Say it ain't so, Jeroen! http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn9011&feedId=online-news_rss20 Invention: The TV-advert enforcer 17:49 18 April 2006 NewScientist.com news service Barry Fox For over 30 years, Barry Fox has trawled through the world's weird and wonderful patent applications, uncovering the most exciting, bizarre or even terrifying new ideas. His column, Invention, is exclusively online. Scroll down for a roundup of previous Invention articles. The advert enforcer If a new idea from Philips catches on, the company may not be very popular with TV viewers. The company's labs in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, has been cooking up a way to stop people changing channels to avoid adverts or fast forwarding through ads they have recorded along with their target programme. The secret, according to a new patent filing, is to take advantage of Multimedia Home Platform - the technology behind interactive television in many countries around the world. MHP software now comes built into most modern digital TV receivers and recorders. It looks for digital flags buried in a broadcast, and displays messages on screen that let the viewer call up extra features, such as additional footage or information about a programme. Philips suggests adding flags to commercial breaks to stop a viewer from changing channels until the adverts are over. The flags could also be recognised by digital video recorders, which would then disable the fast forward control while the ads are playing. Philips' patent acknowledges that this may be "greatly resented by viewers" who could initially think their equipment has gone wrong. So it suggests the new system could throw up a warning on screen when it is enforcing advert viewing. The patent also suggests that the system could offer viewers the chance to pay a fee interactively to go back to skipping adverts. Read the full patent here: http://tinyurl.com/ostqn ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.