i was just reading an article on arstechnica entitled Most DVR owners watch live TV and it was talking about how nielson has started to track DVR data and according to the reasearch, DVR owners watch more live tv (hence the title). well, from this article, there was a link to a story on wash post entitled pausing the panic. it talks about how Tivo is working with advertisers.
so what, right... ok, stay with me for a second. according to the second article, advertisers will start to do things like add easter-eggs in commercials this fall. what's an easter-egg you may wonder... well, it's like a little toy surprise in a box of candy. sort of, but for geeks. it's usually some little program hidden inside of another program. the hidden program is activated by a series of key presses from inside the host program. if you don't get it, just google it there are plenty of pages dedicated to the subject.
anyway, these easter-eggs will be put in place specifically for dvr owners. the hope is that instead of trying to fast forward commercials, they will get the easter-egg, IF they go through the commercials frame by frame (this makes sence if the viewer has a commercial DVR because THEY don't have commercial skip anymore). another tactic advertisers will use is a logo that remains on screen for the entirety of the commercial. the idea being that even if DVR owners do fast forward they will still see the logo at some point and remember it.
i know i must be getting boring by now, but if you know me, you know i have a point to get to, so stick with me a little while longer.
the first question that popped into my head was "how is nielson getting this data?" well, i haven't followed the progress of tivo for quite some time, but last i read, tivo tracks user viewing habits. with that in mind, how much of a stretch is it that cable and satelite providers who have added DVR capabilities to there settop boxes would do the same thing? i'm gonna go out on a limb here and say not much (again, google it).
now i hate commercials, as do most people i know. so why would i pay a company to track my viewing habits, and force feed me something i hate? me, i don't. i built my own DVR entirely with open source software. this means i am not bound by my service provider, and yeah, they may know some of what i watch, because i have a digital cable box... maybe. but my dvr has 3 tuners 2 for analog recording (like connecting the cable directly to a "cable ready" tv) and 1 for digital (that's the cable box). and while they may be able to track the digital viewing, i do not believe the analog can be because of the way it is transmitted (please tell me if you know differently).
OK OK, so what the hell does all this mean?
here goes... if the company you get your DVR from can track your viewing habits (especially your pay per view porn) than it is also "possible" to decide not only what you can record, but how long you are aloud to keep it. not only that, but they can decide what you can fast forward through and what you MUST watch.
and now the grand finally...
so what you say, you will have to sit through the commercials and easter-eggs too. and to that i say NOPE. while most of the world will continue to have content shoved down their collective throats, i will just need to add a plugin to my DVR that will sence the logos and easter-eggs and still by pass them. that is unless the media providers get their wish and close the analog hole. it has been tried more than once, and so far has not happened. if you want freedom to watch what you want, when you want, don't by their crap. and more importantly fight FOR the analog hole.
oh, and did i mention i can watch what i record via the web, and i expect to have lighting control and home security working soon as well. stay tuned.
i now return you to your regularly scheduled commercial viewing....