Print 43 comment(s) - last by superstition.. on Jun 25 at 8:50 AM

The new patent aims to disable the fast-forward function as well as the "Look Back" and "Start Over" features in programs that are saved on the physical DVR

Time Warner Cable (TWC) patented a technique for digital video recorders (DVRs) that may prevent viewers from skipping commercials.

The new patent aims to disable the fast-forward function as well as the "Look Back" and "Start Over" features in programs that are saved on the physical DVR. This would apply to network-based DVR and physical DVRs in subscriber homes.

"Look Back" allows TWC subscribers to access a program within three days of the premiere date if they forgot to record it, and "Start Over" allows the user to restart a show already in progress.

The reason for the new patent? Advertising. TWC worries that advertisers won't pony up the dough for advertisements if subscribers are just skipping them to get to their movie or TV show anyway.

"The ability to prevent trick mode functionality may be important for a number of reasons. Advertisers may not be willing to pay as much to place advertisements if they know that users may fast forward through the advertisement and thus not receive the desired sales message," said TWC in the patent. "Content providers may not be willing to grant rights in their content, or may want to charge more, if trick modes are permitted."

The patent may be difficult to uphold with DVRs that aren't controlled by the operator, but the multiple system operator (MSO) can stop subscribers from skipping commercials in cable shows they record using other devices.

TWC might have some issues with this new patent because subscribers will likely just go to other services like Verizon and DirecTV for DVRs that allow them to skip commercials.

Just last month, it was reported that Fox, CBS and NBC were taking Dish Network to court over a new feature that allows subscribers to skip advertisements. Dish ended up filing a suit to make ad-skipping acceptable with an official judgement.

The topic has raised much debate, where advertisers and TV broadcasters are looking for better methods of monetizing their content as more subscribers use DVRs.

Source: Fiercecable

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By samuellsk on 6/22/2012 4:58:17 AM , Rating: 5
I ve come back home, sit down behind tv, was ready for some great commercials, and those idiots started to play some movie. That pisses me off all the time.

RE: commercials
By Mitch101 on 6/22/2012 8:13:33 AM , Rating: 2
LOL. At least on the X-Box the Kinect will have interactive commercials. Bring on the bikini beer commercials.

Im also sure if they use that patent they will be quickly reminded there is Dish Network and Direct TV willing to help out.

RE: commercials
By NellyFromMA on 6/22/2012 8:19:07 AM , Rating: 5
No wonder people bootleg

RE: commercials
By MadAd on 6/25/2012 8:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
indeed, theyre sticking a knife in their own back here, this is not acceptable media distribution and will just push users back towards the ad free, watch when you want nature of bit torrent

RE: commercials
By FITCamaro on 6/22/12, Rating: -1
RE: commercials
By djdjohnson on 6/22/2012 10:10:56 AM , Rating: 5
Understood. But it is sure frustrating to be paying $170 per month to my cable/satellite provider and to hear that the greedy companies want to take away my ability to skip commercials. For broadcast I understand. But for pay channels, this is ridiculous.

RE: commercials
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2012 10:27:17 AM , Rating: 1
Don't pay 170 a month to them? Give them the shaft and cancel your subscription. There's more to life than television anyways.

RE: commercials
By mcnabney on 6/22/2012 10:36:29 AM , Rating: 2
Cable-free for four years. I only miss it for a few games that have moved to cable-only channels. I have discovered that I don't want content as much when the owner makes it difficult to get.

RE: commercials
By FITCamaro on 6/22/12, Rating: 0
RE: commercials
By quiksilvr on 6/22/2012 10:11:29 AM , Rating: 2
You're not stealing a damn thing. All you are doing is recording a show and watching it later. It's complete nonsense that you can't fast forward or go back.

Besides, most of their ad revenue is from sporting events (especially NFL). Most people don't record to watch it later and fast forward. People sit and watch it live with commercials.

This is just another futile attempt to avoid the full digitizing of television and movies because they have some ignorant belief that their profits will plummet five skillion bajillion dollars.

RE: commercials
By FITCamaro on 6/22/2012 4:29:16 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not talking about with a DVR. Of course you're not stealing anything when you use your DVR to record anything. I'm talking about people download shows and movies off the internet using things like Bittorent. It's a copyrighted work that you didn't pay for and now have. Now yes there are legal ways to record TV shows with video capture cards and what not. I'm all for them.

I'm just solely talking about those who go online and download them illegally. And those who think they somehow have an inherent right to.

And yes stations won't make new shows if there's no revenue from ads. That's why certain shows get canceled. Enough people aren't watching, meaning what they can charge for ads is lower, meaning they may not be able to cover the production costs of the show and make a profit.

I can't wait for a-la-cart programming myself. I'm currently without cable or satellite. Just Netfix and an HD antenna. Now I will have to sign back up during football season since not everything is on networks or ESPN3. I am going to get Sunday Ticket through my PS3 without a DirecTV subscription though. Going to largely play it by ear.

But acting like you're forced to pay for cable or satellite is retarded. No. You value it enough to want to pay for it despite the high cost. Same goes for cell phones. We have no inherent right for to these services though.

RE: commercials
By jRaskell on 6/22/2012 1:15:01 PM , Rating: 4
When the courts rule that ad skipping is illegal, then you can accuse people of 'stealing'. Until then, that's a complete load of bullshit.

Hell, even after that, it'll still be a complete load of bullshit.

But just keep on hating those "evil" companies for wanting to provide you with programming.

Don't pretend to be naive. Companies like TWC and Comcast want nothing more than to make bucket loads of money. Their concern for the consumer goes only so far as to give an adequate appearance of benevolence.

Besides, if fast forwarding through the ads is considered stealing, then why isn't leaving the room during ads the same thing? It's the same effect, the ads aren't getting viewed by the people enjoying the content. The only difference is the cable companies have no control over the latter, though I assure you if they could find a way to control it, they would.

RE: commercials
By superstition on 6/25/2012 8:50:06 AM , Rating: 2
"Besides, if fast forwarding through the ads is considered stealing, then why isn't leaving the room during ads the same thing?"

You may be surprised to learn that leaving the room is considered theft by some of the business/lawyer types involved. I remember reading a quote from one who said people shouldn't leave the room, that they're contractually obligated to watch ads.

Also, when someone said that backing up the software they buy is legal, I found a quote from an RIAA/MPAA IP flack who said "that's a nice way of saying 'steals one copy'". They want people to be forced to re-purchase if the media is damage, which is why game systems, which kids play, don't have optical media in protective casing (as well as movies/TV, although this is less egregious than games young kids handle).

ooh, this gives me an idea!
By Avatar28 on 6/22/2012 10:57:08 AM , Rating: 3
I'm going to patent a DVR that uses some sort of sensor to determine if people are in the room watching during commercials. If someone gets up and leaves during the commercials it pauses until they get back and thereby forces them to watch commercials (they are unskippable, of course).

RE: ooh, this gives me an idea!
By ShaolinSoccer on 6/22/2012 11:56:05 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget to add a sensor to it that makes sure human eyeballs are looking at the screen and not covering their ears lol

RE: ooh, this gives me an idea!
By Avatar28 on 6/22/2012 12:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
Great idea! Maybe we should seriously patent this to lock it up and keep anyone from implementing it.

RE: ooh, this gives me an idea!
By Dorkyman on 6/22/2012 2:23:16 PM , Rating: 2
I'd suggest using the kind of sensors they put in car seats to make sure your seatbelt is fastened. If you're not sitting on your couch watching the commercial, the DVR pauses and waits until you come back. It's only fair.

RE: ooh, this gives me an idea!
By Dorkyman on 6/22/2012 2:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
Oops. Didn't read the OP. Damn, and I thought I was the only one to think of this.

RE: ooh, this gives me an idea!
By Trisped on 6/22/2012 4:42:03 PM , Rating: 2
Go ahead, I will just take a picture, of me watching TV, blow it up real big for the sensor, and put it in front of your sensor. I will also put the box in another room because I do not want the picture obscuring my TV and your POC box sounds like an airplane.

RE: ooh, this gives me an idea!
By MadAd on 6/25/2012 8:21:13 AM , Rating: 2
better still, pass a law where people have to be verichipped with a small rfid tag to watch prime content, to make sure they endure their share of advertising per day

im sure the media companies can manage to get that through, in the name of protecting the rights holders of course

By SongEmu on 6/22/2012 8:11:22 AM , Rating: 5
Better break out my VCR!

RE: Retro
By retrospooty on 6/22/2012 8:14:37 AM , Rating: 2
You're tell me! ;)

RE: Retro
By ShaolinSoccer on 6/22/2012 11:51:42 AM , Rating: 4
Or make your own HTPC. Can make one fairly cheap with video input to record your shows.

By rs1 on 6/22/2012 6:52:32 AM , Rating: 4
I thought patentable things generally had to be innovative? This idea seems more regressive than anything else.

The whole point of a DVR is to record video for timeshifting, instant pause/replay, and yes, fast forward and rewind. TWC is basically patenting a DVR that does none of the things a DVR is supposed to do. Why anyone would bother to patent a broken DVR is beyond me.

Although perhaps I will patent the iBrick. It's a smartphone that doesn't make phone calls, connect to wifi, or display anything at all on its screen. But it's shaped just like an iPhone, so clearly the iPhone is a derivative work that infringes on my clever and patentable idea. Apple owes me royalties.

RE: Hm...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/22/2012 10:01:59 AM , Rating: 2
lol Exactly!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go patent and lawn mower that actually makes your grass GROW.

RE: Hm...
By DanNeely on 6/22/2012 11:24:06 AM , Rating: 2
They also needs to be new ideas. About 15 years ago I read an SF story which (IIRC as backstory) had a character who built his initial fortune by selling commercial blocking boxes of some sort. Sounds like prior art to me.

RE: Hm...
By danjw1 on 6/22/2012 11:53:31 AM , Rating: 2
The patent system is broken, or more particularly the patent office is broken. Despite SCOTUS spanking them and patent loving judges, they continue to issue/uphold ridiculous patents. Anyway, this isn't anything new to anyone that follows what is going on with patents.

Time Warner sucks
By tayb on 6/22/2012 8:29:14 AM , Rating: 2
I have time Warner Internet. The service is great but the company sucks. I don't pay for television because the Internet exists. Time Warner secretly doubles my bill every 6 months unless I call them and tell them I'm canceling if they don't change it back, which they immediately do. They also LOVE to call me ALL. THE. TIME. to make sure I'm aware of their television and home phone specials. I always ask if they are free, they always say no.

Moves like this aren't making me want to jump back into cable television. They're just going to piss off more customers. The subscriber loss will negate ad revenue. Idiots.

RE: Time Warner sucks
By morphologia on 6/22/2012 9:39:50 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is, the people who will actually take action is minimal compared to the number of mouth-breathing man-cattle who will simply accept these tyrannical tactics like they do everything else that's wrong with the blaming someone at random, adjusting their position on the couch a bit, and blithely changing channels.

By hellokeith on 6/22/2012 4:45:56 AM , Rating: 3
When will on-demand, à la carte, no advertising programming be available?

Attention Content providers: Sell direct to your customers. Look at iTunes, Redbox, etc. People will line up and shell out money if you give them what they want and not force on them stuff they don't.

No Way
By mgilbert on 6/22/2012 9:48:27 AM , Rating: 3
I record everything I watch with a TV card in my computer. Anything else I miss, I watch online, if there are no commercials in the content. And I torrent lots of older stuff. When I can't watch without commercials, I'll quit watching TV, period. It isn't worth it.

hello torrents
By carigis on 6/22/2012 10:39:01 AM , Rating: 3
seems to me.. people who actually pay for cable, and the use of the dvr are just going to take the path of least resistance and watch the shows where they can skip all the commercials.. like for instance torrents and websites or competitors who allow it... and then the only use of TW cable is likely going to be for thier high speed internet access, which the phone company can provide as well.

and if they really want network tv with all its commercials they can get it free.. with an antenna.

It wouldn't be so bad if commercials were not a full 1/3 of the show.

20 min of your life wasted per show on commercials that are for things you are likely never going to buy and are usually insulting to the viewers intelligence as they try to appeal to the lowest common denominator in every commercial..

plus its not like they can patent people from going to the bathroom or hitting mute and surfing the web while the precious commercials are running. Whatever happened to the whole idea of cable being it had no commercials while broadcast did?

they also should allow you to choose the channels in your package so Im not paying for 30 latin channels, 10 cooking channels, BET, a bunch of shopping channels, a million sports channels and so forth.. then maybe there would be more money to go around. let the channels that can get subscribers on thier own sink.

thats just my opinion.

Smooth move ex-lax!
By dbeers on 6/22/2012 10:47:51 AM , Rating: 3
Hmmm...customers are leaving cable in droves, and you're now patenting a way to piss off the few loyal people you have left in favor of advertisers instead of the people that are paying the bills every month?? That sounds like a great business model. I could see if you gave away DVR service with this feature for free, and offer skipping as a premium, but they charge you extra for DVRs and every cable box in the house every month. Wake up and smell inevitability - TV's days are numbered and brilliant moves like this will just hasten it's demise.

get lost
By SPOOOK on 6/22/2012 6:35:04 AM , Rating: 2
are you kidding me the idea of dvr is you can fast foward
and rewind without that the dvr is useless go ahead i got ditectv f-u time warner you will lose a lot of people i am sick of phony ads and you have no right to do this people are sick and fed up with ads you gready basterds

Time for TWC to DIAF
By inperfectdarkness on 6/22/2012 7:20:00 AM , Rating: 2
Repressive, money-grubbing, miserly, draconian, uncompetitive policies...and still the public puts up with their malarky.

Can we PLEASE get a supreme-court ruling that content providers cannot form conglomerates with media companies? It's really no different than if your ISP owned eBay...and made your life a living hell trying to use Amazon.

It's this same BS that came up 30 years ago when media companies started bitching about the VCR destroying their entire business model. Adapt or die.

By johnbuk on 6/22/2012 10:40:57 AM , Rating: 2
And dust off my old ReplayTV and use it for anything I can't download. Only reason I'm not still using it is because it's standard definition only and ReplayTV was out of the DVR business prior to HD becoming mainstream.
Really wish ReplayTV hadn't given up their legal fight so easily. Their DVRs with the ability to automatically skip commercials without having to fastforward and the ability to save shows from the DVR to your PC were far and away more consumer friendly than any current alternatives.

By Arsynic on 6/22/2012 10:51:40 AM , Rating: 2
Why can't advertisers just innovate and find new ways to reach consumers. What prevents viewers from getting up to go to the crapper or fridge during a commercial? Is there any proof that the commercials are effective? Half the time I can remember a commercial but don't know what product was being advertised.

Advertisers and networks need to innovate different ways of reaching an audience. What about product placements? These are more effective to me than the traditional commercials. For example, I remember craving Spicy Kung Pao chicken after an episode of Seinfeld.

They could even do targeted ads based on the viewers likes and preferences.

This is just a stupid solution to advertisers and carriers failing to innovate.

Next patent?
By Spookster on 6/22/2012 11:14:18 AM , Rating: 2
So is there next patent going to be a device that secures you to the couch so you can't leave the room when commercials come on?

TWC and Copy-Once - no MYTHTV
By JoeOnRoute66 on 6/22/2012 11:21:39 AM , Rating: 2
My current beef with Time Warner Cable is their copy-once CCI setting, preventing me from using a MythTV system I was in the process of building. I understand wanting to prevent copying programs for others, but for my personal benefit, filtering out commercials my wife and I deem inappropriate for our children to watch. The paranoia of content owners that criminalize their customers does not drive loyalty.

By chromal on 6/22/2012 11:27:11 AM , Rating: 2
There's pretty extensive prior art on this. You could do this sort of thing 15 years ago with a DVR, hell, twenty-five years ago with a VCR.

What can networks sue for?
By TechIsGr8 on 6/22/2012 12:05:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'm curious, when a new DVR is announced that has commercial skipping functionality, the lawsuits get filed immediately. What is it, exactly, they they can sue for, if a market driven solution is available to consumers? How is it that advertising lobbies can legally force us to watch commercials? Is this America or the Soviet Union? Oh yeah, it's the Corporate Union.

Can't fast forward...
By mydogfarted on 6/22/2012 12:15:52 PM , Rating: 2
but I bet you'll be able to rewind and re-watch that commercial all you want!

By dark matter on 6/22/2012 6:20:30 AM , Rating: 1
Since when can patent a technology PREVENTING people from doing something they have always been able to do? (VCR, Tape, CD, DVD)

Fuck it, I'm just going to patent the idea that if they visit my website then they HAVE to buy something. I'll be rolling in the money.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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