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Microsoft Patents Television The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

Microsoft Patent Monetizes Your TV Remote 234

theodp writes "Microsoft, reports GeekWire, is seeking a patent on monetizing the buttons of your TV remote. In its application for a patent on 'Control-based Content Pricing,' Microsoft explains how one can jack up the cable bill of those who dare fast-forward past a diaper commercial or replay a sports highlight. From the patent application: 'If a user initiates a navigation control input to advance past (e.g., skip over) an advertisement, the cost of a requested on-demand movie may be increased. Similarly, if a user initiates a replay of a sporting event, the user may be charged for the replay control input and for each subsequent view control input.'"
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Microsoft Patent Monetizes Your TV Remote

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  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @09:37AM (#39388587)

    In fact, I do not have a TV and dropped that waste of time about 8 years ago. Never missed it since then.

    With the amount of stupidity that idiot box pours out these days, that sheer amorality of this patent does not surprise me. The source does not either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2012 @09:39AM (#39388603)

    ...that my TV is receive-only. No pay-TV, no on-demand, just unencrypted broadcasts. If you can't deliver that, I will just stop watching. Your move.

  • Re:too late (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 17, 2012 @09:44AM (#39388633)

    Same here, what I'd like to know is if they will use their other patented / patent application stuff to really ream it down your throat.

    Eye tracking with a camera, monitor your "blood pressure, heart rate, etc." Maybe use it to show commercials for statins. I don't know.

    I did my part to help Microsoft go under. I've boycotted their products since 2005, and haven't bought a single thing from them. I keep a copy of XP SP2 in a vm just in case, but it never gets used, and will be obsolete soon anyway...

    Fortunately, I don't have a TV at the moment, and no remote, I wonder what this tech will do to the battery life. More waste surely.

  • Mediaroom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rogueippacket ( 1977626 ) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @09:45AM (#39388645)
    Considering a number of large television providers use Microsoft Mediaroom (which requires Microsoft certified set-top boxes, most of which are PVR capable) today, there is already a large platform this patent could be deployed to. But I guess it's a sign of the times - upfront subscriptions are slowly disappearing, with pay-per-use content (such as Video on Demand) and Micro-transactions taking over. Who knows, maybe we will see an overall reduction in subscription costs with patents like this, but probably not any time soon. I don't know if the average broadcast television subscriber is ready to be nickel-and-dimed for skipping a commercial yet.
  • by X!0mbarg ( 470366 ) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:13AM (#39388843)

    Think about it this way: If anyone does try to implement this type of thing, they have to pay Micro$oft for the Patent.
    Now, if they don't wish to put such a financial burden on a system such as this, (thus increasing its cost, and reducing its appeal to the end user), they'd opt to leave such a feature out.
    Active DISCOURAGEMENT of a Bad Idea by Patenting it, so they can actually DENY it to folks, and the right to Sue if anyone actually Infringes!
    Big Oil has been doing this for years, tho: Buying up high fuel efficiency ideas, patenting them, and Denying them to anyone, and suing them into the ground if they try to bypass their patent.

    Not that I'm For such a "feature" on any system I'd subscribe to. This would be a decent way to head such a heinous money-grab off at the pass!

    Maybe "Uncle Bills' Kids" aren't as bad as we all thought...

    That, or I'm simply seeing a possibility that others are far more likely to Implement than avoid...

    In THAT case, say Hello to rampant 'Product Placement' as revenue! After all, I don't see ANYONE wanting a system like this anywhere near their wallet!

  • Re:too late (Score:4, Interesting)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:40AM (#39389021)
    Well, it will drive more to piracy. And they will think it is just cost...
  • Re:too late (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tqk ( 413719 ) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Saturday March 17, 2012 @10:55AM (#39389137)

    At the end of a commercial break there will be a series of questions to see if you were paying attention.

    I can think of *so* many ways to leverage this kind of thinking:

    i) shoes that detect when they're being put on, automatically debiting your chequing acct. for each use, and for each step taken in them.

    ii) Shirts that detect when they're being buttoned up. Ditto for zippers. Add modifiers for when used long sleeved, or rolled up.

    iii) sunglasses that charge per solar day.

    iv) clothing that detects seasons and charges by the year.

    v) & etc.

    I'm glad I'm not going to live long enough to see that world. The rest of you are welcome to it.

  • Re:too late (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Saturday March 17, 2012 @11:03AM (#39389185) Journal

    Meh the future is gonna be embedded ads that you simply can't escape. You'll see the characters drinking Coke while using their iPhone and driving their Ford Explorer to the Taco Bell. As for cable doing this if the other cablecos are like mine they pretty much have you over a barrel anyway so its not like there is anything you can do about it. Between the major networks having their shows in Windows 7 Media Center (which I'm sure MSFT paid a pretty penny for) and Hulu I haven't even bothered to hook my basic cable up to my PC yet i'm still paying for the damned thing because they have it priced in their contracts so you get screwed if you don't take the crap.

    So in the end it doesn't matter if they stick in more commercials (remember when the whole selling point of cable was commercial free TV?) or jack the price or whatever, because you'll take it simply because you got no choice. in my area its 12Mbps cable with bundling bullshit or 2Mbps DSL run by the evil empire known as AT&T, aka "STFU about the lousy quality bitch or we'll leave you on hold for another 4 hours" so it isn't like there is a damned thing I can do about any wallet raping anyway. man what I wouldn't give for real competition and just a big fat dumb pipe. While EU and Asia are getting these sweet huge pipes we are getting the short bus to the information superhighway. Pretty much MSFT has nailed what is the only "innovation" we have here in the USA anymore, all the new and exciting ways the megacorps can steal your wallets.

  • Re:Just no (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StewBaby2005 ( 883886 ) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @12:07PM (#39389613)
    "and do absolutely nothing except provide for 'snack/bathroom break' time during the show" I wonder if Advertising is responsible for the rise in obesity in the US population then? Isn't it a bit like Pavlov/Behavioural ? Once you get up to fix a snack during a break, you ALWAYS get up to fix a snack during a break, except when you are going to the restroom to relieve yourself of the aforementioned snack?
  • Re:too late (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kent_eh ( 543303 ) on Saturday March 17, 2012 @02:10PM (#39390321)
    I managed to make my cable bill go down recently.
    They did an across the board price increase, so I called and dropped a few packages so that I'm now paying less.
    And after a few months, I find that I'm not missing the channels that I dropped.

    The next price hike, I'll likely do the same thing.
    I may not even wait that long. As the content to advertising ratio keeps getting worse, it makes me want to spend even less time in front of the tube.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!