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Phillips Wants To Force Commercials On You

·256 words·2 mins
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Daniel Andrlik
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Daniel Andrlik
Daniel Andrlik lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia. By day he manages product teams. The rest of the time he is a podcast host and producer, writer of speculative fiction, a rabid reader, and a programmer.

Phillips, the entertainment technology corporation, has recently applied for a patent on a new software for your digital receiver/recorder that will force you to watch commercials. The software looks for digital flags which would be embedded in the broadcast that will lock your channel in place when commercials begin, restricting you for flipping to another station during the ads. This technology will also disable fast-forward on your digital recorders during commercials, meaning they get to screw you a second time.

How ridiculous is this? In a culture already saturated by marketing, now the advertisers get to take over your television’s basic functionality? Phillips suggests that companies offer viewers a chance to “pay a fee interactively” to go back to normal viewing. Note the word “interactively,” which indicates that these payments would be made through the receiver at the time, which means it needs to make a payment each time you want to skip commercials.

From the patent application:

[0070] If a payment arrangement exists, then third MHP application 350 makes a payment so that the viewer can change channels during the display of advertisements (step 740). The program content is then displayed on screen 110 of television 105 (step 750) and the method continues. If a payment arrangement does not exist, then the program content is not displayed on screen 110 of television 105 (step 760) and the method continues.


Thanks, Phillips, I’ll keep my TV disconnected and you won’t be getting any of my money anytime soon.

Read the article or the patent application itself.

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