The TV that counts heads

Comment on this story
IOL pic aug1 microsoft corporate signage AFP The world's largest software company said there were 'significant inaccuracies' in the media reports last week.

London - An unintentionally hilarious patent was filed by Microsoft last week featuring televisions that are able to assess how many people are in the room watching.

“Viewers may be uniquely identified and the count of the viewers determined,” runs the blurb, “with the licensee then charged for each viewer accessing the content.”

This suggests so many faintly comical scenes that it's hard to know where to start - from someone wandering in the room while you're watching a film and accidentally costing you a fiver, to a wonderful error screen constructed in Photoshop by some waggish type on a messageboard this week, that reads: “SORRY DAVE - TOO MANY FRIENDS.”

Microsoft was quick to respond that not all patents applied for or received are incorporated into finished products - but it's a grim reminder of the onerous world of digital rights management.

The music business has pretty much abandoned it, having established that, as an anti-piracy measure, it tends to give people more incentive to commit acts of piracy. But this patent - even if it's merely an act of corporate land-grabbing - is an indication that the DRM question is not one that's going away in a hurry. - The Independent

Hungry for more scitech news? Sign up for our daily newsletter

sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines