You know what it’s like, you’re deep into that crucial turning point of your favourite television program when – Ad Break!
Commercials are the bane of every viewer’s existence, a necessary part of the television experience, but an intrusive and frustrating one nonetheless.
Now imagine if every time the latest Colgate commercial or Status Quo’s embarassing Coles ad came on the tube, you could filter it out with the music of your choice without lifting a finger?
Apple Insider reports that an innovative new patent from computing giant Apple, will enable them to do just that.
Apple are developing technology that will allow users to enable their own audio and video content in place of annoying commercials, switching seamlessly to your favourite playlist or video once ads being playing on TV or radio.
Unlike other programs and features that allow network viewers to bypass ads to stay with the flow of a broadcast, the touted Apple device will instead use the viewer’s attached iTunes library to kick an and play music, video or a podcast. So instead of having to put up with aggravating jingles for a few minutes, you could squeeze in your favourite tune instead.
Apple’s patent, which was approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month, describes that: “When an electronic device determines that an upcoming media item in a media broadcast is not of interest to a user, the electronic device can switch playback from the media stream to a media item from the electronic device local library.”
How does it calculate what is “not of interest to a user?” With technology similar to that used in streaming services like Spotify and preference profiling, like that in internet radio station Pandora.
The Apple device will allow a user to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ artists, songs and genres, and this gets turned into metadata so that the program knows when to filter out ‘disliked’ content with ‘liked’ content. Eg. Ads – bad, music – good.
Sure, it may sound like an unsubtle attack on advertisers or at worst encouraging the short attention spans of the iPod generation, but its obvious to see the appeal in the technology.
American networks are unlikely to embrace Apple’s ad-skipping feature, particularly given – as The Wrap points out – US networks CBS, Fox and NBC have already filed lawsuits against media company Dish, and their Auto Hop technology – which allows TV users to skip over the commercials – as illegal.
Their lawsuit reasons that networks depend on the revenue that advertising generates, not only to ensure their survival but to buy new programming – circle of (advertising) life.
Apple is already at loggerheads with American network executives in negotiating a deal that would bring live television to their Apple TV products, which until now is limited to video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and iTunes rentals.
The company’s ad-skipping patent won’t win them any favours with the television networks, and the Federal Government’s approval of their proposal comes along with clearing Apple to create a digital set-top box (in the vein of TiVo), that would allow the recording or pausing or live television.