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New Patent on TV Forces You to Watch Ads

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the forced-attention-spans dept.

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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Wow, this technology works! (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171856)

I remember seeing this a few days ago [slashdot.org] 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?

Re:Wow, this technology works! (2, Funny)

Agent00Wang (146185) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171865)

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.

Re:Wow, this technology works! (0, Flamebait)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171893)

I'm sure such TVs will fly off the shelves too.

Seriously, why would they waste time developing technology that no one will buy?

Re:Wow, this technology works! (2, Insightful)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171942)

Because a law will come and require this kind of tech in all sets

Re:Wow, this technology works! (2, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171990)

No, the GP's right. Yes, the law may mandate such a technology being introduced (though har-fucking-har to the politicians who pass it - not being able to copy something is still sufficiently involving complicated technologies that politicians cannot be held to account over it, but your TV's controls freezing because a commercial comes on due to a legal mandate? I think people will NOTICE that), but you're talking, ultimately, about the end of TV if this ever takes off.

People put up with the amount of advertising on TV at the moment precisely because of the ability to avoid it. TiVo and its competitors are doing an enormous amount to make TV usable again and are almost certainly resulting in much better ratings for the better shows, not just because they make it easier to avoid missing them, but also because the viewing experience is 100x better. Every few years, TV should die (or at least start a serious southward trend), but ends up gasping another deep breath and remaining the top entertainment medium because some technology fixes it. Video saved it in the 1970s. Cable saved it in the eighties and nineties. TiVo and HD is saving it now.

Hard though it is to believe, make TV truly unwatchable, and people will stop buying TVs.

Re:Wow, this technology works! (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172004)

Because a law will come and require this kind of tech in all sets

Ding ding ding. We have a winner. Once these sets start to become available it's only a matter of time. They sure are going out of their way to make television something to avoid with all these new anti-commercial-skipping technologies and DRM built into new HDTV sets and such. Makes you either want to baby that old 19" CRT you have or just give up on it altogether and just watch content on the Internet instead. It won't be long before all that is Windows-Media-DRM enforced only though too.

Re:Wow, this technology works! (3, Funny)

statusbar (314703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171955)

No, no, they will make it so that the bathroom door doesn't open while the commercial is playing. Problem solved.

--jeffk++

Re:Wow, this technology works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171885)

Worse yet, if I turn on the TV because I want to watch a program in say, channel X, but
it happens that the TV starts in channel Y (Y!=X) then If there are commercials in
channel Y I will have to wait until they are over in order to be able to start watching my program, so I may miss the beginning :-(

Re:Wow, this technology works! (5, Insightful)

glesga_kiss (596639) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Wow, this technology works! (0, Offtopic)

wetfeetl33t (935949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171933)

OK, As long as Slashdot doesn't come up with the technology to make you read dupes

I don't mind the ads... (5, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171857)

The thing I don't like on TV are all the repeats... (or "dupes" as they're known in the trade).

Seriously? (1)

Agent00Wang (146185) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171858)

So now we don't really own our TVs?

Re:Seriously? (2, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171987)

When did you ever own the content displayed on your TV by broadcasers?

Re:Seriously? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172045)

When they beamed it into my house and I collected it on some pieces of metal.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Pofy (471469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172061)

That did not in any way relate to the original question. But to continue the questions, when did the broadcasters own the TV that they content is displayed on?

Re:Seriously? (4, Insightful)

jasen666 (88727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172066)

Who's talking content? We own the hardware. That includes the remote and the controls on the TV.
Who owns my remote? Me, or the content provider? If I want to change the channel and watch something else, that's my right.

Until my TV comes with a EULA stating that I am not buying the hardware, and that I'm just licensed to use the hardware however Fox network sees fit. And that is the day I stop buying TV's.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172074)

When did you ever own the content displayed on your TV by broadcasers?

The instant it enters my house.

The only thing that I don't own is the right to prevent people (including myself) from making further copies in most cases. That's the only thing that the producer owns, but most people have been hoodwinked into believing that the producer somehow owns something beyond that.

Umm... (-1, Redundant)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171859)

...First dupe?

Re:Umm... (1)

Anisty (966223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171876)

i think this is dupeness :/ However it's not the most intelligent thing i can think of - to sell people a system that has the major attraction of being able to skip the commercials and then forcing them to watch them anyway? I don't see what Philips has to gain by making people watch the commericals anyway unless they're Philips' commercials?!

Improvement? (4, Funny)

denissmith (31123) | more than 8 years ago | (#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? (2, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171923)

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.

Won't work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171868)

This is a dupe from one week ago.

That said, I highly doubt this would work. Who would buy a TV that prevents him changing the channel during ads?

Re:Won't work (-1, Offtopic)

v1 (525388) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171958)

This is a dupe from one week ago.

At least this time they let a few articles sneak in between the first and the dup. Do the editors read their own site, or just repost interesting things they've found on the sites they do read?

Re:Won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172050)

Get over yourself, some of us didn't see it the first time around. Instead of bitching about it how about not clicking on the article if you think it's a dupe? It's not like we get a huge amount of new content here anyway.. it's certainly no Digg or Fark. You're lucky to get 4 or 5 articles a day anymore on Slashdot.

Did they patent too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171869)

...a method to oblige you to have a TV set ?

Heh..No more TV (0, Flamebait)

crnbrdeater (861451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171870)

Just one more reason not to watch TV. There is plenty of other stuff I can spend my time one.

But I don't have a TV! (5, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171873)

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...

Re:But I don't have a TV! (1)

The_Mr_Flibble (738358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171904)

Well the next patent in line was for w camera system that made sure you were in front of the tv otherwise it pauses the ads

Re:But I don't have a TV! (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172022)

That raises an interesting question for the participants of the war between consumers and service providers:

For how long one can use a patent to prohibit the technology from being implemented and spread?

0 seconds? 50 years?

My guess would be first answer which what I expect from the patent system: little good can come out of it.

Does anybody now how patent system was actually used for the benefit of technological progress?

Re:But I don't have a TV! (1)

spako (794164) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172081)

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...

Probabaly is a good thing. But even better: just thought that if someone, maybe the slashdot community ;), should setup their own patent company. Then make claims to patents like this one before anyone else does. Instead of implementing the patented technology they disallow anyone from implementing it. Thus protecting the world from crap like this... they'd be the greenpeace of technology.

dupe?? (-1, Redundant)

Bl4d3 (697638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171879)

Sorry for burning karma, but is this not a dupe --> http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/04/ 18/2032219&threshold=-1 [slashdot.org]

Re:dupe?? (1)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171898)

Who are you apologising to? Yourself?

There are other TV manufacturers, too. (4, Insightful)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171882)

OK, so that's Philips and Sony off the list. Who's next?

Re:There are other TV manufacturers, too. (3, Interesting)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171978)

Why even bother with TV's anymore. My 24" monitor works great as a TV. I watch everything off of DVD's or downloads now. No commercials, no DVR rental fee, no cable fee.

Re:There are other TV manufacturers, too. (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172060)

The TVs by other manufacterers will be more expensive.

And this is why I don't watch TV (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171884)

How has it become so accepted by people that we should be bombarded by advertising anywhere we go? So far, there are ways to kind of get around the stuff put into media (websites, TV, etc), but outside we're constantly hit by billboards, painted buses, etc. Where's the outrage? Come on people, let's get some giant protests going!

Re:And this is why I don't watch TV (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171908)

How has it become so accepted by people that we should be bombarded by advertising anywhere we go? So far, there are ways to kind of get around the stuff put into media (websites, TV, etc), but outside we're constantly hit by billboards, painted buses, etc. Where's the outrage? Come on people, let's get some giant protests going!

Apparently there was some outrage here in Vermont; they banned billboards and large signs. Its nice actually.

Re:And this is why I don't watch TV (1)

drxenos (573895) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171963)

Wow, that must be nice. Here in NY, there are not only a lot of billboards, but people even park old semi trailers beside the highway and paint ads on them. Very, very ugly. REH

Re:And this is why I don't watch TV (1)

youngerpants (255314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171921)

Welcome to the consumer driven society that the western world holds to such acclaim. However I dont agree with you


I recently had to travel to North Korea (don't ask... work related) much as I had to travel to the former Soviet Union, and billboards are noticeable by their absence. These places look dull. Even though we have advertising forced on us 90% of the time advertisements are (usually) asthetically pleasing, vibrant and a sign of economic growth.


Yeh, they annoy me a lot of the time too, but they are a symptom of everything we westeners (I'm British) hold dear about our way of life.

Re:And this is why I don't watch TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171951)

I'm actually rather curious as to what you do that took you to North Korea.

Very perceptive point, BTW, regarding the aesthetic beautification of urban areas via advertisments.

Re:And this is why I don't watch TV (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171993)

He's a "problem solver".

what's next? (0)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171888)

They send a guy to your house, where he holds a gun to your head and makes you watch every commercial and every pop-up and you can't turn off the radio (cuz the radio doesn't play music anymore, it seems)?

Re:what's next? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171920)

XM satellite radio has lots of music!

Getting this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171890)

Okay, so let me get this straight. I pay around $50/month for the most basic cable package (not including internet, which is almost $50 more on top of that), so that I can have a number of channels to flip through.

Now, because of this technology, if I want to make use of more than one of those channels, which I'm paying for, I have to pay more just so I can flip around.

I have to pay an additional fee to access the content I'm already paying a fee for.

That doesn't work for me. If this comes to pass, I'll just cancel my cable TV.

--
M

Channel Surfing??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171891)

Great so I can be channel surfing only to get stuck on a channel playing one of these ads?

history of cable tv (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171897)

suggested in its patent filing that consumers be allowed to avoid the feature if they paid broadcasters a fee.


Oh, you mean like cable? [wikipedia.org]

Re:history of cable tv (1)

Mirvnillith (578191) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172038)

One should think so, but I know of at least one pay-to-view channel WITH ad breaks so I guess there's no end to commercial stupidity!

It's not just up to the broadcasters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171899)

You would have to get the TV makers to incorporate this feature. I suppose the broadcasters could encode their signal such that it wouldn't play on a TV that didn't cooperate but then they might find themselves frozen out of the market.

The other issue is one of safety. If I was flicking past channels looking for the local news and my TV was hijacked by someone's commercial and I missed a public safety message, I might just sue.

Good job. (5, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Good job. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172002)

I have prior art with porn mags that take 30 secs to turn the page.

Re:Good job. (1, Funny)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172019)

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 (2, Interesting)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Summary (1)

offal (681210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171919)

So how much do they pay us if we watch the ads MORE than once?

Re:Summary (1)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171941)

How about a coupon for free junk food [adjab.com] (in exchange for some of your personal information, like your name and address where they can mail the coupon)?

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171938)

yeah, like the parts where the main character is using a Dell computer with Microsoft Office, drinking a CocaCola.

My patent (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171912)

I have patented a reverse remote control, so their system can be used to lock the shackles on your armchair to keep you from going to the kitchen or bathroom during the commercials.

Re:My patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172039)

Ah, this will go well with my patent of
2 robot arms which will pry your eyelids
apart during the comercial.

does it come with seats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171913)

When I buy such a tv, would that mean that I also get seats that strap me in when commercials are broadcasted? You know, to prevent me from going to take a leak or grabbing something to eat?

Seriously now, apart from customer irritation and a sudden loss in market share for philips' tv-department, what else do they get from this?

TV through your PC (1)

stuckinarut (891702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171914)

Aren't we all going to have a media center PC that we get all our entertainment through, at least I thought that was Bill's ultimate plan for us all. No problem then, I'll just minimize the TV window whilst the ads are on [but I'm not switching them off] surf slashdot to check for dupes ;-) and then maximise the window again when the ads finish. When will companies realise that whatever efforts they put in to try and force something on consumers will be out matched by the efforts of consumers to get around the enforcement. Nice try Phillips!

30 seconds into the future... (5, Funny)

Turbofish (585771) | more than 8 years ago | (#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!


Bwahhhahahahahaha!

Re:30 seconds into the future... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172018)

5) ???
6) Profit

This flag would be a blessing! (1)

stirz (839003) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171924)

Honestly, if this was really implemented, my digital VCR would receive signals telling him where to cut out the commercials. My personal DVB=>DVD-process would surely simplify :-)


BTW: Would anyone buy a TV that doesn't allow free zapping?

Regards,

Stirz

Does it also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171926)

...force you to watch repeats?

Cable Converter (1)

CsiDano (807071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171931)

So what if someone grabbed one of those set top cable converters, or a VCR or similar technology and ran the cable through that first and then to the TV, effective leaving the TV on channel 3 and switching the channel by the alternate device? Simple solution to a dumbass idea. Worked when my first TV could only manage 13 channels.

Why does this deserve a patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15171932)

It's not hard to come up with a scheme to let you embed arbitrary codes in the television signal so
that a television recognizing those codes will perform some preset function.

What is even harder to understand is why a company would want to piss their customers off so they buy the competitor's products instead.

My next patent (2, Funny)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 8 years ago | (#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...

Finally! (1)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171939)

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.

Today I'm ashamed to be Dutch (1)

GekkePrutser (548776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171944)

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)

Repeat!!! (-1, Redundant)

Warlock7 (531656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171945)

Slashdot ran this [slashdot.org] the other day already!

What's up? Were you sleeping, Neal?

Syndication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172012)

These articles are syndicated articles. So, they're not on any real schedule and will be shown at different times. After a while, these same articles will appear on late night /. .

Yes but... (4, Insightful)

techstar25 (556988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171959)

Yes but can it keep me from turning the TV off and reading a book instead?

Dear broadcasters: (5, Insightful)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Dear broadcasters: (1, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172028)

Hmmm... apparently it worked since you actually remember the commercials.

Re:Dear broadcasters: (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172058)

> Hmmm... apparently it worked since you actually remember the commercials.

I think the advertisers want you to buy their products, not simply remember the adverts. Adverts are becoming less and less successful, and I'm not remembering any less of them than I ever have.

Re:Dear broadcasters: (3, Interesting)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 8 years ago | (#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...

Re:Dear broadcasters: (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172068)

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.

Re:Dear broadcasters: (1)

Ralof (760869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172071)

Interesting that this post has a score of 5 "Interesting" when the author have either not understood the issue or he simply did not bother to read about it. Hint: This is not a patent filed by The "Dear broadcasters"

Dear Consumer: (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15172077)

Thank you for pointing out how angry advertisements make you. I would like to point out to you, that without advertising Television as you know it would not exist. you're upset because you paid 1000 dollars for a TV that won't let you skip ads, but you don't seem to mind using that very (relatively) cheap device to watch hundreds of hours of free television programming. Such as, (from your post) Star Trek. Let me expand your mind a little with the notification that programming like Star Trek costs money, and that money comes not from your puny 1000 dollar TV, but from the 10 million dollars worth of ads that get sandwiched into every star trek episode.

it's big business, huge revenue, and it pays for the TV programs you watch. It's a huge industry, and although patents like this might annoy you, they are there to ensure that your children will also be able to enjoy hours and hours of B-list actors with putty-ridges on their foreheads running around plywood spaceships.

So who exactly is going to pay (1, Interesting)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172082)

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 Brit if they know of any other carpet cleaner...

I Already PAY a Fee (4, Insightful)

Grimster (127581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171973)

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" (4, Interesting)

Egonis (155154) | more than 8 years ago | (#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!

That's nothing (4, Funny)

Kj0n (245572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171976)

New Patent on Slashdot Forces You to Read Articles Twice (if you're lucky).

What a Brilliant Stroke of Marketing Genius! (2, Insightful)

Anomalous Cowbird (539168) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171979)

Advertising that will make your potential customers hate and resent you! Who wouldn't want that?

They never learn (2, Interesting)

FishandChips (695645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171980)

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.

Mastermind business plan (1)

borgdows (599861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171981)

1) Buy a popular show that you know lot of people will watch (i.e Lost or Desperate Housewives or anything..)
2) When people are hooked, let's start an INFINITE advertising loop! (with auto-resuming if people power off TV)
3) ???
4) Profit!!

Feature or a misfeature (1)

poeidon1 (767457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171982)

and then they force you to pay to avoid it. Maybe this will discourage children to watch more TV. I cant find anymore use of it.

Excellent (2, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171989)

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.

Finkployd

As long as... (1)

plorqk (134858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15171997)

They still let me mute it and/or change the channel I don't care.

When supply and demand does not work (1, Funny)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172014)

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>

Really Mad scientists (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172015)

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

Give it a while (2, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Can I still turn it off? (1)

Habahaba (824033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172023)

Or does the TV turn on when there is ads so that they can be sure I will watch it?!?

Bad enough already (3, Interesting)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Bad enough already (1, Funny)

Tech (15191) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172064)

My "favourite" TV quote which can probably be heard a hundred times a day: "Stay tuned, we'll be right back." This is usually my cue to pick up the remote control. If they really wanted me to stay tuned, they wouldn't have gone away in the first place.

In other news... (0, Offtopic)

waterford0069 (580760) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172032)

The owners of Slashdot have patented technology to force readers to read and comment on dupes - just in case they didn't get it the first time.

it's my right to choose what i watch! (1)

maryjanecapri (597594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172035)

Freedom of choice Is what you got Freedom from choice Is what you want thank you devo (or A Perfect Circle depending on your bent)

Extortion (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172037)

Extortion: That's what it is, plain and simple.

Don't be upset by an excerpt (2, Insightful)

Ralof (760869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172041)

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 if the broadcasters themselves finds a way to enforce everyone to include this technology on their boxes.

Either your money or your time, folks (1)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172051)

Producing and distributing TV shows ain't free. One way or another, we have to pay. Get over it.

clarification please (2, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15172076)

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?

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