If Philips has their way you may not be skipping through TV commercials
much longer. In fact, you might not even be able to change the channel on your
TV during a commercial.
Philips has filed a patent application to stop people from
changing channels during commercials or fast forward commercials for
pre-recorded shows. According the patent application, Philips solution is to use
MHP (Multimedia Home Platform) to read flags in broadcasts. If an advertisement
is marked as such, your STB (Set-Top Box), DVR or even your TV could stop you
from changing the channel or skipping past commercials. MHP software is already
built into most digital TV receivers and recorders available today.
Philips knows that the patent would be "greatly
resented by viewers" and could even cause end users to believe their equipment
is broken. To remedy this, Philips suggests that the flag also trigger a notice
on the screen to notify users of what is going on.
The patent application also suggests that end users be able
to pay a fee to be allowed to skip commercials. The fee would probably be set by
your cable or satellite provider.
As we move into the digital age, it seems more and more that
we as consumers are at the mercy of these big companies. This is starting to look
like the Telco business. First we have Caller ID, then Caller ID blocking, and
now Anti-Caller ID blocking. What's next, anti-commercial forwarding blocking?