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ABC Wants DVR Fast Forwarding Disabled 718

Anonymous CE Worker writes "The television network ABC is looking to develop technology that would disable the fast-forward button on DVRs, and allow commercials to run as intended on their channel." From the article: "Some research executives — even at networks with sales departments that acted differently — had argued before the upfront that ads viewed in fast-forward mode generated value for advertisers, since consumers were at least partly exposed to their messages. But Shaw said ABC was only interested in finding a way to receive compensation for un-skipped ads."
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ABC Wants DVR Fast Forwarding Disabled

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  • CableCARD (Score:2, Informative)

    by proc_tarry ( 704097 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:19PM (#15676210)
    With CableCARD 2.0, the tech would be there to make this possible. They could even prevent programs from being DVR'd in the first place.
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:24PM (#15676277)
    I use...I mean, a friend of mine uses DVD Decrypter with DVD Shrink to burn backup copies of all of the DVDs he owns so he doesn't have to buy a new copy every time one gets scratched. Now, I can't recall if it's DVD Shrink or DVD Decrypter that does this, but one of them actually removes all of that crap that forces you to sit through the FBI warnings and whatnot, so you can use the Menu or Skip buttons to get past them. This is especially helpful on those DVDs that don't even allow you to skip past the stupid previews (do I really need to see the same preview 15 times for a movie that was in theatres 5 years ago?).
  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:25PM (#15676282)
    I think this article [slashdot.org] is the one you're thinking of.
  • by Kesch ( 943326 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:39PM (#15676433)
    The thirty second skip exists. It just requires you to enter a button combo to unlock it. Select-Play-Select-3-0-Select (I think). Then the button that usually skips you 1/4 through the show will instead skip you forward 30 seconds. (Unless you are fast-forwarding in which case it will act normally).
  • Re:I see no ads (Score:3, Informative)

    by N7DR ( 536428 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @12:56PM (#15676613) Homepage
    Last I checked, the BBC programming also had ads,

    Then last == never. Because it's never had ads. Ever. That's the whole point of the license: it makes the Beeb independent of commercial interests. At least in theory. From my experience that independence has had the interesting side-effect of pretty much forcing commerical TV in Britain also to act fairly independently of the people that advertise on their channels.

  • by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:05PM (#15676714)
    Google is your friend:

    http://bigmarv.net/how/tivo30secondskip.html [bigmarv.net]

  • Re:Indeed (Score:4, Informative)

    by loose electron ( 699583 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:10PM (#15676754) Homepage
    They won't have to prop open your eyes, they have a more subtle way to get it done.

    A little history first --
    This is the reason that many years ago, the networks worked together (sort of) to carefully time their advertising so that it all runs at once. You flip the channel, and all the other channels have their adverts running in time-sync.

    Cable channels made that a bit tougher to do, but for the most part everyone remains in-sync for ads.

    The more modern way of doing it --
    Lets not forget the gobs and gobs of "embedded advertising" that is out there. That Hummer on CSI-Miami is an embedded ad. Those Coca-Cola glasses on American Idol are another example. Anyplace that you can see a product name or brand name identity in a TV show is a paid advertisement.

    Sticking with the CSI example, the camera they used to take pictures with used to have no name on it. The show got popular, and all of a sudden it became a Nikon camera.

  • by endofoctober ( 660252 ) <jk,cole&ifredsayred,com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:15PM (#15676824) Homepage
    We have a Sony with the same problem. Try this -

    1) insert the DVD and allow it to play automatically
    2) on the DVD box itself, hit the "STOP" button (the one on the remote won't work)
    3) on the remote, hit the "MENU" button

    This should bring you directly to the DVD menu without all the "crap" like the FBI/Interpol warnings and all the previews.

    Good luck!
  • by TheOldSchooler ( 850678 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:33PM (#15677004)
    There's no way anyone will be able to effectively stop consumers from fast forwarding through commercials. I believe eventually this will bring about a massive change in how commercials are displayed on television. We'll probably end up with 1/4 of the screen constantly displaying an ad. Or perhaps a picture in picture that displays a commercial. Or maybe just a quick five second transparent "pop-up" that displays an ad. Or Madison Ave will go even further and just embed ads right into the show itself. Billboards and constant product placement in each show? Characters pausing every 10 minutes to remind us to "Ride the Walrus"? Plenty of movies already feature this kind of product placement, so why not television shows.
  • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @01:51PM (#15677252) Homepage
    Actually, there are ways to do this while keeping sensitive data in the home. For example, Invidi Technologies [invidi.com] is developing a technology where the settop box develops a viewer profile based on programs watched, geodemographics, etc. The advertiser then provides a set of ad alternatives, along with audience targets, and it is the settop box which is then responsible for selecting the appropriate ad.
  • by Mike_K ( 138858 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:00PM (#15677394)
    Well, I will fly against the grain, and I'll say that at least ABC is somewhat consistant. So far they are the only network that allows you to watch their shows for free on the 'net. All you need to do is watch the ads that are interspersed in the content. You can skip segments of the show, but you have to watch the commercial directly preceding the segment you do want to watch. It works very well - I watched the whole Commander In Chief without any problems (except that the show isn't very good).

    (Or I should rather say, they allowed you to watch - appears the site is down till fall)

    I understand that networks make their money from advertising. And I channel surf with the best of them, so their advertising does not reach me for the most part. But if there was a way to design DVRs the way they designed their show streaming, that would be OK with me, and their advertisers would actually get more exposure than they do now.

    And in case anybody wonders, I do use a DVR right now, and I do skip all the commercials, and I'm loving it. But I'm also realistic in realizing that if everybody did this, we'd end up with product placements that are even more annoying than they are today, making the quality of the programs much worse.

  • Thanks to DRM... (Score:4, Informative)

    by shotfeel ( 235240 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:00PM (#15677397)
    Some of the DVDs we got for the kids are so bad I ripped them, eliminated the cruft, then burned a DVD that actually starts playing the movie when inserted into the player. The kids are happier, I'm happier, and the original is safe in the cabinet.

    That's right. Thanks to DRM and the DMCA, I can't skip/FF all the junk on the original, but I can easily make a full quality copy without the restrictions.

    At least with VHS tapes I could use a marker to write the time point where the movie started on the tape. Then I could FF there before hitting play. I thought technology would save me from that tedium.
  • Re:Indeed (Score:4, Informative)

    by nsayer ( 86181 ) * <nsayer@@@kfu...com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @02:05PM (#15677450) Homepage
    The more modern way of doing it

    It's not even particularly modern. Why do you think James Bond's signature drink is a vodka martini? Because the movie producers made a deal with Smirnoff. In 1962.

  • Re:Indeed (Score:4, Informative)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:10PM (#15678313) Homepage Journal
    "Why do you think James Bond's signature drink is a vodka martini? Because the movie producers made a deal with Smirnoff. In 1962. "

    Actually, in the books, his 'martini' is quite strange, from Casino Royale : "Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet (a brand of dry vermouth). Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel." He called it a vesper after a good looking agent. He asked for it to be served in a "a deep champagne goblet".

    I'd heard about the Smirnoff deal for the movies, but, I've never found anything yet to confirm it.

  • Re:Firefly (Score:2, Informative)

    by Tekfactory ( 937086 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:17PM (#15678384) Homepage
    You do realise that Stargate SG-1 was a Showtime original series... before it was a SciFi original series...

    This post brought to you by the Kaptcha word Exports
  • Re:I see no ads (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:27PM (#15678489)
    >Well perhaps you missed:

    >Black Books
    >Ali G

    Err.. actually those were on Channel 4, not the BBC.
  • by silicon not in the v ( 669585 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:11PM (#15679369) Journal
    That's right. Thanks to DRM and the DMCA, I can't skip/FF all the junk on the original, but I can easily make a full quality copy without the restrictions.

    By ripping that original and making a new copy of it without the restrictions, you have bypassed the copy protection and therefore broken the DMCA, a federal law. I obviously don't think doing that is wrong; I'm just pointing out that it is against the law. I'm just bringing up that both of the actions you described are technically illegal.
  • by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:13PM (#15680202) Journal
    Let's be accurate about something.

    Yes, that would be a nice idea, wouldn't it?

    Anything, and I mean ANYTHING that is shown over the ABC airwaves that is recorded and shared via the internet IS NOT piracy. Over the air television, HD or analog, is free for the taking.

    Bullshit. Sorry, but that is complete and utter bullshit. "Let's be accurate about something." Just because something is shown over the airwaves does not mean it's free for the taking.

    Unlike you, I will back up my claims with evidence.

    It is not "free for the taking" in the USA. See this statement [copyright.gov] from the US Copyright Office website, which says "anybody who wishes to retransmit copyrighted broadcast programming--whether over the Internet or by more established means of transmission such as cable or satellite--may do so only by obtaining the consent of the copyright owners."

    It is not "free for the taking" in Britain, either. See the official guide [intellectu...rty.gov.uk] to UK copyrights.

    I don't know about other countries, but I suspect you're based in the USA, in which case you are simply wrong.
  • Re:Indeed (Score:3, Informative)

    by Triv ( 181010 ) on Friday July 07, 2006 @08:08PM (#15680460) Journal

    Anyplace that you can see a product name or brand name identity in a TV show is a paid advertisement.

    We work for the same company or something? Because tracking those product placements is what I do for a living. *Waves across the office at the only other slashdotter here.

    Anyway. That's not quite accurate and your terms are a bit skewed, though this particular aspect of advertising is rather new and the lexicon hasn't quite settled yet.

    "Embedded" advertising are traditional ads that appear within a television show's content but are separate from that content - the banners on the bottom of the television screen hocking other in-network programming or the "brought to you in DirectTV HDTV" are embedded ads, as are the "Coors Light Cold Hard Facts" segments of SportsCenter.

    What you're talking about is something called IPP, or (I always get this acronym wrong, but) Internal Product Performance, meaning actual products that are actually seen in the programming's actual world. IPP is usually paid for by the ad companies, but they can also be paid for by the program itself to add realism to the show, or their usage (like Apple) requires no payments either way. My point being, just because you see the Mercedes logo on a car in a parking lot doesn't automatically mean that anybody has paid for anything. Now, if the car appeared in its own two minute montage that showed off how sexy and fast Mercedes' new car is, that'd be something different.

    Oh, and hey. Congratulations on remembering all those particular product performances for your post - it pretty much verifies that these ads, which people tend to have negative opinions on, works extremely well.


10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.