Thursday, April 20, 2006

How to wipe out your customer base in one stroke
New Technology May Force TV Ad Viewing

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- In this era of easy ad skipping with TiVo-like video recorders, could television viewers one day be forced to watch commercials with a system that prevents channel switching?

Yes, according to Royal Philips Electronics. A patent application 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.

The pending patent, published on March 30, says the feature would be implemented on a program-by-program basis. Devices that could carry the technology would be a television or a set-top-box.

Philips acknowledged, however, that the anti-channel changing 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.

On Wednesday [April 20], company officials issued a statement that noted the technology also enables the opposite: allowing viewers to watch television without advertising. The intention was never to force viewers to watch ads against their will, the company said of the technology…

The company also said it had no plans to use the technology in any of its products…
My suggestion to Philips is this: give the people in your employ who developed this technology a minimum one month paid vacation away from the labs so that they might reconnect with their species.

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