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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RE: commercials
By FITCamaro on 6/22/2012 9:55:40 AM , Rating: -1
Ads pay the bills for shows people. No ads. No shows.

But just keep on hating those "evil" companies for wanting to provide you with programming. And instead of just not watching a show if you don't want the commercials, you instead complain that they somehow give you the right to steal.

Or maybe Generation WAAAAH! now thinks they have a right to free and ad-free television shows.

I get annoyed by ads sometimes too. But I don't believe I have any right to steal things to avoid it. Doesn't mean I've never done it. But I never thought I was justified in it. I realized what I was doing and accepted any consequences of it. But things like Netflix have largely erased any need for me to pirate.

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).

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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