You can have my remote when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Floyd Dixon – Alarm Clock Blues

Today’s Quote: “Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today.” — Unknown

From today’s Good Morning Silicon Valley:

Viewer to PVR: Permission to go to the bathroom?
Good thing Philips abandoned its “Let’s make things better” slogan. That would be bit tough to justify when you’re planning to prevent TV viewers from switching channels during a commercial break. The company recently filed for a patent on “an advertisement controller” that would do just that. From the patent abstract:

An apparatus (270) and method is disclosed for preventing a viewer from switching from a channel when an advertisement is being displayed on the channel. The apparatus (270) and method comprises an advertisement controller (270) in a video playback device (150) that (1) prevents a viewer of a direct (non-recorded) broadcast from switching channels when an advertisement is displayed, and (2) prevents a viewer of a recorded program from fast forwarding the recorded program in order to skip past advertisements that were recorded with the program. A viewer may either watch the advertisements or pay a fee in order to be able to change channels or fast forward when the advertisements are being displayed.

My God, what a horrific idea. Disable fast forwarding? Require a fee to change channels? Are they kidding? Because really, if you’re going to go that far in forcing us to view marketing messages, you might as go all the way, as Peter Pollack over at Ars Technica suggests. “The fundamental downside to merely forcing commercials to run unimpeded is that the viewer retains freedom of movement which would allow him or her to leave the room, cover the TV with a blanket, or eat or use a product in direct competition with an advertisement,” Pollack explains. “For the propaganda to be most effective, the device needs to work in concert with the couch to prevent any unauthorized activity or movement while a commercial is running. Ideally, all phones in the vicinity would also be put on hold, and it would become impossible to deactivate the TV, even if unplugged.”

From what I read, digital flags would be embedded in the broadcast signal, which would activate the controller built into the TV/VCR/DVR. To pay a ransom to be able to change channels would be the ultimate tyranny. (What would prevent the government or the predominant political party from abusing this technology for its own purposes?) I would boycott any station or network that embedded the signals and would definitely refrain from purchasing a TV/VCR/DVR that used such technology (although all such devices would eventually have the technology). I, for one, would rather give up television rather than submit to the tyranny of the media.


Author: Rick

I'm a simple man, trying to make my way in the universe.