[opendtv] Invention: The TV-advert enforcer

  • From: "John Shutt" <shuttj@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "OpenDTV" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 18:41:44 -0400

Say it ain't so, Jeroen!


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

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