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Sensor To Monitor TV Watchers Demoed At Cable Labs

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the audience-has-reached-critical-mass dept.

Privacy 302

An anonymous reader writes "Cable operators at the semi-annual CableLab's Innovation Showcase have informally voted as best new product a gizmo that can determine how many people are watching a TV. Developed by Israeli company PrimeSense, the product lets digital devices see a 3-D view of the world (the images look like something from thermal imaging). In other words, that cable set-top box will know whether three people are sitting on the sofa watching TV and how many are adults vs. children. Do we really need cable and/or video service operators knowing this? It all happens via a chip that resides in a camera that plugs into the set-top box."

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302 comments

Limits? (4, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031179)

I can see some obvious uses here that I hope never happen, like, "Sorry, but you only purchased one ticket to your pay-per-view movie, and three people are watching! Purchase additional tickets or ask some of the viewers to leave."

Of course, even if it gets that bad, I suspect it'd be defeated with something like duct tape. So, while it's kind of evil that someone might want to do this, I'm not all that worried that it would actually work.

duct tape (5, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031313)

Of course, even if it gets that bad, I suspect it'd be defeated with something like duct tape. .

And then the box detects its 'blind' and refuses to run your movie, or worse, calls the MPAA for a violation of terms, and perhaps some 'circumvention prevention law' they will have bought by then, bringing down the black van onto your home..

Re:duct tape (5, Insightful)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031373)

And then the box detects its 'blind' and refuses to run your movie

At which point I return the box/tv set, yell at the salesperson, and behave badly.

This is like the Panasonic patent which blocks channel changing during commercials. Some *AA exec is wetting his pants, but the public WILL NOT put up with this.

This kind of intrusion is a revolution just waiting to happen, sheeple or not.

Revolution (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031499)

Some *AA exec is wetting his pants, but the public WILL NOT put up with this.

This kind of intrusion is a revolution just waiting to happen, sheeple or not.

I wish i had the confidence in the American public that you do. Im afraid most will just accept it and bend over.

Re:Revolution (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031527)

Just need some moral outrage from some news (um entertainment) channel, some mother wailing about "child privacy", and a politician needing exposure.

Rinse, lather, repeat...

Re:Revolution (2, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031583)

Come on, you're messing with their opiates! If anything will cause them to riot it would be something like that.

Re:duct tape (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031515)

Easily solved, thanks to the 5th element:

The cash man! Don't fuck with me or I'll blow you to tomorrow! [cyberpunkreview.com]

Take a picture of your living room with x number of people in it, and mount it in front of the camera

Problem solved!

Re:duct tape (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031581)

I remember that not working very well for that guy. Also, bruce willis would be the MPAA in that case, which is a bit of a stretch.

Re:duct tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031807)

Anyone exiting a black van in front of my house will be shot on site. ;-)

Re:duct tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031847)

and perhaps some 'circumvention prevention law' they will have bought by then

Well, since it would technically be considered circumventing copyright protection or encryption schemes, placing duct tape on the sensor would be a criminal act under the DMCA.

One step ahead of ya....

Re:duct tape (1)

Lucky75 (1265142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031907)

Somehow this reminds me of the Mr. Bean episode where the TV won't work unless he's sitting at a bad angle, so he takes off all his clothes and makes a model of himself. We could do something like that? It also gives me a reason to watch TV naked, not that I needed one before ;) Of course, the power went out right after he got the TV working, so...

Re:Limits? (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031323)

Of course, even if it gets that bad, I suspect it'd be defeated with something like duct tape.

"Sorry, but we have detected a problem with your set-top box. Please contact your local service center for repairs to your equipment and reactivation of your account."

Re:Limits? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031451)

Of course, even if it gets that bad, I suspect it'd be defeated with something like duct tape.

I'd just put a nice photograph of 1 person watching TV instead.

Re:Limits? (2, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031473)

I saw that episode of the A-Team, too!

I'd use a looping video of one person watching TV on a 7" LCD just in front of the camera. You've got to have movement.

Even better, use a jailbroken GPS with miopocket.

Re:Limits? (1)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031813)

Set top box detects no motion. Set top box closes your account and calls the morgue. You're wondering why the screen goes black and why your front door gets busted in.

Re:Limits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031567)

No thanks. I think I'll continue to NOT watch TV and just download anything I want from torrents. :)

Re:Limits? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031595)

I can see some obvious uses here that I hope never happen, like, "Sorry, but you only purchased one ticket to your pay-per-view movie, and three people are watching! Purchase additional tickets or ask some of the viewers to leave."

I heard tell this was Disney's objection to the non-rewindable rental video tape case: it didn't account for multiple people present during the single viewing.

Of course, even if it gets that bad, I suspect it'd be defeated with something like duct tape.

More like you'll have to construct a diorama of the room in front of the sensor with the requisite number of people present and whatever qualities it requires simulated (body heat, reflective eyes that blink, occasional motion).

"Boy, that sure is a bad movie, won't you?"

Re:Limits? (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031707)

I suspect that would get defeated with the whole "I'll just watch it on netflix/DVD/bittorrent/whatever alternative there will be at the time." Maybe not for privacy's sake, but for "I'm not paying extra for when Jimmy comes over, fuck that."

I suspect the actual uses of the device would be for advertisers to get some feedback and makeup of their viewing audience. The blurb linked to suggests it can tell between kids and adults. That doesn't sound like a tech to limit the number of viewers, that sounds like a tech to see "okay, how many kids versus how many adults are watching right now? More kids? Awesome, McDonalds pays more to run happy meal ads than value meal ads."

I need the box, not the camera. (1)

BigT (70780) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031181)

Nothing that can't be fixed with a piece of electrical tape. Or an ice-pick.

Re:I need the box, not the camera. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031277)

Until and unless they decide that knowing this information is mandatory then the TV will not let you watch anything until you unblock the camera.

Other things it will know (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031201)

If you're:

  • Jacking off to porn.
  • Do'in someone on the couch.
  • Getting a blowjob
  • Eating
  • Who you are eating
  • Drinking
  • Watching with the guys
  • Masturbating to a flick
  • Which actors get you hot.
  • An on and on...

Re:Other things it will know (2, Funny)

d474 (695126) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031315)

Dear Sir,

Your hobbies interest me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. Please don't tell my mother.

Signed,
NoSocialOutlets

Flying toasters (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031205)

It appears that you are trying to toast more than one piece of bread at a time. Consider buying another toaster, investing in a commercial model, or signing up for our maintenance plan which provides a live-in political officer to toast your bread for you.

Oblig (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031215)

In soviet russia tv watches you.

Re:Oblig (1, Funny)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031267)

Came for this, left satisfied.

Re:Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031455)

Slashdot is turning into Fark. I have seen more and more 'this' and similar Fark-like posts in the past few months.

I bet it doesn't work! (3, Insightful)

Tired and Emotional (750842) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031223)

I bet it can't tell the difference between someone watching the TV and someone sleeping in front of the TV.

I bet it can't tell the difference between me, sitting at the kitchen table watching the Football and my wife sitting at the breakfast table with her back turned.

I bet it can't tell that I am reading, not watching.

How does it distinguish a large dog from a small child?

If it uses infra red it can at least distinguish a human from a cardboard cut-out of the Duke of Edinburgh! I have seen award ceremonies have trouble with that one, so I guess that makes it smarter than some humans.

Re:I bet it doesn't work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031467)

It isn't hard to detect where the humans eyes are and if they're open and which direction they're facing. There's no reason they shouldn't be able to; 1) detect you're looking at the TV even from an angle, if you can see the TV, they can see you, 2) If you're sleeping, your eyes are closed, and this is easy to detect so yes they can, and in fact they could even factor that into the demographic e.g. how many people pass out during a show and miss the commercials hence adjusting the revenue/fees and whether or not to cancel a show or move it to a different time slot maybe not placing a boring show so late at night, 3) If your wife's back is turned it won't detect her eyes, their spacing, whether open or not, etc. therefore it wouldn't count her as a viewer, 4) you might be right on it not being able to detect if you are reading, though if you're reading a newspaper in front of the TV set you can still hear their commercials, though they can't determine if you have hearing loss, 5) dogs have different shaped heads, eye spacing, eye shapes/sizes, reflectivity, iris shades, eyelashes, etc than humans. Any number of ways to discern them from humans here.

Now, whether or not they implemented any of the things I mentioned, whether it looks only forward, what range it can handle, etc is all up to their own specifications. I'm just indicating what is possible with current technologies if I were asked to develop this for my boss. Heck, the Android G1 cell phone from T-Mobile can even detect how many people are in a picture and draw a dot between their eyes, and that's an underpowered & less sophisticated version of this heuristic.

Re:I bet it doesn't work! (5, Informative)

jfortman (891800) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031747)

On the contrary. I bet it does.

One of my graduate professors at the University of Missouri is doing some work with elder care with technology like this. Getting real 3-D information from multiple cameras takes a lot of processing time, but they can segment the space in a room down to 1 inch cubes. The result is a 3-D silhouette of the objects and people moving in the room. They can tell the difference between people moving throughout the room. A small child is different from a dog in that the dog has 4 legs, for example.

They can identify whether a person is laying on the couch or has fallen. They can extract information such as the bend of the spine and whether a person favors one leg or the other. A silhouette of a cardboard cutout would appear flat to the camera.

What I described above is PHD research using some fairly complex computer vision, 3-D segmentation and pattern recognition algorithms. 3-D scene reconstruction cannot be done with a single camera. The math doesn't work. I would not expect a set-top box with a single webcam to be that good. I would, however, expect them to do motion segmentation on frames of video. Background subtraction would let them ignore the furniture in the room and identify regions of motion. From there, pattern recognition algorithms could be used to find faces and identify the relative shape of a body based on a template. Given that, you could identify whether a person was tall or short and the relative proportions of their bodies. You probably couldn't identify male or female, though. That would be a tough call. You probably could identify a dog versus a child with relative ease.

Luckily, the amount of bandwidth needed to send these images back to the cable company would be pretty massive (given everyone who watches cable in a small to medium sized city) so you shouldn't worry about that. You probably only need to worry about packets being sent back over the cable line identifying the date, time, number of adults, number of children, channel and number of seconds since the last channel change.

Re:I bet it doesn't work! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031851)

How does it distinguish a large dog from a small child?

The small child probably isn't the one licking its own genitalia.

In Soviet Russia... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031225)

...it gets cold in the winter.

Phone home (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031233)

Does the device send this information to anyone? The article says no such thing, so the whole "Do we really need cable and/or video service operators knowing this?" line in the summary appears to be FUD. Does anyone have a source with more relevant information about this product?

Re:Phone home (2, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031269)

When the consideration is corporation vs. consumer, or government vs. citizen, FUD comes true nearly one hundred percent of the time.

Re:Phone home (2, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031459)

I'm sure you'll get modded +5 for that, but it's simply not true. There are many, many countries where you can say you disagree with the government or some corporation in public without mysteriously disappearing the next day. Webcams have existed for a long time now and I know of no country where it is required by law to have one turned on 24/7 sending images to 'Our Glorious Leader, May He Live Forever'. You and I and the rest of /. may disagree with many things that happen in this world (mostly concerning surveilance, copyright, and software patents) but if you are from a western country like I assume most /.'ers are, chances are you actually have it very very good in terms of wealth and freedom. That doesn't mean we should sit back and do nothing, but to the whole persecution complex some of us have is ridiculous and an insult to those who have it far worse than us.

Re:Phone home (4, Insightful)

PolyDwarf (156355) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031295)

What would be the point if it *didn't* send the info to anyone?

Re:Phone home (5, Insightful)

xigxag (167441) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031435)

The manufacturer's homepage seems to imply that the device could be used for gesture-controlled applications, such as changing the channel without a remote control.

In other words, something like Natal.

Or to rephrase that, what does this device do that Natal doesn't have the capability to do? And that being the case, shouldn't people be equally worried about Natal spying on its users?

Re:Phone home (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031463)

I don't see the big fuss in this the British had them beat when their government decided to start putting cameras in peoples houses. As for whether they need this of course they do. How else are they going to keep people from sharing the cost of a PPV. The UFC will be all over this.

Re:Phone home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031557)

http://www.lightreading.com/blog.asp?blog_sectionid=419&doc_id=180319&site=cdn&

1984 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031283)

The telescreen is only 25 years late.

Nielson boxes? (4, Insightful)

Gudeldar (705128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031293)

Perhaps these are going to go in next generation Nielsen boxes so that Nielsen can give a more accurate count of viewers instead of just assuming 1 box = 1 viewer.

Re:Nielson boxes? (1, Funny)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031317)

What, are you kidding! That's way too sensible! As the other posters have surmised its an evil plot such that the cable operator can watch everything you do from their Skull Island fortress of doom!!!!!

Re:Nielson boxes? (4, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031381)

What, are you kidding! That's way too sensible! As the other posters have surmised its an evil plot such that the cable operator can watch everything you do from their Skull Island fortress of doom!!!!!

No, the other posters have surmised that if something can be abused by those in a position of power, it will be so abused, sooner or later.

Whether it is first used for a "sensible" purpose or no, sooner or later it will be used for a malicious purpose.

Re:Nielson boxes? (4, Interesting)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031423)

Ratings companies like Nielsen have been using "people meters" for years now. However the current technology relies on household members pressing a button to register their presence in the room. Nielsen experimented with infrared sensors over twenty years ago. Trust me, this is hardly new technology.

Of course, becoming a member of one of the Nielsen meter panels depends on your agreeing to participate. A system where one is automatically monitored by a set-top box with or without prior agreement raises enormous privacy issues. I'd assume if this takes off it'll just be another one of the 175 clauses contained in your "agreement" with the cable operator.

Rebus tape (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031343)

Looks like Max Headroom was once again ahead of its time. Bring on the Blipverts.

Re:Rebus tape (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031749)

Looks like Max Headroom was once again ahead of its time. Bring on the Blipverts.

It's already been attempted: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blipvert [wikipedia.org]

So, blipverts have been tried (episode "Blipverts"), we've got the first attempts at the two-way sampler here ("Blipverts", "Rakers"), the distributed denial of service attack ("The Blanks") has become de rigeur, terrorism becoming a ratings commodity like anything else ("War"), people carry most of their money on small devices that just need to be popped into a machine to facilitate transfer of funds (entire series), and (a bit of a stretch) we sort of have court proceedings starring celebrity judges as afternoon TV ("Academy").

That's all I can remember offhand.

This is good news (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031361)

The TV Networks will finally recognize your inflatable doll for the companion she really is!

Somewhere... (5, Funny)

blakedev (1397081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031391)

A midget is getting annoyed that the TV won't let him watch Real Sex 10.

Re:Somewhere... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031919)

Next, on a very special edition of "Little People, Big World"....

Them, them, FUCK them (2, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031397)

Need I say more? Not their damned business, would NEVER give permission for such a thing in my home.

Re:Them, them, FUCK them (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031759)

Then you don't get the service.

Re:Them, them, FUCK them (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031835)

Yep. And won't miss it a bit. "Service" is the totality of the terms of exchange, not just "give me stuff for money". If the terms of the exchange are not mutually agreeable, there is no exchange. Did you have some sort of point to make?

Re:Them, them, FUCK them (1)

Aggrav8d (683620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031837)

Silly, they won't need to ask permission. They'll build it into every TV and computer monitor and then your "choice" will be to allow monitoring (haha) or join the amish.

Re:Them, them, FUCK them (2, Funny)

RileyBryan (1475681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031883)

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! NO NO NO!!! 1984198419841984 I would fight it but they would just haul me off to the ministry of truth and lobotomize me. Besides, they will just wait till the argument gets old and continue with their plans for our evil, stinking, orwellian hellhole futures.

have to say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031403)

Who watches the watchers?

In corporate America... (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031471)

Television watches YOU.

I've always hated these post but it seems appropriate here.

You don't need cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031505)

Yet another reason not to subscribe to cable. Get an antenna and get the new digital channels over the air and use the internet/netflix for supplemental programming. Time to move out of the stone age and let these people play big brother by themselves.

Personally, I am fine with this ASSUMING (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031519)

that each owner has the ability to OPT-IN. The real issue is when they say that they will do regardless, then it will be time to switch away, OR bury the box elsewhere and simply use my remote control remoter.

Re:Personally, I am fine with this ASSUMING (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031577)

Much like people can opt-in to the non-smoking program on their insurance, that gives you a small discount or something.

Anyone that didn't opt-in, a year later, gets to pay extra because the fees went up to recoup their losses from the discount.

So, in essence, they opted out of a discount, instead of being forced to pay extra. This is already happening with 'black boxes' for cars.

The Fix (3, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031521)

"It all happens via a chip that resides in a camera that plugs into the set-top box."

It all stops happening via a Craftsman five pound ball peen camera removal tool that resides in a box that sits on top the work bench.

This reeks of leftover dot com fever outrageous idea development looking for thrown-cash funding regardless of viability. Though crippled beyond recuperation that mind set refuses to die along with some of its other goofy projects, such as the Nukem Dukem 3D of extraneous peripherals, the eternally vaporous Smell-O-Vision-like "products". If it weren't for the fact that the marketoids attending the conference are undoubtedly drooling over their imagined implications for advertising revenue, it would have all the impact and lifespan of all the items taken from patents and idea articles and sputtered across the What's New pages of Popular Science.

But then I could be wrong. Cable operators could "require" these and tie the incoming signal to its continued operation. In which case it would behoove the prudent to invest heavily into manufacturers of big rubber asses with clamps designed to attach to the front of cable set-top boxes.

HAL, change the channel please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031525)

I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that.

Yet another reason to cancel my cable (3, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031553)

A few weeks ago I unplugged my cable box as an experiment. You know, just to get an idea of what that would actually do to my life.

I did notice a difference. The difference was that I spent more of my time doing things that were actually rewarding, like reading the book I'd wanted to get to, learning to play a few pieces of music I'd been wanting to work on, and writing down my thoughts on life the universe and everything. In short, it's a lot better for me, for my eyes, for my health, and my sleep schedule.

So with the use of cable boxes to spy on me, it's time for me to get on the phone, get through arguing with the poor call center rep, and get rid of the problem for good.

It's totally worth it (2, Interesting)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031753)

My roommate and I decided to try a no TV policy in our dorm room at the start of my second year of college.

That was 7 years ago, and I never went back to watching TV.

Nietzsche (4, Insightful)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031555)

Friedrich Nietzsche once said that if you stare into the abyss long enough the abyss stares back at you. Now staring at the TV can have the same effect.

cable need better guide software not this crap igu (1, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031563)

cable need better guide software not this crap i-Guide is a joke and why does it look so bad on a hd tv. Direct tv guide and menus are 4:3 but they still look good in HD vs cable.

And whats up with ad's on each page of the comcast on screen guide?

Shouldn't Be a Problem (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031579)

>It all happens via a chip that resides in a camera that plugs into the set-top box.

That's where I habitually set my large mug of very hot coffee.

In Obama-Nation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031659)

Soviet Television carries you (after counting though)!

In related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031679)

"Cable tv customers at the semi-annual Digital Media Customer's Innovation Showcase have informally voted as best new product a gizmo that works as a supplement of an other gizmo that can determine how many people are watching a TV. Developed by a start-up company UpInYours, the product lets customers control digital devices which see a 3-D view of the world (the images look like something from thermal imaging). In other words, that cable set-top box was supposed to know whether three people are sitting on the sofa watching TV and how many are adults vs. children, but with the additional gizmo outraged customers can directly send an animated middle finger right back to the cable companies, which to tried get their customers not only milk, but bend over for them."

Good. I want to sign up for this. (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031741)

And you should too. Stone cold seriously. Because if the cableco don't know what you're watching, then you have no Goddamn influence over them.

That great new SF show that just rocked your socks off? If you're not in a Neilsen household, then they don't even know that you watched it, and buying the DVD box set 2 years later won't save it. The fat welfare whore next door with the Neilson box and the seven kids who watch re-runs of America's Fattiest Fatty 24/7? They're the people driving the content provision.

Re:Good. I want to sign up for this. (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031785)

Have you ever considered watching it online? It's free AND the companies get real viewership numbers. I haven't had cable/satellite TV in over a decade, and I still watch all of my TV shows.

I predict (3, Interesting)

taustin (171655) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031767)

that if you could get the internal memos on this, it would turn out that the idea is to be able to charge a per-viewer fee. In the same way that ASCAP is threatening lawsuits if you don't have a public performance license for the ringtone on your cell phone.

this certainly has the potential... (2, Insightful)

j741 (788258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031795)

While this certainly has the potential to let TV programmers know that we do actually loose interest when a commercial is aired, and some programs that seem to get canceled are actually watched, there are far too many potential abuses for this technology. I don't want to suddenly become part of a reality tv show that is aired in some other country, and that I have no idea I am a part of.

Touch your toes (or just bend over...) (3, Insightful)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031811)

'Smith!' screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith W.! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You're not trying. Lower, please! That's better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.'
A sudden hot sweat had broken out all over Winston's body. His face remained completely inscrutable. Never show dismay! Never show resentment! A single flicker of the eyes could give you away. He stood watching while the instructress raised her arms above her head and -- one could not say gracefully, but with remarkable neatness and efficiency -- bent over and tucked the first joint of her fingers under her toes.
'There, comrades! That's how I want to see you doing it. Watch me again. I'm thirty-nine and I've had four children. Now look.' She bent over again. 'You see my knees aren't bent. You can all do it if you want to,' she added as she straightened herself up. 'Anyone under forty-five is perfectly capable of touching his toes. We don't all have the privilege of fighting in the front line, but at least we can all keep fit. Remember our boys on the Malabar front! And the sailors in the Floating Fortresses! Just think what they have to put up with. Now try again. That's better, comrade, that's much better,' she added encouragingly as Winston, with a violent lunge, succeeded in touching his toes with knees unbent, for the first time in several years.
-George Orwell 1984

Huge potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29031863)

Yeah... the camera actually transmits normal picture and there is a built-in microphone as well. Marketing firms will get the "blurred 3D-like image. Other potential customers, like producers of broadcasters can pay for the real live feed and use it to create more reality tv shows. Other monetization opportunities will be individual subscriptions for highest bidders, with full discretion. Companies could run background check on potential employees, partners for example.

Just what Disney wanted! (5, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031881)

IIRC I read this in one of Lawrence Lessig's books.

Movie studio executives, of course, hated the idea of home video. Their business model was tied to getting paid for each showing, payment per showing, and also per viewer; the rents charged to movie theatres were set on a sliding scale based on the seating capacity of the house).

RCA thought they had a breakthrough, when they showed Disney executives a cassette they had developed. It was designed for rental and could only be played once. A mechanical locking arrangement was engaged when the cassette had finished playing. The consumer would then have to return it to the rental store, which had the special tool needed to unlock and rewind it.

They demonstrated it proudly to Disney execs who said, dismissively, "This is no good to us. We have absolutely no way of knowing how many people are in the room."

Oblig. Simpsons (5, Funny)

Chess Piece Face (247847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29031899)

Kent Brockman: "Of course, there's no way to see into the Simpson home without some kind of infrared heat-sensitive camera. So, let's turn it on."

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