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Five PVR Users Allowed To Join Replay Court Fight 151

Posted by timothy
from the but-your-honor-those-people-are-criminals dept.
hachete writes with this snippet from the Mercury News: " 'A federal judge in Los Angeles agreed to allow consumers to join the legal battle between Hollywood and the makers of the ReplayTV 4000 digital video recorder to defend their uses of the device.'" The five customers chosen to add some insight include craigslist founder Craig Newmark.
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Five PVR Users Allowed To Join Replay Court Fight

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  • by Teknogeek (542311) <technogeek AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday August 17, 2002 @06:37PM (#4090346) Journal
    Finally, a judge wakes up and realizes 'hey, maybe the people who will be affected by this decision should have a voice in it'.

    Every time I consider fleeing this country in terror, something like this happens that makes me reconsider.

    Plus, it probably has the *AA foaming at the mouth, which is always a good thing. :)
  • This is how to get your point across in these matters. Good for the judge.

    You (yes you) can try to meet with your lawmakers (or their advisors) and discuss issues. Not everyone can meet with someone, but it's worth a try. If every /.er tried to have a meeting with his or her senator about the DMCA, DRM or any other topic, we could really change things.

    Write a letter. Now.
  • by dacarr (562277)
    Finally, a few viewers of Replay TV have the opportunity to tell Hollywood where to put their commercials!
    • Re:Wow! (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Hollywood can put its commercials here [goatse.cx].
    • Re:Wow! (Score:1, Redundant)

      by glenebob (414078)
      And how would you propose the networks pay for the content you enjoy watching, if they were unable to use commercials to do so?
      • It isn't my business model. AOL caught on to the fact that even stupid AOLers hate the pop ups. Their response was to cut down on them. Networks are now faced with the fact that even the Survivor crowd doesn't like commercials. Their response, taking a cue from MS/(RI/MP)AA, is to call their customers thieves and refuse to let them chose how to view content.

        I thought it was a low point when MTV viewers chose their own VJ. I hadn't heard they they're choosing network execs from the same talent pool.

      • Two Words: product placement.
      • by stevew (4845)

        Hmmm - well we could do like Europe (and most of the rest of the civilized world) and pay a licensee fee for each TV receiver. That is one idea. The thing is that the attitude of the *AA types that we have a contract to watch the commercials is the rediculous part of the conversation. I don't remember signing anything - did you?

        • Newsflash, the UK tv license fee "only" funds the BBC (2 terrestrial channels, 5 national radio stations, endless local ones, a 24-hour news channel on c/s/dtt, etc.). The other 2.5 terrestrial channels (ITV, Channel4 and the excrable Channel 5) run ads, as do pretty much all of the extra channels on cable/satellite/dtt.
  • Scary. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fat Casper (260409) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @06:56PM (#4090394) Homepage
    ...whether specific uses -- such as transferring a TV show to a laptop to watch while traveling or using the commercial skip features to avoid exposing children to commercials -- constitutes a legally permissible ``fair use.''

    Apparently only consumers on the suit will answer those questions. Transferring a show to your laptop is fair use. How is skipping commercials fair use?

    Calling that fair use grants the point that not watching commercials is a theft that is only "legally permissible" if there's a kid in the room. Going to get more chips during an ad is obviously now theft. If it's only okay if you've got a kid handy, but then you should send the kid to the kitchen and watch the damn ads yourself. That satisfies everyone, according to the judge: the sponsors are seen, you get your food and the innocent little child is protected from the commercials in a legally permissible way.

    • your alleged arguement is completely wrong. you're implying that only children should be permitted to be protected from this crap. Any user should be able to be protected from this crap. Calling it "theft" is like calling unauthorized software copying "piracy". Either way it's wrong. the term "demonizing" comes to mind.

      Also, since I don't feel like making two seperate posts, I would like to state at this time that if people are concerned with the bottom dropping out of TV if people don't watch commercials, then these same people need to find jobs that really help society, rather than just delivering alleged entertainment of dubious quality to millions of users with no sense of what their time is worth nor that the entertainment industry's actors, actresses, etc. are so outlandishly overpaid that they (and the politicians and judges) really need to understand that obviously if an industry is going to get greedy over something, they need to understand that obviously this industry needs to modify its payroll and business practices in general rather than clutching to their pipe dreams of insane amounts of money so disproportionate to everyone else's.
      • you're implying that only children should be permitted to be protected from this crap.

        No, I said Calling that fair use grants the point that not watching commercials is a theft that is only "legally permissible" if there's a kid in the room.

        The judge called that legally permissible "fair use." It has nothing to do with fair use, and calling it that grants a point that only the **AAs in their crack-induced stupor think is valid. It's kind of like when Col. Scheisskoph issued statements that there would be no parade on Sunday- its very implication is far more of an encroachment than the statement itself.

        You're entirely right; demonizing is exactly what they're trying to do. Remember: when you download MP3s, you're downloading communism.

    • "How is skipping commercials fair use? "

      What's next? Ripping ads out of magazines so you don't have to see them while reading going to be the next thing that's illegal?

      Same analogy. I'm just wondering what's different.
    • Fair Use (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jerf (17166) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @10:52PM (#4091085) Journal
      "Fair Use" is a specific legal concept that we're probably hurting ourselves by misusing all the time like this. It is unlikely that skipping commercials is "Fair Use". Wrong problem, wrong concept, wrong argument.

      The real question is, since when are we obligated? I'll leave the sentence fragment like that, because it makes more sense then specifying the obligations. Exactly at which point did we become obligated to watch commercials? Where are these obligations stated? How did we agree to these obligations? Who the hell seriously believes in these obligations? What legal basis do these obligations have?

      Are we equally obligated to watch every single commercial that comes into our home? Are we obligated to watch the same damn Burger King commercial all 4000 times it is on a day? (One could interpret it that way.) What if we only watch part of a show? What if we only watch two minutes of the show, then leave? Are we obligated to watch some commercials later?

      Are we all going to be in deep legal poo-poo for retroactive penalties for not watching commercials? Can the judge rule in favor of the obligation theory when he or she has almost certainly not behaved that way themselves? Do the executives making these insane claims themselves watch commercials? ... or TV at all? (Are they specially immune because they are executives?) As a democratic republic, can we seriously believe this argument has the slighest basis in law when every television watcher and voter does not agree with it? Isn't that where the law ultimately derives from, not the means-are-ends fantasy-land interpretations of the law promulgated by Big Copyright?

      Fair use is a phrase best left unused by Slashdotters, as most of them get it wrong. The real questions in this case are trivialized by using the fair use concept. (Look it up.)
  • by glenebob (414078) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @06:59PM (#4090400)
    Cars allow people to run over and kill innocent children. Kitchen knives can be used to cut, torture, and kill innocent children. Rocks can be used to bash in the skulls of innocent children.

    Video recorders can be used to make (shitty) copies of movies which can then be distributed on the Internet and viewed by innocent children.

    Box knives can be used to hijack airliners, which can in turn be used to kill innocent children.

    And of course a ReplayTV unit can be used to record porno flics from TV which can then be sent to innocent children for viewing.

    We should outlaw anything that can be used for any sort of illegal purpose. It's simple, really.
    • I always liked the MPAA's argument for DeCSS: it's a digital crowbar. If only the judge had granted the prosecution's argument and regulated it as such.
    • Actually video recorders will be used to transfer shows onto Laptops. The terrorists will proceed to watch the program on said laptop while on a 747 which will interfer with the internal electronics and cause the Airliner to crash. So they are only doing this to protect the airline industry from foreign terrorists who insist on watching Friends.
    • Think about that for a second. That would mean that you would essentially haveto outlaw any and all physical objects, including people. Think about it- you can use ANY solid object to beat a person to death with. From a hammer to a dog treat, anything can do serious damage if you use enough force with it. Of course, things like cloth and paper would be hard to beat someone to death with, but you could smother or choke someone with those. You can drown someone with liquid, and gas... well, you can freeze gas and then it's a solid, which means you can beat someone to death with it. Plasma... well, I'm not enough of a chemistry/physics person to know what you can do with that.

      So, in conclusion, if anything that could be used for an illegal purpose was illegal, then EVERYONE would be a criminal. We may as well build a gigantic cage around the whole damn planet.

      Or just get rid of the RIAA, MPAA, Microsoft, and anyone else who wants to legislate such stupid things. Like the people who bitch about video game violence.
      • Think about that for a second. That would mean that you would essentially [have to] outlaw any and all physical objects, including people. Think about it- you can use ANY solid object to beat a person to death with /.../ things like cloth and paper would be hard to beat someone to death with, but you could smother or choke someone with those.

        You are absolutely right. Anything is lethal. [yahoo.com] I'm not even going to make the joke about resting in peas.

  • "The ruling was a reversal from last week's tentative order, in which Cooper wrote that the case would likely resolve ``many, if not all'' of the issues consumers raise -- without their direct output."
    She must have realised her Betazoid powers were waning and needed "Output" from actual humaniods.

    Dammit, when will these judges realise that we don't have time to tell them what we think.

    That's why we elect/appoint them, so we don't have to think for ourselves.
  • by eggboard (315140) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @08:23PM (#4090635) Homepage
    I'm one of the defendants -- why doesn't anyone ever say the suit includes regular Slashdot reader Glenn Fleishman? cuz Craig is arguably much cooler than I. One large part of my involvement in the suit is that I don't believe that any company nor the government should be allowed to outlaw devices or uses or media formats before or after the fact because there simply might be some ways in which that technology could infringe on copyright.

    Copyright is held in the public interest -- it's part of the public good as a means to ensure the creation and dissemination of knowledge. Fair use is a tool to allow individuals to have reasonable access and use of materials they license or buy from copyright holders. With the expansion of copyright law, there's no connection any more between the notion of copyright as a limited grant by the people of the United States (and other countries, too, of course) and the utility to which that copyright can be put to use.

    I'm an author as well as a defendent in this case, and I support copyright as a method by which words, images, and motion can be protected for a limited time to allow the artists, writers, and other creators to make a living. If other modalities arise in which I would copyright nothing but still be able to pay the bills, I would certainly be interested in that as would most authors I know.

    The point is this: I don't ask Xerox and Canon to stop selling copy machines because they might photocopy articles that appear in magazines. I don't ask ISPs to filter all content because my words might pass through without payment. I don't require my readers to peruse advertisements and read my articles in one sitting. (You can make the case that one useful item built into new color copiers is their ability to recognize when currency is being photocopied and prevent it -- that has compelling public and private interest all over it, even though it prevents certain kinds of art.)
    • Holy shit! A slashdotter who put their money where their mouth is.

      How about starting a journal to keep us updated?

      • by eggboard (315140) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @09:47PM (#4090891) Homepage
        Weirdly, none of us have thought about a blog or journal on the case. I wonder what our lawyers will think? EFF has a truly terrific, hip bunch of people behind this (not just saying that because they read Slashdot), and I wouldn't be surprised if we could pull something off like that. Thanks for the suggestion!

        Yeah, when Larry Lessig said at OSCon, what are you doing? I thought -- Hey, I'm actually doing something! I hope to attend the actual trial.
        • I can certainly see where they might not want you to say too much. But even if you could say "I was deposed today.... Attorney submitted brief yesterday.... etc." Or even just post a blurb saying "eff page on trial updated today". Certainly these very factual things couldn't cause a problem.
    • Kick ass. No, I have nothing more than that to add. :)

    • Congrats on possibly being able to say your peace to someone who might actually give a damn.

      Things to note when (if) speaking to the Judge:

      1) As your message title said, "Possible infringing uses don't outlaw a device". Look at guns. The right to bear arms is in the constitution, but there's nothing to say what kind of arms are allowed, so something like a sword or dagger would qualify just as much as an M16. (ie, guns could be outlawed without a constitutional crisis) Obviously, the most efficient method of killing someone with a bullet is by accelerating it with a gun. Yet the gun is not illegal to own (nor the bullet), it is only illegal to use it for - you guessed it - illegal purposes. (Incidentally, a handgun has few legal uses - fewer than a PVR. They may used for target shooting, and for self defense. It's sometimes allowed, but very rare, to hunt with a pistol.)

      Of course, it may be wise not to link PVR's with guns - you never know how an MPAA lawyer might twist that one :)

      2) The television industry sends out copyrighted information without first licensing it (to the viewer). If I rent/buy a tape or DVD, there is an FBI notice on it, telling me what uses aren't allowed. To say that I have fewer rights to something for which there has been no notice given, nor any license agreed to is insane. Remember - I can pause, rewind, stop, piss, whatever with the tape or DVD.

      3) The argument that there is "an implied agreement to watch the commercials" is complete crap. The TV station has agreements with their advertisers, to put the commercials on the air at certain times, or during certain types of shows. There is no agreement with the viewer to watch. None. The TV station pays the network for programming, and the advertisers pay the TV station for product exposure. End of story. I (as a viewer) have always had the right to: a) channel surf; b) take a piss; c) make popcorn; d) turn off the TV; or e) watch the commercial. It is my choice as the viewer. I choose what shows to watch, and what commercials to watch. The TV station chooses what shows to broadcast, and what/when commercials will be broadcast. If they have the right to require us to sit through the commmercials, the obvious next step is to make certain shows mandatory as well. That would be terrible - imagine having to watch reruns of "Rosanne".

      4) The industry lawyers claim (from the EFF page about this suit) "... commercial skipping infringes copyright and digital recording aids piracy." Of course, the telephone also aids piracy. So does the post office. And the interstate highway system, and the oil industry, and the auto industry ... Basically, any tool that a pirate uses helps piracy.

      The really funny part of this is that the TV stations/networks have been broadcasting modified versions of TV shows for years. They cut out segments of the shows so that more commercials can be fit in. One hour TV shows used to be 52 minutes or so, now the same show would be about 42 minutes. It's interesting that the TV stations claim that we are illegally not watching parts of the programming when they are actually preventing us from seeing the whole show in many instances.

      Here's to making a difference.
    • You can make the case that one useful item built into new color copiers is their ability to recognize when currency is being photocopied and prevent it --
      You could also make a case that the copier does not have to recognise the currency, but must distort everything copied by 20% in size or more. That's very much like the SDMI standard for audio recording. To meet the standard, the analog input must be Monural Voice quality bandwidth limited.
      That sounds like a photocopier that can't make correct size/color/resolution copies, but can output your online purchased e-newspaper with finely detailed advertisements. Basicaly, it's to be an output device, not a copying device.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Some advertisers already have caught onto the fact they need to change their advertising strategy by adding product placements to shows. Take a look at that wacky American Idol on FOX TV - they have product placement with Coke and Ford. Luckily I can TiVO through the Ford things. Can't quite FF through the show with coke overlays logos and judging with Coke cups on the table. Funny thing I only tuned in after I read an article about type of product advertising they were doing.The phone in thing seemed a little suspect.
  • by fermion (181285) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @11:10PM (#4091125) Homepage Journal
    Although many have whined about how television can't support itself without ads, and what will happen to all those unemployed people if there was no television, and the predictable response that the purpose of legislation is not to prop up failed business models, all these miss the point.

    The purpose of television is the advertising. If there was no advertising, there would be no commercial need for TV in the US, not even PBS.

    American Corporations depends upon broadcast television to market their product and brand their trade and service marks. TV has been very kind to the U.S. corporation, allowing mega corporations such as McDonalds, WalMart, and Coca Cola to create a unified vision of their corporation in the public mind, one that often has little to do with reality. Broadcast television has, in effect, given the corporation a means to brainwash entire generations.

    To the U.S. Corporation an end of television commercials means an end of a powerful marketing technique. If McDonalds is not allowed to brainwash the kids to annoy their parent for a Kids' Meal, what is to stop the consumer from just going to the restaurant next door, or, god forbid, actually cook a nutritious meal? If WalMart is not allowed to push the fallacy that they provide the best value, what is to stop the consumer from going to a store where the workers are actually paid for the hours worked? If Coca-Cola did not constantly equate itself with the American Way, would there be any reason for us not buy Shasta?

    Some may think I am exaggerating, but I am not. TV has been critical in the evolution of the American Corporation and the mass adoption of new products. For instance, when instant coffee first came out, it was not widely accepted. Most women at the time were homemakers, and making real coffee for their husbands was considered part of their duty. Instant Coffee producers launched a large scale campaign to equate instant coffee to loving one's husband, by way of having more time to be with him. We see the same thing in recent paper plate commercial aimed at the single mom. By using paper plates, the single mom has more time to spend with her kids, and therefore only a mom who did not love her kids would not use paper plates. Every few minutes on kids' shows, McDonalds equates going to their restaurants with loving your kids.

    So, now perhaps we can stop all this silly talk about the quality of TV, or that maybe we can just start paying for TV. The sole purpose of a television program is to deliver a large number of a certain demographic to an advertiser. Nothing less, nothing more. Advertisers know how important this is, and will often pay inflated prices to insure their influences. This is particularly true for certain groups such as young men. This, by the way, explains why male professional sports do so well.. Such sports are also a vehicle to deliver a demographic to the advertiser. The value of such entertainment to us as consumers is far less than the value to the advertiser. We would unlikely to be willing to directly pay that kind of money.

    • I'm confusedd. Is this an argument for TV or against it?
      • Against it. What he is saying is that television has become such a widely successful marketing tool that companies will pour millions into a tiny 30-second time slot, all to get you to buy their product. Commercials are designed to make you feel as though you are somehow less of a person, less intelligent, or inferior to everyone else unless you buy their products or use their services.

        The beer commercial is the classic example of a product that is so constantly associated with a vision that is not even remotely associated with reality. Since when does drinking a beer magically turn you into a stud whom the girls can't resist? As I see it, beer has a nasty tendency to make you slow, stupid, potentially dangerous, and generally repulsive if you aren't careful.

        The images that fermion mentions are equally as ludicrous. That's why they're great examples. Taking your kids to McDonalds does not and never will equate to properly loving and caring for your children. Coca-Cola is not synonymous with the American dream. Anyone who believes that drinking Coke will automatically make you successful deserves whatever fate is handed to them.

        This is why a recent Ask Slashdot [slashdot.org]ran chills up my spine. The De Beers diamond cartel designed a series of commercials (none of which are running anymore, thankfully) that actually had the gall to tout the sales pitch "how else can two months salary last a lifetime" when everyone knows that a diamond is not going to keep your marriage intact. Your wife may love it, but if YOU aren't a good husband then no amount of jewels will help.

        But then again, we know this. It's the masses who don't.

        --
    • Or $1.20 per hour of commercials (not the show) that the station gets paid by the advertisers for each viewer. My time is worth more than 2 cents a minute: I'm willing to pay that penny for each commercial I don't have to watch. The TV industry will have to learn to adapt, rather than force me to watch dreck for pennies. This essay [templetons.com] by Brad Templeton (of the EFF) covers some possible business models TV could take.
    • If there was no advertising, there would be no commercial need for TV in the US, not even PBS.

      What about HBO, Showtime, and the like? A pretty significant percentage of what I watch is on those two networks, and I can guarantee you their CEOs don't care what I do with my fast forward button as long as I remain a paying subscriber.

      No question that television advertising is an important influence on culture, but there's a proven business model for TV without ads. (Not only that, the shows on pay channels seem to be better on average, though of course that's a matter of personal taste.)


  • What if you just don't like the commercials? Think about this for a second -- I don't mind watching commericals that are informative, or are for products I might have need of. What I don't like is being drown in the deluse of rubbish commericals that are loud, annoying, graphic or don't otherwise suit my taste. The sort of grating commericals that turn your stomach in disgust, as you think of the societal degeneration necessary for the commercial to have been produced. the worst sort of bad. That said, I seem to be suggesting targeted commericals. Privacy issues aside, I might not mind being notified that someone has a deal on a fast laptop, or that some company has lowered the price on some product I had previously been interested. Perhaps an ad for a product that solves a long-time problem of mine (flat garden hose anyone??). Hell, even objective commercials that (well, I'd have to have some reason to trust the source) clearly explain the features of Product Q in a way that isn't misleading. I can almost respect advertising like that, couldn't you? A sort of thoughtful, intelligent commercial that aims at answering consumer questions or provides some way of getting more information to users? Infomercials move too slowly and are much too "lowest common denominator" for my taste... but I can only watch so many convulsingly bad commercials on TNN before I can't even stand to watch startrek. Is it any wonder advertising isn't effective anymore when I have to watch the same garbage back commercial 257 times a day on 13 channels? ("To-me tonaca is mad! GEt Glad!" my ears. they bleed!!)

    Do you see what I'm saying? Quasi-Interactive TV. Just imagine. You get an advertisement XML file that your little PVR renders to a commercial in one of the following categories: 1. Smart, consise 2. Loud, annoying. 3. Old-English 4. Funny. 5. Random

    I know its a bit utopian.. but that doesn't make it a bad idea. Could this possibly be another case of big money attempting to outlaw new technology to protect their existing business model?
    • Not just informative commercials are good, but entertaining ones are good too. Budwiser has managed to put out several commercials that I enjoy remembering years after they went off the air. (I reward them for that, but I don't drink) If all commercials were as good, a station that played nothing but commercials would make it. (top-40 radio makes it, so it isn't unconcieveable)

      Really it is about marketing. I make it a point to buy from companies who's advertisements I like. (When cost or quality considerations don't drive me to buy from someone else instead) I make it a point not to buy from companies that put out offensive (to me) commercials, which rarely happens, but it offten happens that I boycott a company for supporting causes I dislike.

    • I might not mind being notified that someone has a deal on a fast laptop

      So you don't mind being bothered continuously about a product which you buy one of every three years or so.

      You get an advertisement XML file that

      that will turn into a battlefield when advertisers try to sneek their crud into all categories because they are convinced everybody will just love their great product. I hate the banner-blocker/pop-up/under/over war already, and that doesn't include me opening up my blocking-filters to the advertisers, I'd hate to see what happens if I do...

      -John
  • by cnewmark (45916) on Saturday August 17, 2002 @11:22PM (#4091166) Homepage
    There're five plaintiffs, each of us sticking our neck out a tiny amount, but the heavy lifting is done by the EFF (join!) and Ira Rothken as lead attorney.

    I was present at the hearing Monday, and heard the lead Hollywood attorney actually say that they don't think consumers should be heard in the suit. Frankly, in all confidence I feel that they mean this in general.

    Some local coverage emphasizes my involvement in this, which is unfair, but it has to do with the craigslist connection.

    Craig
  • I own a ReplayTV 4500 and enjoy it very much. I think it was my best buys and the most useful gadgit that i have ever purchased.
    Its it has changed they way I watch TV. I don't wait for my shows to come on, I watch them when I want. Like a VCR that records all my shows but a lot simpler and some added abilities like a TV guide (like in many digtial cable boxes or Satelight reciviers). The combination is a perfect match that spawned a something very unique. This little thing has changed how I watch TV in a way that is hard to explain. I don't wait for shows to come on anymore. (I used to get mad because I was missing something or I had to work when my show was on) When I want to something, I can watch it right now. Its ability to filter commericals have also changed me. Watching TV is so much more fun, because most producers and writes work shows that a bit of suspence comes before a commerical to keep people to keep watching and so my anshuness is immedietly satisfied. Another side effect is that I had a habit that I didn't even know I had that it broke me of. I would also get up when it would fade out to go do something thinking I had a few seconds. I caught myself starting to get up when I expected a commerical to go to the bathroom. I don't have to wait on it now. I can pause when I want to pause it. Its going to really interesting with football session. People are going to try and tell the scores to me and I will have to stop them before they do because I havn't seen the game yet. Or maybe I be watching but just delayed and pause the live game because the pizza guy is here. Anyways, this is more of a rant on the ReplayTV/TiVO phonamanon.

    • Its it has changed they way I watch TV

      I think it has changed the way I watch TV also, but in another way. I don't have a Replay (or TVIO). I used to watch movies. Now about all I can find on free TV is really second rate stuff. There are too many infomercials, commercials and very little content anymore. Content is geared at the lowest common denominator. Other than the ocasional news, I don't even watch it anymore. I no longer check a TV schedule in the evening.
      I use the internet for content instead. I don't have to wait for a commercial to be over to continue with the content. Studios are reluctant to release good stuff for fear someone might record it to watch it later. This has killed quality content.

      I think this lack of content is what is killing the digital TV. People are not building or buying digital TV's with a tuner built in. I found less than 3% of digital ready sets ship with a digital tuner. People are not buying them so the manufactures are not investing in making them. Over the air TV is about dead unless the studios get a clue. Buying a TV without a tuner used to be unheard of. Even monitor sets with loads of AV inputs came with a tuner in most cases. That is not the case with digital TV. Nobody is interested in receiving stuff off the air enough to pay for the digital tuner.
      Small digital TV's are way too expensive/not manufactured. The only sets getting the tuners are the upscale home theatre boxes. It'll be a long time before digital TV's are made for the the den, kitchen, or typical apartment/condo/manufactured home deweller.
      If anybody knows of a 20 inch or smaller DTV (including a built in tuner) for under $500 US, let me know. Until Cable TV and Satelite TV output RF, set manufactures have little incentive to change. Those without subscription TV of some sort will be unable to find small affordable TV sets that can pick up the new digital broadcasts.
  • We need to outlaw remote controls...and memory settings...and (last but not least) station buttons on car radios.

    Why?

    Simple...every one of these can (and is) used to avoid commercials....
    • Haven't you ever noticed all the radio broadcasters synchronize their commercials? The fact that you can no longer avoid commercial on the radio is why you don't see a push to outlaw changing stations during a commercial break.
  • It is quite interesting that number of persons
    who would take pain to buy and install adv-removing
    device wouldn't signiffically affect profits of advertizing companies.

    Of course, 90% slashdot readers would be there.
    But what's the matter?

    One have to think by himself to find out that commercials are annoying and some money should be paid to get rid of them.

    Most TV watchers wouldn't do this.

    What we really need to do, is to write opensource
    software which would cut commercials, as plugin
    to xawtv or something alike. So, every geek
    with TV tuner would be able to enjoy ads-free TV.

    But license should prohibit embedding this software into commercially sold devices, or even
    distributing of binaries. So only vendors of devices which provide full development enviroment for them would benefit from it.

    If you are willing to took part in this project,
    I can help you providing web and cvs services, based in Russia, to avoid conflicts with DMCA.

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