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  (Source: venturebeat.files.wordpress.com)
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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Hm...
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.


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