Strike 2 for Tivo

As if blocking the recording of certain programs was not bad enough… commercial blocking is next. No word on when this will come through on cable company DVR boxes but from this tip at Engadget it might soon effect us all. Certainly seems like the perfect time to build your own DVR. You can even still purchase an HDTV card which ignores the broadcast flag — at least for now.

Once the bane of advertising for its ad skipping feature, TiVo, will redeem itself in the eyes of marketers with a new feature set to launch next March. Tivo will introduce a feature whereby advertisers can purchase a billboard which will appear on screen when a user fast forwards through an ad. The billboards will allow advertisers to make offers and link to other ads, most likely residing in TiVo’s Showcase – home for long form commercials. If a viewer opts in to the ad, their personal info will be sent to the advertiser enabling further direct marketing.

While advertisers will rejoice over the introduction of this feature, a consumer revolt is likely to occur. Upon introduction, TiVo gave consumers control and now it is taking it back effectively having tricked consumers into buying a product that will now serve to more finitely market to them. It will only be a matter of time before hacked products arrive eliminating all TiVo functionality aside from its hard drive based recording abilities. While we are sure patents are in place, an enterprising manufacturer could make a killing offering a simple TiVo-less “ad free” hard disk recorder. But, at least for now, the control pendulum has swung back to the advertiser. [Adrants]

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