Dumb Product Of The Year Award
Philips Electronics today announced it has patented a technology that would force TV viewers who own digital video recorders, Tivo devices, to watch commercials. Two minutes later they were handed the award for most assinine invention of the year. The two-minute delay in handing over the award was because the judge simply could not believe a company would invest money developing something that no consumer would want to buy.
According to this AP story, the technology could be built into TVs and set top boxes and would freeze the channel the commercial is on, thus forcing people to view it. I can think of a gajillion, seriously a gajillion, reasons why this ranks as one of the silliest ideas ever, but here are just a few.
1. People avoided commercials well before DVRs came along. It was called, channel surfing, going to the bathroom or heading to the fridge for a snack.
2. Would any consumer buy a product that was shown on a commercial they were forced to watch? I doubt it. Particularly when that commercial was presented through technology that bypassed the usefullness of my Tivo. Tivo being the greatest consumer electronic device ever created.
3. Finally, what person in their right mind would buy a TV or get a cable box that would force them to watch commercials? This leads to the next question. What TV maker or retailer would bother to make a TV that would alienate 99.5 percent of all consumers. The remaining .5 percent are those who work in the advertising business.
To me this announcement proves that Philips is living in the past. While I understand commercials and advertising are necessary evils, the days of three networks with limited options are long gone. You can no longer force a person to do anything when it comes to their TV viewing habits.
I suppose Philips will just have to toss this into its ever growing pile of dumb ideas.