Tech News and Miscellany

figmentPez

Staff member
Utterly useless since it can be defeated by a sheer black cloth, but you gotta admire how they're willing to hang their massive greed out where everyone can see it.
Would that stop IR LIDAR and/or thermal cameras? Because I'm assuming that they've got something akin to what the latest iPhones have in that regards, since they'll want to be able to monitor people in a dark room.

Still, the better answer is to not buy that piece of shit in the first place. Because I wouldn't want to subject even one person it it's invasive monitoring. I'm assuming that whatever camera tech they're using is not just going to monitor the number of people in the room, but also viewer engagement, heart rate, estimated emotional response, etc.
 
Would that stop IR LIDAR and/or thermal cameras?
Thermal cameras? No. IR LIDAR? Maybe, depending on material. Either option would inflate the unit cost, of course, as well as the chance for false positives. Dog on the couch, coat tree, ficus...teaching it what is and is not a person is going to be difficult and expensive.

--Patrick
 
Thermal cameras? No. IR LIDAR? Maybe, depending on material. Either option would inflate the unit cost, of course, as well as the chance for false positives. Dog on the couch, coat tree, ficus...teaching it what is and is not a person is going to be difficult and expensive.

--Patrick
And practically no matter what, a thin sheet of lead will defeat it. Then you add a small heat signature to make it seem like there's always just one person in the room, and... Ugh. Why would anyone ever even consider this?
I already hate Siri style always-listening tech, I definitely don't need always-watching next.
 
Why would anyone ever even consider this?
I'm sure it's very appealing to the people who supply the content, as opposed to those who consume it.

I want to see if the opposite is true, if someone has, say, a big Where's Waldo? mural painted on their wall, will VENUE panic and attempt to bill them for a couple thousand or so perceived spectators?
I already hate Siri style always-listening tech
Of the big three digital assistants, Siri has actually evolved now to where it is the least invasive, and it only sends what it hears after it detects the "Hey, Siri" keyphrase.

--Patrick
 
I want to see if the opposite is true, if someone has, say, a big Where's Waldo? mural painted on their wall, will VENUE panic and attempt to bill them for a couple thousand or so perceived spectators?
Apparently it works by you buying X amount of tickets & if it detects more than X amount of people in the room it pauses the video until you kick the extra people out. It also pauses if it detects a recording device so better hope no-one needs to check their phone / look something up on their iPad.
 
Still seems like something that could be easily defeated by a single ceramic bathroom tile placed in the right position.
It is a product of the dumb, by the dumb, and for the dumb, and the sooner it perishes from this earth, the better.
The only way this catches on is for EVERY other alternative to dry up, and I just don't see that happening unless all content holders band together and make everything exclusive. And even that probably won't be enough.

--Patrick
 

figmentPez

Staff member
Still seems like something that could be easily defeated by a single ceramic bathroom tile placed in the right position.
More likely it's something that could be easily convinced to stop working by any small obstruction of the camera. This thing is likely to pause playback until it's demands are met at the drop of a hat, possibly literal hats.

Ceramic tile? Camera obscured, please reposition camera. Lead sheet? Camera obscured, please reposition camera. Direct sunlight impeding the sensors? Camera obscured, please reposition camera. Diorama of a living room? Camera obscured, please reposition camera. Camera aimed at a completely different room? <Error code that means "glow from the TV not detected>, please reposition camera.

Like DIVX and DVD-D, this "format" isn't at all focused on consumer satisfaction, so I would expect it to be extremely obnoxious in it's refusal to work under anything but the most pristine conditions.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
More likely it's something that could be easily convinced to stop working by any small obstruction of the camera. This thing is likely to pause playback until it's demands are met at the drop of a hat, possibly literal hats.

Ceramic tile? Camera obscured, please reposition camera. Lead sheet? Camera obscured, please reposition camera. Direct sunlight impeding the sensors? Camera obscured, please reposition camera. Diorama of a living room? Camera obscured, please reposition camera. Camera aimed at a completely different room? <Error code that means "glow from the TV not detected>, please reposition camera.

Like DIVX and DVD-D, this "format" isn't at all focused on consumer satisfaction, so I would expect it to be extremely obnoxious in it's refusal to work under anything but the most pristine conditions.
Then I'll change my assertion...

This seems like something that could be easily defeated by piracy and a plex server.

Media companies just don't seem to understand that the barrier to entry to piracy is the lowest it's ever been, and keeps getting lower, and the only way anyone is going to pay them is if they make their customers appreciate them instead of despise them.

But then they still think they can have 15 separate exclusive subscription-based content providers, soooo...
 
This seems like something that could be easily defeated by piracy and a plex server.
Kinda what I was getting at, yeah.
I know I've said it before... studios won't be happy until the only way you can enjoy content is to enter a soundproof booth where they pat you down before and after, and then neuralyze you when you leave.

--Patrick
 
I have a feeling it’s not really meant for broad consumer release, but more for early screenings or awards screenings. I can’t imagine they would think this could do well in the consumer market where the price of the device is everything. They would have to eat the price of the hardware to make it work.
 

figmentPez

Staff member
Anyone else remember the DIVX format? The DVD player that phoned home, literally?
Like DIVX and DVD-D, this "format" isn't at all focused on consumer satisfaction, so I would expect it to be extremely obnoxious in it's refusal to work under anything but the most pristine conditions.
Nope, no idea what you're talking about.

On a similar note, I remember back when my family had DirectTV, relatively early in the days of small dish satellite television. The set-top boxes had to communicate via telephone line to negotiate pay-per-view, but our boxes didn't understand ten digit dialing, IIRC. Ours expected phone numbers to be 7 digits, and thus we couldn't get ours to dial up and confirm charges. There was no solution, just "sorry, guess you can't order movies".

I have a feeling it’s not really meant for broad consumer release, but more for early screenings or awards screenings. I can’t imagine they would think this could do well in the consumer market where the price of the device is everything. They would have to eat the price of the hardware to make it work.
I suspect that they're planning for the future, with the expectation that all the hardware they're using is going to become standard on even the cheapest of cellphones within a decade. The cellphone market is a big reason why all the existing streaming sticks are a small and powerful as they are.

Also, I think that media companies would gladly subsidize the cost of one of these machines if it gave them all the feedback they're hoping for. If one of these things has sensors and processing on par with a mid-range smartphone, they'll be able to track the heart rate of everyone watching (and more advanced emotional state detection is being worked on). If they've got sensors on par with a Kinect, they'll be able to track head movement. I'm pretty sure that most media companies would jump at the chance to pay to put a device like that watching their audience and tracking how they respond to every program they watch.

Similar to subscription services cracking down on password sharing, I don't think this is primarily about getting money. Does Netflix really care if the half-dozen people sharing a password really live in the same house? I sincerely doubt it. They care that a dozen people sharing four profiles are ruining their data collection. Information is the currency they're after, and it's worth as much as any subscription or ticket fees they'll get. I can only hope that their greed to have it all will make the system so restrictive that people won't put up with it, because I'm more than a little scared of the future we'll face if they go all in on asking people to sell their privacy for "cheap" first-run movie tickets.

How cheap would the system have to be before people ignored the privacy concerns? How well do you think the device would sell if it cost $100 for the 4K model and let people rent first-run movies for $5 a head? What if it were $4 a ticket? $3? How cheap do you think they could get the price down if they had some pre-roll ads they got to monitor your emotional response to? How many kick-backs do you think they could get in 5 to 10 years when one of these things can do eye-tracking to see if people notice the product placement? Do you think they could subsidize an entire subscription service by selling the biofeedback that tells marketers when bi-polar customers are hitting a manic phase and will be more likely to make impulse buys?

If the hardware is just being used for DRM, then yeah, I can see it being too expensive and too finicky to squeeze a few extra bucks out of people. I'd be shocked if all that monitoring capability were only going to be used for DRM, though.
 
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