and presenting it as one is a clear case of fraud.
  • To patent the electrification of the fridge handle and the toilet seat during commercials...
  • by Cherita Chen ( 936355 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:16PM (#15153836) Homepage
    I think I'm going to file a patent that requires you to watch the Super Bowl. No longer will you be allowed to skip through the game and just view the commercials...
  • by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:24PM (#15153891)
    Phillips was just not thinking clearly when they invented this. There will be a flag at the start of commercials, and another at the end, to tell the anti-skip system when to activate. Just how long do you think it will be before someone figures out how to use the flags to start and stop the fast-forward button? This system of flags would be just as effective at automatically skipping ads.
  • by Dormann ( 793586 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:28PM (#15153916)
    My MythTV will be able to remove commercials much faster once there's a flag showing where the ads are.
  • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:29PM (#15153924)
    - No ripping to a PC; excuse: piracy.
    - No shooting of copyrighted objects with a camera; excuse: piracy.
    - No open formats such as mp3; excuse: piracy.
    - No skipping ads and copyright ads on DVD's or TV; excuse: piracy.
    - Fetch your seearch history and habits from search engines; excuse: piracy/child porn/terrorism.
    - Back door on cryptographic solutions for the government; excuse: piracy/child porn/terrorism.
    - Storing your e-mail and traffic for later review by the authorities; excuse: piracy/child porn/terrorism.

    We're looking for further excuses to install RFID chips under your skin, and electric zappers to control your actions, stay tuned.
  • by sjs132 ( 631745 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:34PM (#15153952) Homepage Journal
    I let my wallet speak for me when it comes to this crap...

    I won't buy a philips product if it enforces viewing of ads...

    Or anyone else's product of like features...

    This is why I DO NOT have Tivo and do NOT watch much TV.
    Heck, Most of the time I still use my VCR to record any "MUST SEE TV" - (c)NBC And just FF through commercials... Unless it is one I WANT to see (heard from friends after souper bowle or some such reason.)

    No, My computer is not an 8088 either, but yes, sometimes lowtech is the way...

    oh, and of course there is the famous (Click) surf or (Click) off buttons.

    If Phil & Co were smart they would make note of this... It's ashame that I already skip going to the movies because they force you to watch adds after purchasing a license to experience the content of the film in comfy seats with loud surround sound.

    But then again, I don't think I've missed toooo many movies that were worth seeing anyways. :) Bleh!
  • by netik ( 141046 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:45PM (#15154017) Homepage
    There's a lot going on right now in television that resembles what happened on the Max Headroom television series. A dystopian future where the people who don't pay for education can't get it (even things as simple as the ABC's, but we're not there, YET), intellectual property controls, corporations the size of governments with the same amount of power, and even this patent by phillips was part of an episode.

    There's a scene where an officer walks to a woman's apartment, pushes the off switch on the TV and exclaims, "An off switch! She'll get 20 years for that!".

    Ah well, It's primetime and it's time for dancing poodles on TV. Gotta go.

    Blank is beautiful!

  • Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @08:59PM (#15154085)
    This is what I see happening:

    - The companies that sell these devices leave out the part about them forcing you to watch commercials.
    - A huge amount of people buy them.
    - Less than a month later, customers get pissed off at the company and return the devices to wherever they bought them.

    After loosing tons of money over this, the companies finally realise that they have to listen to consumers.

    Of course, this would only happen in a perfect world. Something is bound to come up that will prevent people from receiving refunds or something of that matter.
  • by TripleE78 ( 883800 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `eelpirt'> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:00PM (#15154089) Homepage
    Oddly, I kind of want them to get this patent.

    If Philips ties the idea of forcing ads on those of us with their equipment, it keeps everyone else from doing the same without licensing the technology.

    Might as well enjoy the handful of accidental benefits of the borked patent system. . . ;)

  • brilliant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ChrisGilliard ( 913445 ) <christopher.gilliard@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:02PM (#15154099) Homepage
    This idea goes exactly against what successful companies like Google and Overture are doing. This will totally turn off consumers to anyone who implements this. Good luck.
  • by cdn-programmer ( 468978 ) <> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:10PM (#15154148)
    We have over 900 channels all largely showing the same crap and the same re-runs. I see little reason to even have a TV.

    This will be yet another reason for people to (1) not buy the product and (2) find something that meets their needs - which may be a home grown product and (3) cancel their cable or satelite subscription as well.

    Oh they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions - this isn't even a good intention.
  • by theJML ( 911853 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:14PM (#15154165) Homepage
    Philips suggests adding flags to commercial breaks to stop a viewer from changing channels until the adverts are over.

    So I'm surfing through channels, click, don't want that, click, nope, click, nope, click, nope, click ADVERTISEMENT and I'm stuck. I have to watch the add according to this until it's over and then i can go back to surfing to find out there's nothing on. Now THAT will suck.
  • Prior art. (Score:5, Funny)

    by edunbar93 ( 141167 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:24PM (#15154213)
    And I quote:

    "Where I was taken to, brothers was like no cinnie I ever viddied before. I was bound up in a straightjacket and my gulliver was strapped to a headrest with like wires running away from it. Then they clamped like lodlocks on my eyes so that I could not shut them, no matter how hard I tried."

    Sorry guys. This has already been done by the guys who made A Clockwork Orange, circa 1971.
  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @09:47PM (#15154333) Journal
    If we are going to be stuck with patents, can someone form an organisation that patents the evil stuff and makes it extremely expensive to do?
  • Blatantly ignorant (Score:4, Insightful)

    by back_pages ( 600753 ) <back_pages AT cox DOT net> on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @10:04PM (#15154412) Journal
    Slashdot reporting is persistently blatantly ignorant on the topic of patents.

    1. You cannot "file a patent." You file an application, and you that application can be anything you damn well please. You could file your local telephone book if you like. Tell Slashdot you filed your phone book as a patent application. It will be all over the headlines and you'll be famous for "patenting the phone book," although anyone with 22 seconds of experience working with the patent system would know that statement is unquestionably false.

    2. The article itself links to "the full patent" which is unquestionably not a patent. There is literally no story here.

    It's not like this is funny - an application for sex toys or resurrection machines. It's not like it's morally offensive - an application for a suicide machine. It's simply an application for a way to make some money. Sure, people might not like it, but any idiot who can force people to watch advertisements is a marketing genius. Whether or not it's fit to be patented is another story altogether, and one that won't be answered for years. The 371(c) date of that application is June 2005 - it probably won't even be glanced at by a patent examiner until 2007 or 2008.

    This informative post was brought to you free of charge. Sorry for the interruption. If you scroll down (or up), you'll read the normal Slashdot non-sequitur deliberate ignorance that brings you back to this website time after time. I just wonder if anybody but myself gets tired of reading systematically false and erroneous "news" reports on Slashdot.

  • by sbaker ( 47485 ) * on Tuesday April 18, 2006 @11:21PM (#15154695) Homepage
    I don't understand why Philips would do this. They make TV sets and VCRs and DVDs and such - but they don't own TV stations or cable networks so they don't profit from advertising. All this would do would be to make people not want to buy their equipment...where is the profit motive?

    I used to work for Philips Research Labs - they encourage employees to patent stuff - but that doesn't mean that they intend to make products that use the patent. Often they just want a large pile of patents to threaten other companies with - or patents may be defensive in nature. (There is a great story that Philips made a PacMan clone on one of their game consoles years ago - and just like every other company in that business, they got sued by Atari over it. Everyone else caved in and paid up - but Philips dug out an incredibly ancient Magnavox patent that covered the use of TV sets for synthetic video entertainments of all kinds...Atari dropped the law suite - but Philips didn't ever use their broad patent offensively. So defensive patents - when used ethically - are not necessarily a bad thing).

    Anyway - it's very dangerous to assign motives to a company due to some random patent.

    Personally, I can see a hidden advantage here. If the TV can lock out the controls when there are adverts present - that means that there must be some kind of flag embedded in the advert so the TV can recognise it. This flag would be a wonderful thing because it would mean that someone could use that very same flag to cause a PVR to skip over the advert completely automatically!
  • by igb ( 28052 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @01:49AM (#15155133)
    Look at what's happened in the UK to telephone advertising. We have the TPS now implementing the EU privacy directive, which is like the US `do not call' registry but with teeth. No exemptions for politics, charities, pre-existing relationships, and real sanctions against transgressors. Combined with XD I get about one junk call a year, and the same's true for the >60% of the population who have signed up. So the call centres are left chasing those that haven't, and as their call volumes rise, people become motivated to also sign up. It's a death spiral for outbound telemarketing.

    Now TV has a similar problem. There just aren't the channels that will deliver 20m. Dr Who got 8.5m on Saturday night, and ~10m is about the maximum anything will get. The young middle classes, to whom you want to advertise, are off watching BBC3 and BBC4 (no adverts) or surfing the web or down the pub. The more you try to lock such people as _are_ watching TV into seeing your adverts, the more you will encourage them to do something else. And people with money, or with technological chops, or with alternatives (ie the very people you want to see your adverts) will flee first. You're left with a desperate weight of adverts pressing down on one poor sod in a long-term ward in Scunthorpe.

    I'm always amused by empty shops with pounding music, who assume that as they have X customers at 90dB they'll get 2X customers at 100dB. Er, no: the people who have the money can't stand the noise, so turning it up loses you business. Same principal: you need to think outside the box, not just turn up the volume.


There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman