Imagine this scenario. You've just received the latest Hollywood blockbuster in the mail from the DVD rental service of your choice. You've popped the popcorn, poured a tall glass of your favorite beverage, and settled back to watch the film on your flatscreen TV. 15 minutes or so into the movie—right as the action is building to a crescendo—the movie fades to a commercial. For the next minute, you're forced to watch the commercial as the fast-forward button has suddenly stopped working. The unhappy experience is repeated two or three more times before the movie ends. The only way to avoid the interruption is to pay another buck or two to the company you rented from.
That's the scenario envisioned in a patent application filed by IBM (and dug up by Zatz Not Funny!). When DVDs are inserted for playback, the disc would check to see if the viewer had purchased the ad-free version or the (presumably) lower-priced version with unskippable commercials. If it's the latter, the disc player would phone home to an online service to download commercials or play ads embedded on the discs themselves.
View: Full Article @ Ars.