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New Patent on TV Forces You to Watch Ads 470

WebHostingGuy writes "A patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says researchers of the Netherland-based consumer electronics company have created a technology that could let broadcasters freeze a channel during a commercial, so viewers wouldn't be able to avoid it. Philips acknowledged that this technology might not sit well with consumers and suggested in its patent filing that consumers be allowed to avoid the feature if they paid broadcasters a fee."
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New Patent on TV Forces You to Watch Ads

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  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:49AM (#15171856) Homepage Journal
    I remember seeing this a few days ago [] and thinking they couldn't manage it, but slashdot has broken all coding records and implemented it already ;)

    The one thing thats worrying me though is that I'm a paying member here on slashdot, so theres a bug somewhere still.

    Ahhh well, if slash can do it, so can I - heres the posting I made in the previous article:

    Forget muting commercials, this is TV - when the ad break comes on, will I be able to switch channels?

    What about the advertising on the other channels that I'm missing.

    What if I am flicking around the channels (from a sanctioned spot) and happen upon a commercial, will I not be able to continue to the next channel?

    • Maybe next they'll make it so that you can't turn the TV off, or maybe it will helpfully pause that commercial for you if you get up to go to the bathroom or the kitchen.
      • by statusbar ( 314703 ) <> on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:09AM (#15171955) Homepage Journal
        No, no, they will make it so that the bathroom door doesn't open while the commercial is playing. Problem solved.

      • And will also pause if blink, yawn, cough, fart, have a conversation, play with the dog or do anything that interrupts your viewing of the ads.
    • by glesga_kiss ( 596639 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:05AM (#15171928)
      What if I am flicking around the channels (from a sanctioned spot) and happen upon a commercial, will I not be able to continue to the next channel?

      Well, as always consider who gets to make this decission, and whether or not it's in their interests. Is it in the interests of Channel XYZ to get these extra eyeballs on their commercials? Damn straight. Of course, when it happens it will be "accidental". Honest.

      Rememember, with TV YOU are the product. The TV company is essentially selling your time to the advertisers. In exchange for your time, they promise to entertain you.

      Personally, I'd be for this system if (and only if) subscribing to the non-ad version completely removes all advertising. But that is never going to happen.

    • by cloudkiller ( 877302 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:54AM (#15172183) Homepage Journal
      I remember the days when technology was exciting. Every new product promised so much possibility and opportunity. Hell, some of them even made me want to run out and buy the thing. These days, however, new technology just leaves me feeling sick. I find myself buying more and more tin foil, holding on to my relics of the 90's and talking about the good old days when a computer and a fast connection could get you anything but in trouble. But what can your average /. reader do? I suppose I should just settle my suit with the RIAA, buy another DVD copy of Dr. Strangelove because the first is too scratched up to play, hope Sony's rootkit will magically remove itself from my computer, and watch another 22 minutes of commercials in a half-hour re-run of Seinfeld.
    • Why don't they just do what the radio stations in my area seem to do:
      Have every station (that has ads) have the exact same commercial schedule. That way, whenever you switch channels, you would get commercials, just different ones. If I am listening to the radio I dont bother to switch channels during commercials because I know I am just going to get more commercials...
      I for one would surf on over to CSPAN or PBS to stick it to the man. (With my luck it would be pledge week on PBS- but hey, I could get a
  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <> on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:49AM (#15171857) Homepage Journal
    The thing I don't like on TV are all the repeats... (or "dupes" as they're known in the trade).
  • by denissmith ( 31123 ) * on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:51AM (#15171861)
    Yes, I would much rather pay a fee to be allowed to change channels. What makes them think that we will be happy with either option?
    • Re:Improvement? (Score:3, Insightful)

      What makes them think that we will be happy with either option?

      They probably don't care. They'll just do what everybody else does when their customers won't voluntarily support their business model: Pay Congress to force it on us.

    • In fact, I'd happily pay the hacker DOUBLE what I would have to pay the network.

      Jeez, I'm starting to feel more and more every day like I'm living in 1984.


  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:53AM (#15171873) Homepage Journal
    Will I still have to watch the ads?

    Seriously - its a good thing that there's a patent on this. The more heavily patented (with associated royalties, etc) something is, the less likely it is that industry will actually use it...
    • The more heavily patented (with associated royalties, etc) something is, the less likely it is that industry will actually use it...

      That brings up a serious point I have pondered amidst all the SlashFUD on this topic...

      Philips has patented this "flag". Neither congress nor the FCC has required its use.

      Now, I see two possible outcomes here:

      First, if the Congresscritters do mandate implementation, it would seem to me that Philips, simply by not licensing the use of their flag, could instantly drive
    • Alex: No. No! NO! Stop it! Stop it, please! I beg you! This is sin! This is sin! This is sin! It's a sin, it's a sin, it's a sin!
      Dr. Brodsky: Sin? What's all this about sin?
      Alex: That! Using Ludwig van like that! He did no harm to anyone. Beethoven just wrote music!
      Dr. Branom: Are you referring to the background score?
      Alex: Yes.
      Dr. Branom: You've heard Beethoven before?
      Alex: Yes!
      Dr. Brodsky: So, you're keen on music?
      Alex: YES!
      Dr. Brodsky: Can't be helped. Here's the punishment element perhaps.
      If a man c
  • by ettlz ( 639203 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:55AM (#15171882) Journal
    OK, so that's Philips and Sony off the list. Who's next?
  • Good job. (Score:5, Funny)

    by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:59AM (#15171905)
    Someone finally found a way to make to make people go back to reading books. Good work, guys.

    I'm off to patent magazines that refuse to let you turn the page for 30 seconds if there's an ad on it.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I have prior art with porn mags that take 30 secs to turn the page.
    • You joke, but you better hurry up with that patent. If e-books ever take off, I wouldn't doubt some form of that would be present.
  • Summary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by quokkapox ( 847798 ) <> on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:00AM (#15171907)
    This means we could just use the "advertisement" flags to skip over the actual ads and just keep the content. Even better!

    No, we couldn't, because the content provider will set the "ad" flag during key parts of the actual program, which you don't want to miss.

    OMG Clockwork Orange jokes.

    'Nuff said.

  • by Turbofish ( 585771 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:03AM (#15171916)

    1) Forbid viewers from switching channels during commercials.
    2) Forbid viewers from turning off their TV's.
    3) Get promoted to CEO of Network 23.
    4) Rule the World!


    • Mod Parent Up (Score:3, Informative)

      by Prototerm ( 762512 )
      This is a reference to the classic (and surprisingly good) and short-lived TV show Max Headroom, where televisions didn't have an "off" switch.

      Oh, I think it was "30 minutes into the future", wasn't it? Anybody out there whose memory wasn't shot off in the war?

      I guess disabling the off button will be the next patent from Phillips.

      • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:3, Informative)

        by Hatta ( 162192 )
        Oh, I think it was "30 minutes into the future", wasn't it? Anybody out there whose memory wasn't shot off in the war?

        It was "20 minutes into the future", and you can download the whole thing at DAP central []. Make sure you read the FAQ, and don't piss off Queued.
  • by a_nonamiss ( 743253 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:05AM (#15171934)
    Quick, someon patent a technology that makes me unable to get up and take a dump while commercials are playing. Maybe a special chair that's required while watching TV. When the commercials come on, metal rings bolt my arms and legs to the chair so I can't get up. Then, a little robotic arm comes out of the headrest and holds my eyelids open so I can't close my eyes. The volume on the TV is autoatically turned up so that I am unable to think of anything else while I am bombarded with the new Chili's advertisement.

    Man, I'm gonna be rich...
  • It's nice to finally see someone in the corporate IT world step up and protect the customers! I've been waiting for years for someone to come up with a decent method of managing my digital rights, and this looks like just the ticket!

    Anyone know how long it'll take before this is ready for retail? I want to get in early on the pre-orders - this is going to sell out pretty fast.

  • This is really ridiculous! Shame on Philips.

    I'll never buy a TV with that feature (if it can't be activated/hacked or something)
    • What we really need to do is start standing up for ourselves as customers (note: not "consumers") by refusing to buy such a thing regardless of whether it can be hacked or not. Philips (and Sony, and Microsoft, and all the other companies that do shit like this) should lose our business just for trying to screw us over!
  • Yes but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by techstar25 ( 556988 ) <> on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:11AM (#15171959) Journal
    Yes but can it keep me from turning the TV off and reading a book instead?
  • Dear broadcasters: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eggplant62 ( 120514 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:13AM (#15171967)
    Fuck you. The commercials are the stupidest part of my television-watching experience. Everytime a commercial break happens, I feel my intelligence is insulted. The idiots ensure that the commercials are as annoying, as loud, as irritating as possible in the chance that I might pay attention and buy whatever it is they are pushing, kinda similar to when you visit some neighborhoods in Detroit, and the pimps and pushers start trying to hawk their wares to whoever will listen.

    Best example: Matthew Lesko, the screaming asshole who hawks the book full of gubbermint programs to help you go to college, get a job, get money to pay your bills, etc. This idiot runs around in a coat covered in $-signs, looks like Waldo of "Where's Waldo" fame, and SCREAMS ABOUT HOW MUCH HE'S GOING TO HELP ME FIND MONEY FROM THE GOVERNMENT TO GET A CIRCUMCISION OR BOFF MY WIFE NEXT WEEK OR USE CAT FECES AS AN ALTERNATIVE FUEL SOURCE.

    Second best example: Recently, Burger King started a commercial campaign to promote a new chicken sandwich. To do so, the commercial starts this slow music with lyrics that go like this:

    Big.... buckin' chicken...
    You are big... and you are chicken...
    Big... Buckin' chicken...

    The commercial features some clown in a chicken suit with a saddle on its back and another idiot riding in the saddle, probably a midget. I work from home, usually leaving the television on, tuned to Spike TV, since there's like a 5 hour marathon of ST:DS9 and ST:TNG reruns, which seem like heaven when compared with the rest of the afternoon fare. Spike ran this commercial at every break during that 5 hour marathon every weekday for the entire months of January through March. On my wife's days off, it was a race to see who could grab the remote the fastest to at least mute the idiocy that was that commercial. Since then, I've vowed never to eat at a Burger King again.

    So, now they want to extort money from me to have control over an appliance I've paid upwards of $400 to $1000 US for? Fuck you, you assholes. I'll toss the bleedin' thing in the garbage and start pirating even *more* movies than I do from USENET. It's getting so that I really don't need the TV any more.
    • Hmmm... apparently it worked since you actually remember the commercials.
    • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:32AM (#15172052)
      I work from home, usually leaving the television on, tuned to Spike TV, since there's like a 5 hour marathon of ST:DS9 and ST:TNG reruns, which seem like heaven when compared with the rest of the afternoon fare. Spike ran this commercial at every break during that 5 hour marathon every weekday for the entire months of January through March.

      Being in a similar situation, I certainly understand. I too work from home and I need some video noise to help me through the day sometimes. But I do it in a different way. I have a second monitor which is routinely playing TV shows. I've been re-running entire series (Did all the Star Treks last year, on the 3rd season of Northern exposure right now).

      I like the noise, but commercials would actually distract me from work. No way I'd put up with that. I recommend you try getting commercial free versions of your favorite shows. I won't comment on where to get them...
      • I recommend you try getting commercial free versions of your favorite shows. I won't comment on where to get them...

        I've heard that there are these mythical places called "stores", which can provide commercial-free versions of television shows in exchange for money. They're even nice enough to provide you with a tidy box to keep the shows in. The only problem is that there are a few shows I would like to give them money for, but which they never seem to have, such as Max Headroom.

    • for all the content you want to watch. Leaving to one side all the DRM arguments it actually costs quite a bit of cash to make a decent TV program. Either you pay through public subscription - like the TV license fee here in the UK, or you pay via advertising. And if you pay via advertisong then it's down to the advertisers to say what ads they want to show.

      And the annoying ones - they're the ones that work. Ask any Brit about the most annoying add ever and you'll hear 'shake'n'vac' mentioned. Ask any Bri

      • "So who exactly is going to pay for all the content you want to watch."

        Maybe the advertisers will? Just a thought. Seriously, they seem to have no problem paying the broadcasters under the current system, where everyone's free to change the channel whenever they want.

        I'm so sick of this sort of whining. "Oh no! The poor broadcasters! If you aren't forced to sit through the advertisements, where will they get thier money?" The fact is, we haven't ever been forced to sit through the advertisements in th
        • The point is that with current Mom and Pop technology they are de-facto forced to watch the ads. OK, strictly speaking they could get up and leave the room, or channel surf for a few minutes but if you're trying to follow the plot then you have to stay with the channel.

          On the other hand new technology, which hasn't percolated down to Mom and Pop level yet but soon will will allow all the viewers to skip the ads, not just the tech savy ones. The advertisers will say, with good reason, why waste money on TV a

    • Wait, let me get this straight. You feel your intelligence is insulted when you see the commercials? Do you even pay attention to the content?! I understand there are some genuinely good, thougth provoking shows out there, but the other 99% of brainwave-ironing crap is just as worthless as the commercials. That's why I stopped watching TV. The commecials were so GOD AWFUL that it wasn't even worth muting the TV anymore. I haven't seen more than two hours of TV in the last 5 months. I feel better ever
    • My first thought when I read your post was,
      what the fuck is this guy watching that he see's that $ suit guy constantly. I've seen that- maybe twice, and yes- it is distinctive.. but I couldn't imagine my tv habits being such that I'd see that commercial often.

      then you identify that you have on, apparently most weekdays, five hour marathons of ST shows.

      I think the shows you are watching should be insulting to your intelligence.. to the degree in which you are watching them.

      Everything in moderation man....

    • Second best example: Recently, Bu*ger *ing started a commercial

      They don't make ads so you'll be impressed with their intelligence.
      They make ads so you'll be thinking about their product, and aware of their brand.

      Because if you show them their shit works, they won't stop doing it.
    • by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:43AM (#15173275) Journal
      So, now they want to extort money from me to have control over an appliance I've paid upwards of $400 to $1000 US for?

      Dear User,
      We understand your concerns and will forward it to our customer complaint department at the local sanitation department. As a temporary solution we suggest that you buy one of our improved TV models. These models, which are the same as yours, range in the price of $1600-$4000 but have the added benefit of allowing you to change channels during commercials

      We do want you to enjoy your TV experience, but the added cost of TV production has given the need for this new technology.


      TV Customer Service

      P.S. You will be getting a knock on your door from the FBI for attempting to circumvent our commercial broadcasting experience.
  • by Grimster ( 127581 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:14AM (#15171973) Homepage
    Every month when my cable bill comes in, I pay a fee, I should be able to time shift and skip any commercials I want, I pay nearly $80 per month for all the bells, whistles, and channels I get and by god I feel like that gives me all the right I need to skip the stupid commercials.

    Product placement is gonna get more and more common and intrusive as the old way of just showing commercials becomes less and less profitable. Wait till people stop mid show, hold up a bottle of dawn and smile and say how much they love how it makes their hands feel. What's old is new again.
  • "PAY TV" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Egonis ( 155154 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:15AM (#15171975)
    I remember in the early 80's here in Canada, Rogers Cable offered "Pay Television" whereby you pay them for a cable hookup, and enjoy television without commercials... that's why it costed money. The rabbit ears hookup only showed commercials for the sake of covering broadcasting costs.

    What happened? How incredibly greedy can people become? Television shows make millions, and cable providers make millions, etc. etc.

    I remember they once talked about showing ads while shows aired, an almost Truman Show-esque "Joey drinks Coca-Cola" while watching Friends.

    And now they wonder why people pirate television programs, movies, games, music, etc.? Because it has become not only inconvenient to watch, use, or play due to the number of advertisements in everything nowadays, but we are PAYING for them.

    Just like buying clothes at the Gap, and billboarding their logo to everyone, what's next? Car Insurance companies will require you to paste their logo on your car? Or how about when you see the dentist? Will they make you wear a hat pointing downward saying "This smile brought to you by Dr. Dentafark".

    Now possibly moving outward to an off-topic, but people question why youth today are so different, have a look at how many advertisements they see, and wear every day!
    • "I remember they once talked about showing ads while shows aired, an almost Truman Show-esque "Joey drinks Coca-Cola" while watching Friends."

      That's pretty much how it was in the 1950's. A lot of advertising was accomplished using product placement, or even cheesy game shows whose entire purpose was to promote a product. There's a great clip out there of Fred and Barney of the Flintstones, stopping mid-show to take a Marlboro break, and extoll the virtues of its flavor. And this was radio, but what about
      • You're right. I actually never thought about that. How interesting that they made so many product references back then, but got away with it because it was just so suave in how it was delivered.

        What upsets me about commercialism nowadays is that it's obnoxious; yes, Fred and Barney stopped for a smooth and rich Marlboro break, but they never said "Smoke these, and girls will love you, you disgusting bastard!". Commercialism nowadays tells you that Axe Deodorant makes you attractive, and girls' makeup is nec
  • by Kj0n ( 245572 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:15AM (#15171976)
    New Patent on Slashdot Forces You to Read Articles Twice (if you're lucky).
  • Advertising that will make your potential customers hate and resent you! Who wouldn't want that?
  • They never learn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FishandChips ( 695645 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:17AM (#15171980) Journal
    As with some aspects of Hollywood and DRM, it's just a patent to shore up a dying economic model by attempting to use coercion rather than choice. If implemented, it will simply create a huge amount of ill will and do nothing to change the fact that the traditional broadcast TV model is on the way out. Perhaps it's only a matter of time before one of the industry's tame politicians introduces a bill saying that not watching adverts is unpatriotic and must be made a criminal offence toute suite. Then we can all see grannies being carted off to jail for skipping the latest news about fruit-flavoured douches and even shinier floor polish.
  • Excellent (Score:3, Insightful)

    by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:18AM (#15171989) Homepage
    With TV viewership declining and TV execs scrambling to find a way to retain the remaining viewers and attract more, I cannot think of a better strategy. I can imagine the discussion now..

    "Should we try to improve the quality of the programming? No screw that, let's roll out a few dozen more reality shows and then really piss them off by locking their TVs during commercials." Or maybe it is a threat: Amercia better start watching more TV or next we will start selling TVs that bitch slap you every time you get up to head to the kitchen (although there may be an innovative weight loss plan there)

    I guess the TVs that add this patented feature will target the same customers who purchase Windows Vista. You know the kind, they feel as though what they currently own has way too many features and capabilities and are eager to pay more for something that includes a lot of technical restrictions on what they can do.

  • just revert to extortion.

    Nothing to see here, please move along.

    After a word from our spons

    <I don't know how to pause text, but when I figure it out, I'll patent it for web advertsements>

  • I wonder if it was developed in an underground lair? Using magma?

  • Give it a while (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <> on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:24AM (#15172016)
    A few months after Philips are manufacturing these things, you know that Daewoo will start buying the same chipset. One quick firmware hack later, you will have a telly that automatically changes channels for you when the adverts come on. Or a DVD+RW recorder that automatically puts chapter marks fore and aft of every piss-break.

    I mean, seriously ..... come on. If there is ever a reliable way to distinguish advertising from editorial content {such a thing actually was nearly mandated in the UK once but was rejected}, then it will end up being used in ways that benefit the consumer more than the advertiser.

    Also, I don't see what there is to grant a patent against. Either there's already a spec for an "advertisement" flag, in which case making use of it to enforce viewing of advertisements should be obvious; or there isn't a spec for an "advertisement" flag, in which case introducing such a flag would be obvious. Patent application is invalid on grounds of obviety either way. Ting! Next, please.
  • Bad enough already (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:24AM (#15172025)
    I was visiting the US recently (from the UK) and tried to watch TV. I just couldn't bear it - the adverts were just so frequent and intrusive that I had wandered off and started browsing the web by the time the show came back on. And these guys want to make that *worse* by removing the option of just flicking channels? Stupid in the extreme.
    • We got Sky digital in my home about 2 years ago. We (well my Dad. I'm still a poor student) have to pay about 60 a month and that's not even the "Sky+" thingy. I can't believe how many ads are on, especially compared to the terrestrial TV! It feels like we're paying loads of money to watch a bunch of ads. The majority of the programmes are crap, the good programmes are all repeats. The films are shown about 3 times a day. I know when I move out, there's no way in hell I'm gonna fork out that money for crap.
  • Extortion: That's what it is, plain and simple.
  • The technology and the patent for sure it real, but there is no reason to be upset. Philips (I think?) have no power of broadcasting per se and the technology will only be in their box. Their idea is that various companies will bundle their box with TV sets or special offers and that the customers will recieve the box for free. If they do not like the "feature" they can always buy another box which will allow them to zap away from the ads. Of course, in the future this patent might prove to be worth Gold
  • Producing and distributing TV shows ain't free. One way or another, we have to pay. Get over it.
    • I think the point is that while budgets for most shows are dropping (hence reality TV etc.), the amount of advertising and its degree of intrusiveness are going up. From the point of view of a viewer, that's not a very good deal.

      In the long term, it's not even very good for the advertisers or the networks. While cramming in more adverts may produce greater profits in the short term, by making TV less attractive they are making alternatives (DVDs, WWW etc) more appealing, so long term it may actually reduce
  • clarification please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yagu ( 721525 ) * <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ugayay>> on Friday April 21, 2006 @08:38AM (#15172076) Journal

    I would really like to know exactly what this technology is about because I see it in two contexts, one annoying, and the other evil (and maybe not legal?).

    I can't tell from the article if this technology relates to constraining a viewer to watch commercials when watching a pre-recorded show, i.e., something on a Personal Video Recorder (like a Tivo), or if this is something that prevents a viewer from channel surfing while a channel breaks for commercials.

    The former (pre-recorded show viewing) is something I've heard about for a long time, for example I've heard Tivo has played with instantiating "popup" ads if you fast forward through commercials while watching a recorded show. Regardless, while this is annoying, I guess it's their call -- but for sure, it'll cut back on how much I'm watching -- it's already borderline for what I find tolerable with encroaching advertising (product placement, etc. -- anyone see the pandering "sidekick" product placement in Tuesday's Gilmore Girls? For Heck's sake, it was actually written into the script!).

    However, if this is about locking in to a station during commercial breaks, I would be (and I assume the viewing public) outraged! How dare they. Aside from the egregious nature of this, I can't imagine it would be a legal tactic. Certainly any potentially "competing" channel would be up in arms over something like this, unless of course there is future collusion to ensure commercials are all aired at exactly the same time, thus attenuating the incentive to surf during commercial breaks.

    Anyone know the answer to exactly what this technology is?

  • Philips acknowledged that this technology might not sit well with consumers and suggested in its patent filing that consumers be allowed to avoid the feature if they paid broadcasters a fee.

    We already do!
  • The whole concept that broadcasting should be funded by advertising is what has brought about this ludicrous war. In the good old days specialist magazines carried loads of ads, and this was one of the things you bought them for: being able to find the manufacturer of the widget you needed.

    Then Google came along and now you could look for stuff you really wanted or needed. Broadcasting advertising is mostly for stuff you wouldn't want and for which someone is trying to create a demand. So you resist watchi

  • by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <`ten.enilnotpo' `ta' `rehtorgw'> on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:01AM (#15172243) Journal
    ...when these TV shows show up on DVD, will they have commercials embedded in them that can't be skipped over? It seems like the next natural step. Is this then going to migrate to web content? Sounds like a kind of DRM-in-disguise, only instead of keeping you from altering the content, they're keeping you from watching the content the way you want.
  • by tehwebguy ( 860335 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:02AM (#15172251) Homepage
    and we are being forced to watch it again
  • by Maximilio ( 969075 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:08AM (#15172296) Homepage Journal
    If I am flipping through channels and find myself unable to switch away from a commercial, or turn up or down the volume, I will use the big red OFF button to solve the problem. And if that is also disabled I'm likely to put my foot through the display and never use the thing again. Just an FYI.
  • as well as leaving the room, turning off the TV, playing a handheld game, recording the show and speeding through the commercials. My family uses all of these techniques today. Most if not all of them will work even with the Phillips patent.

    On a side note, there was a study a few months ago that showed that people that fast forward through commercials retained the same amount of information from the commercials as those that watched them as they played. The conclusion of the study is that advertisers sho
  • by mmeister ( 862972 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @11:04AM (#15173532)

    Each day, as I read more and more about how content providers are trying to control our view habits, I am reminded of the old Max Headroom show where Corporations ruled and Ratings were more important than anything else.

    We better prepare to get off the grid!

    Blanks Unite!

    But how will we know when and where to unite if we're not connected?

  • by CyberLife ( 63954 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @01:50PM (#15175199)
    Here's a scenario. A small chiild wakes up in the middle of the night and walks into the living room where the parents are watching TV. While there, a Girls Gone Wild ad comes on the screen, which the parents decide they don't want their child to see. With this technology, they'd be screwed. One would hope the power could simply be turned off, but what if that feature is disabled too? One would hope the TV could be unplugged, but what if TV manufacturers start installing batteries or capacitor-banks to provide just enough juice to run the unit for a single commercial?

    There is a rule in user-interface design that says the user must always be in control. Unfortunately, the quest for bigger profits seems to be redefining who the user is, taking control away from the consumer and giving it to the producer.

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.