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Will Microsoft Dis-Kinect Freeloading TV Viewers? 478

theodp writes "Just when you think the cable TV viewing experience couldn't get any worse, GeekWire reports on the Microsoft Xbox Incubation team's patent-pending Consumer Detector, which uses cameras and sensors like those in the Xbox 360 Kinect controller to monitor, count and in some cases identify the people in a room watching television, movies and other content. Should the number of viewers detected exceed the limits of a particular content license, the system would halt playback unless additional viewing rights were purchased."
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Will Microsoft Dis-Kinect Freeloading TV Viewers?

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  • Masking tape (Score:5, Insightful)

    by surmak ( 1238244 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:53AM (#41879701)
    Over the camera should solve the problem.
  • Re:Masking tape (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustOK ( 667959 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:55AM (#41879715) Journal

    "No one is watching. Guess I'll turn off then."

  • Re:Masking tape (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:55AM (#41879719) Journal
    If it can't identify anyone, I'm sure it will say that it is unable to play the content.
  • Re:Masking tape (Score:3, Insightful)

    by silvershadow ( 101700 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:56AM (#41879723)

    Or simply disconnect it.

  • more copying (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @09:56AM (#41879727)
    I am enthusiastic about Microsoft's apparent desire to increase illegal copying.
  • Re:Masking tape (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:03AM (#41879811) Journal

    Over the camera should solve the problem.

    Normal technology is designed to fail as robustly as possible. Since video input is non-essential to media playback, graceful degradation and continued operation would be trivial.

    DRM isn't normal technology. It's technology that is designed to fail as dramatically as possible. Expect any minor anomalies in the 'trusted' system state to be treated as catastrophic and absolutely incompatible with continued playback.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:05AM (#41879823) Homepage

    You do not want to fight your customers!

    With the caveat that the customers are the advertisers, and the people who watch are just there to keep the seats warm and bump the Nielsen ratings.

  • Re:Masking tape (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:08AM (#41879845)

    What it's absolutely incompatible with is my wallet.

    This shit is hilarious. People put up with the XBOX360 to play games. The moment scenes like this play out, people will just stop using it and go elsewhere. Laptop and Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Piracy, whatever...

    These people that are coming up with shit like this are insane. Even the most unsophisticated consumer sheep is going to lose it the day playback stops because their friend walked in.

  • Re:Masking tape (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 1s44c ( 552956 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:16AM (#41879903)

    These people that are coming up with shit like this are insane.

    It's true, yet they keep coming up with shit like this.

    After decades abusing customers maybe Microsoft have come to the conclusion that they can do anything and people will put up with it.

  • Re:Masking tape (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vettemph ( 540399 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:17AM (#41879915)

    Masking tape over the camera, Punch a hole in the tape so the camera can see the owner but not the whole room. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:32AM (#41880067)

    Common sense. On Slashdot. I'm gobsmacked.

  • Re:Masking tape (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:35AM (#41880101) Homepage Journal

    The way that corporate media critics like Howard Kurtz have kept a blind eye to this is with the excuse that "only governments can sensor people, not corporations."

    Sorry, in the era where your only gateway to the mass audience is through companies owned by 4-5 people corporate owned media CAN censor, and even if you don't believe this it's impossible to argue that they can't have deep influence or outright set the agenda of what is discussed.

  • Re:more copying (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JWW ( 79176 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:36AM (#41880103)

    You could consider it that.

    But its more than likely Microsoft is planning on bragging up this patent at the Movie and Cable companies in exchange for exclusive deals to play their movies.

    This patent is fucking obscene.

    If protecting the sale (sorry "licensing") of your product needs police state tools, no one should respect your right to do business at all....

  • Re:Masking tape (Score:5, Insightful)

    by faedle ( 114018 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:43AM (#41880173) Homepage Journal

    Do you even see the irony in your own statement?

    On the one hand, you groan about "people put up with the XBOX360.." and then say "consumer sheep is going to lose it". You do realize that most 'consumer sheep' won't, in fact, "lose it", and you prove the point with your snide remark about the XBOX platform.

    This isn't going to be enforced the way you think. It's likely not going to stop playing just because somebody walked in. Where this is going to be used is for things like pay-per-view sporting events and premium content services. This is primarily here to prevent a bar (or similar venue) from buying the consumer-priced-for-home-viewing $90 wrestling fight. (typically, bars and the like pay higher prices based upon their foot traffic) And people won't lose it: they'll pony up the money like they always have. You will have a small number that will complain, but they won't complain that loudly.

  • Re:Masking tape (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Megane ( 129182 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @10:45AM (#41880197) Homepage

    Tampering detected, TV shuts off and you're fucked.

    Fuck that, I've heard of this new show called "Outside", and you don't even need a TV to watch it. It's in super HD and it even has some sort of temperature generators, so hot stuff feels hot and cold stuff feels cold. Take that Hollywood 3-D!

  • Re:Masking tape (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:03AM (#41880443)

    The Kinect has (and would probably use for identification anyways) an infrared camera. I doubt a photo would work on that very well. Better idea is just don't use the damned XBox for movies if it does this.

  • Would be funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by durdur ( 252098 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:04AM (#41880457)

    if it were not literally true, in this case.

  • by RazorSharp ( 1418697 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @11:41AM (#41880935)

    I agree they that they probably won't implement the thing, but the key to preventing the implementation is rabble rousing and anger before any attempt is made. Even if the idea would be to just count the viewers to generate data, that's still too intrusive for me and I'd think most viewers. It's none of Microsoft's business how many people are sitting on my couch. Not to mention there are more creepy things they could do with this data than just milk viewers for more money - facial recognition technology combined with combing the internet . . . ugh.

    Of course, I'd never have a Microsoft device in my living room anyway so I'm not too worried about it, but when this type of technology becomes prevalent it's hard to get away from it.

  • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:16PM (#41881509) Homepage Journal

    Indeed. If you do not own a car, you don't need to buy car insurance. For the most part, leasing counts as 'owning'. Renting(IE the registration isn't in your name) is generally handled as a rider on the rental agreement - for like $10 they give you insurance.

    It gets even more complicated - you can own a car, and as long as it never touches a public street you can leave it unregistered and uninsured, and drive it without a license; while drunk. I just wouldn't suggest getting into an accident with it, because the liability would remain.

  • Re:Masking tape (Score:4, Insightful)

    by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Monday November 05, 2012 @12:31PM (#41881785) Journal
    In the UK all BBC programmes are freeview and contain no commercials. This is paid for via a TV license fee of around £145 (~US$230) per-property per-year, which personally I think is worth it for the programmes the BBC put out.

    You don't need a license if you're not watching live or if you only watch DVDs etc, but to "receive live television" you have to buy one.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"