"This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it."
Going a bit off-topic today and veering into the world of PVR (personal video recorders) and consumer rights. I'm posting about this due to two different developments that may effect the PVR and perhaps DVD.
The first is an announcement by Tivo that it would make changes in its software to insert banner ads when you skip past the ads on shows. The idea is that you would be compelled to hit the select button (the Tivo equivalent of the mouse click) and it would show a specific ad or something directly targetted to you. An overview of this can be found in this LA Times article.
I personally find this to be a bad thing, but I'm not ready to condemn it as the end of the Tivo paradise like some have, until I've seen it in action. However, if this is the only way Tivo, who is the best bar-none at the PVR game, can stay afloat (they have yet to make a profit) then I will grudgingly accept it and hope it isn't too annoying. I've seen the ads that populate the screens of my folks' cable box menus; Tivo will have to work pretty hard to get as bad as that. PVRBlog.com, where I got the sad Tivo graphic, has some good commentary on this as well.
The other thing that's going on is a bill in the Senate right now that could have some really disasterous effects for consumers. Wired has an article on it; go read it. How about these apples:
"The bill would also permit people to use technology to skip objectionable content -- like a gory or sexually explicit scene -- in films, a right that consumers already have. However, under the proposed language, viewers would not be allowed to use software or devices to skip commericals or promotional announcements 'that would otherwise be performed or displayed before, during or after the performance of the motion picture,' like the previews on a DVD. The proposed law also includes language from the Pirate Act (S2237), which would permit the Justice Department to file civil lawsuits against alleged copyright infringers."
I would like to think that most people would find this bill to be utter nonsense, but enough politicians are being paid by the media companies that it is being seriously looked at. OK, Mr. President: you guys hate Hollywood so much? Veto this piece of legislative garbage and put your money where your mouths are. This is an area where I think the Democrats, which I am normally proud to include myself as one, are on the wrong side. Do they really need the payola from these guys that much? Isn't it possible that they could score some points with the public by standing up to these companies? I'm probably expecting too much...