Always keep in mind it is called programming for precisely that reason!
Intel is hoping to launch a new set-top product that would enable consumers to subscribe to a-la-carte TV packages as well as on-demand services, replacing the “bundles” that have become the norm for cable and satellite subscribers. If this sounds too good to be true, wait until you hear the catch…If something sounds to good to be true, it always is!
To convince broadcasters to deal directly with Intel, the company intends to allow networks and marketers to collect real-time demographic and viewing data to target specific audiences with both content and advertising. This will be achieved through a new set-top box which includes sensors and cameras which would allow it to identify who is watching TV. If you’re thinking “Big Brother” from George Orwell’s famous dystopia 1984, you’re not so far off.
Perhaps as an acknowledgement of this comparison, Intel states that the box won’t be able to identify unique/individual users, only general characteristics such as age (adult versus child) and gender. In addition to being a potential boon to advertisers, Intel’s system would simultaneously modernize Neilsen’s antiquated TV rating system (which relies on extrapolated data from a panel of only 50,000 US households).
(If general characteristics can be identified then so can specific unique identities. To say otherwise is baloney)
What might at first be thought of as creepy actually isn’t very far from our present-day reality. Our web surfing habits are already being collected by vast array of agencies, retailers, ISPs and search engines, to the point where Microsoft recently announced they would turn on the Do Not Track feature by default on their next version of Internet Explorer in a move to better protect their customers’ privacy.
There are ways to restrict on line tracking- This article is written as if this tv spying must just be accepted all the while acknowledging that people are legitimately concerned about their privacy.
Moreover, some HDTVs already include sensors that know when viewers are around (and shut off when no one’s watching) and certain 3D-capable HDTVs include multi-viewer eye-tracking to optimize the 3D image – this wouldn’t be the first time viewers were themselves being watched. Samsung’s latest generation of HDTVs even includes advanced facial recognition allowing the TVs to create unique profiles for each registered viewer and to customize content for whoever’s watching the TV. It also includes microphones and voice control capabilities.
With more and more viewers cutting the cable cord (1 million in 2011 with many switching to free over-the-air digital), Intel’s offering could be the way to lure them back via an à-la-carte service.
Ditch the cable. Toss or limit tv. It is garbage for the mind and the brain. It is programming.
Start being a human. Stop being a consumer.