New TV tech will watch you

About The Author

CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

A new Microsoft patent has been designed to watch the watchers — and charge a licence fee based on how many people it sees.

The Hal 9000. Or, as Microsoft calls it, "Kinect".
(Credit: Warner Bros)

Over at our sister site GameSpot, Dan Chiappini has a very detailed story looking at a newly found patent application from Microsoft.

The "Content Distribution Regulation by Viewing User" application basically details a technology that will use cameras in the home or on mobile devices to calculate how many people are viewing a particular product — be it music, gaming or film related — and then compare that to how many people are allowed for by the licence agreement, shutting down the media if it is exceeded.

As Dan put it:

The technology works by using cameras (no explicit mention is made of the Kinect or a Kinect successor) found in home and mobile devices to take still or moving images of the consumers and their environment. The system then compares the number of viewers visible in the frame with the licensing terms attached to the product; prompting watchers to purchase additional licences (as required) for each person watching.

Check out the full story over at GameSpot for some slightly chilling reading about how even your own lounge room won't be private for much longer.

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The Stav posted a comment   

Like a few comments on your sister site.I was going to replace my PS3 with next years Xbox, but if my personal space in invaded, then no more Microsoft anything.It's bad enough they are censoring Skydrive, just when I was beginning to have faith in cloud security and privacy.


joytech22 posted a comment   

Not really fair. Some of us like to watch movies in large groups.
I know my friends and I watch it with like 15+ people.

I purchased my movies so I wouldn't have to deal with this kind of crap.
SOOO... Now this move will alienate legitimate buyers like me (But not me) into torrenting because of the extra costs associated with this just ruins the deal.

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