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The Internet Businesses Television The Almighty Buck Technology

Ads May Soon Stalk You on TV Like They Do on Your Facebook Feed (bloomberg.com) 203

Targeted ads that seem to follow us everywhere online may soon be doing the same on our TV. From a report: The Federal Communications Commission is poised to approve a new broadcast standard that will let broadcasters do something cable TV companies already do: harvest data about what you watch so advertisers can customize pitches. The prospect alarms privacy advocates, who say there are no rules setting boundaries for how broadcasters handle personal information. The FCC doesn't mention privacy in the 109-page proposed rule that is scheduled for a vote by commissioners Thursday. "If the new standard allows broadcasters to collect data in a way they haven't before, I think consumers should know about that," Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said in an interview. "What privacy protections will apply to that data, and what security protections?" For broadcasters, Next Gen TV represents an advance into the digital world that for decades has been siphoning viewers away to the likes of Facebook, Netflix, Google's YouTube and Amazon's Prime video service.

Ads May Soon Stalk You on TV Like They Do on Your Facebook Feed

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  • by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @01:07PM (#55548527)

    Can we please have Tom Wheeler back?

    • Why did he quit? I get that he was going to be replaced, but he had 1 year left in his term. That's one year longer we wouldn't have had to be fucked over like this....

  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @01:11PM (#55548549)

    ATSC 1.0 works without an Internet connection for two-way communication. Sounds like its replacement will require each TV to be a connected device. This actually takes away a major advantage of over-the-air TV: that it's free and available without Internet.

    If every TV will need Internet, then people might as well just watch Amazon or Netflix online -- over-the-air broadcasters are actually putting themselves out of business.

    Me? I'll be at the Pirate Bay or enjoying theater and concerts in real life if this happens. No way that I'll ever allow a connected device with camera, screen, and mic into my home (aka a Telescreen from 1984).

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      I'll just find something else to do.

      We have a TV capable of being connected to the network/Internet. It's not connected and never will be. As far as I'm concerned the TV is a display device. It shouldn't be connected to anything, if I do connect anything it'll be some other device that I can disconnect and remove from the entertainment center if it proves to be a problem down the road.

    • Don't forget the wonderful security we've seen in internet-connected devices....
    • cable / satellite systems with DVR can add ad's locally and cable can also at them at the headend. SDV cable systems can maybe even have 2-3 copy's of the same channel with different ad's.

    • If every TV will need Internet..

      ..then I won't be watching TV anymore, at all.

      • Kodi and other services will still exist -- just use the TV as an HDMI display and skip the ads :) Exactly what the broadcasters want, right -- more people being pushed towards "ad free" versions of their content.
        • Honestly, if it gets so stupid that they actually force something like this on everyone, then I'm not going to be inclined to do a lot of extra work just to pirate every goddamned thing I might want to see, I'd just chuck the whole thing and read more books (paper books, mind you) or do something else. Or get more much-needed sleep, I guess, or maybe (shocking idea!) actually be more sociable with real, live people, in real, face-to-face settings. I dumped cable about 10 years ago and have used an antenna s
    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      That's not what it is tho.
      Additional features will be available to internet connected devices like smart tvs but internet is not going to be required for basic reception.

      Otherwise it would defeat the purpose of us even having a broadcast television network.

      What they want is accurate viewer numbers but what they are going to find is they are only going to be able to get reports from homes with both internet and a smart tv.

      • ... will consist of two channels - one having re-runs of Jersey Shore, the other with the 11 o'clock news on an hour's repeating loop.
        • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

          So roughly the same as now then? /s

          They aren't going to be able to support a OTA premium channel lineup with 3.0 as the market for that and the market for broadcast tv doesn't really have any overlap.

          If you have a ton of disposable income you pay $150/mo get premium cable and be done with it.

          Everyone else just puts up with whatever they can get with broadcast and if they aren't on the very low end internet.

          As it is it doesn't look like the atsc 3.0 switchover will even happen as when they switched to digi

    • Sounds like its replacement will require each TV to be a connected device.

      Not necessarily for cable subscribers. They need to have decoders -- either from the cable company or a third-party, like TiVo -- which can be used to track what you're watching - or, at least, tuned to. In many cases customers also need a SDV [wikipedia.org] controller, so even if you have a third-party device, the cable company can track your tuning habits.

    • ATSC 1.0 works without an Internet connection for two-way communication.

      You have an interesting, and wrong, definition of "two".

    • by jetkust ( 596906 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @03:22PM (#55549689)
      ATSC 3.0 will be delivered over-the-air, just like 1.0. The difference is the signal is based on "internet protocol" for reasons that make it easy for any device (tablet, phone) to receive the signals. Also, ATSC 3.0 is designed for two-way communication. What is interesting is how they plan on doing this. Turns out there may be plans to have what is called a "Dedicated Return Channel" (DRC), which is a separate frequency that the TV uses to transmit data to the broadcast station. DRC can be read about here: https://www.atsc.org/candidate... [atsc.org] If this turns out to be true, it's essentially a "free" over-the-air quasi internet connection controlled and limited by the broadcast station. This is a pretty significant detail.
      • Good luck getting over-the-air data from tens of thousands of devices back to a TV station 20-30 miles away to work reliably.

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "enjoying theater and concerts in real life if this happens"

      So you're still supporting them.

      You've gone full-baka.

  • Whenever there is nothing on TV (like, say, 99% of the time) my TV is basically a computer display for various things from entertainment to man pages, i.e. whatever the tuner is tuned to, I don't know.

    To make matters worse, my remote is kinda wonky and sometimes changes channels by itself, which is why I keep it pointing to the wall whenever I watch TV (or rather, whenever it changes the channels because I forgot, change it back to what I wanted to see and THEN point it to the wall). So it's quite possible

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      So it's quite possible I "watch" Spongebob and Big Boobs Bazinga back to back.

      Now profile THAT!

      I believe that Rule 34 is still in-effect...

    • Whenever there is nothing on TV (like, say, 99% of the time) my TV is basically a computer display for various things from entertainment to man pages, i.e. whatever the tuner is tuned to, I don't know.

      To make matters worse, my remote is kinda wonky and sometimes changes channels by itself, which is why I keep it pointing to the wall whenever I watch TV (or rather, whenever it changes the channels because I forgot, change it back to what I wanted to see and THEN point it to the wall). So it's quite possible I "watch" Spongebob and Big Boobs Bazinga back to back.

      Now profile THAT!

      So you might be watching SpongeBob with your wife and and ad will pop up asking "Would you like to watch Teenage Enema Nurses again"?

  • And I'm at peace with that. I'll start learning how to play the guitar or something with my limited time on earth.

  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @01:19PM (#55548625)

    https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filin... [fcc.gov]

    Make sure they hear about it -- privacy is important, turning all TVs into IoT devices is stupid...

    • They'll listen to your comments the same way they listened to the comments about net neutrality. And if there's any significant amount, expect another overwhelming deluge of obviously bot-generated comments which will be accepted without question as proof that the majority of people aren't interested in privacy.

  • Targeted ads (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @01:20PM (#55548639)
    I find these 'targeted ads' are either for something I've bought already, or for the exact same thing that I just looked at and didn't buy because I have already decided against it. In either case, I don't see how it is helping anyone.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You don't understand how this stuff works. That's understandable because google, et al have been misleading the public about "personalized" advertising since day one. It is not about showing you stuff that you want to buy. Its about building profiles on everyone so as to figure out what messages they are most susceptible to. Then they show you ads that are tailored to best press your buttons in service of selling whatever crap they've been hired to sell.

      Think of it like showing girls in bikinis in ads

      • And do you really want bikini ads popping up all the time when you have people over for Thanksgiving?

        It's the "Clear my browser history!!!" problem all over again.

      • I think that misses fluffernutter's original point. What you describe is presumably what companies want but frequently doesn't work very well. If I buy a toaster off Amazon I'll wind up getting ads for that same toaster or one of the ones I opted against while I was choosing. Out of any consumer who might buy a toaster having just purchased one I'm probably the least likely to bite and yet that is what I'll see.
  • Additionally, this would allow the broadcasters to charge fees directly to the viewers in order to watch OTA programs. So if you went OTA in order to avoid monthly cable subscription fees, kiss those days goodbye. You too will be charged the monthly $8 ESPN tax.
    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

      Additionally, this would allow the broadcasters to charge fees directly to the viewers in order to watch OTA programs. So if you went OTA in order to avoid monthly cable subscription fees, kiss those days goodbye. You too will be charged the monthly $8 ESPN tax.

      They would need to change the current laws to allow for that (it's currently forbidden for OTA stations to do that with their OTA signals). Of course, that's not a huge hurdle so....

    • Why? 8 bucks easily pay for VPN service in some country where your favorite sports event is being streamed.

    • What would happen is there'd be at least one less TV viewer: me. I suspect I would be far from alone in that, too.
  • Who is going to buy this new hardware? Seems like people dragged their feet just to bother to get HD OTA, let alone something else.
  • It'll be great fun, watching football on Thanksgiving with a bunch of friends, when suddenly, my holiday shopping for my wife causes my personalized ads to show up at halftime. Good times, good times...

  • If you watch Hulu, YouTube or even pay for CBS All Access - you're getting targetted ads in the shows (even if you pay extra with Hulu)
    Netflix and Amazon PRIME don't do this so much (as such - you still get ads in the menus) but it's just a matter of time before they do.
    That's "TV" today - Grandpa!
  • Exactly what data are they collecting that they already aren't, and how are they supposed to get it? I sit the couch and watch tv. As does my family. There is no way of knowing which of us is doing it, if we even really are in the room. We don't interact with it other than channel surfing. All stuff they can already gather.

    I get it, the big picture is somehow they'll know your fridge is out of coke and they'll suddenly morph in sparkling cans of coke on every table in the restaurant that happens to be on tv

    • If it's tied to a pay account ... (1) Address (2) Credit card # (3) How often the TV is turned on. When are the customers home. What are their habits? If there's a camera in the TV... (1) How many people are watching (2) Possibly facial data (identity) (3) Facial expression data (boredom, happiness, etc)
    • We don't interact with it other than channel surfing. All stuff they can already gather.

      How does an OTA broadcaster know what you are watching, or IF you are watching?

  • My whole family stays connected on one platform - Apple iMessage.
    We don't use Facebook, and most of us don't watch TV.

    I really doubt we're alone. There's too much to do and TV is a waste of time.
    Occasionally we'll fire up Netflix, but there's the iPads and PCs for that.

  • There's always "that guy" in every thread about traditional TV, and I guess this time it'll be me. But seriously; how many folks still slave themselves to the device? There are so many better options of consuming even TV based content ( like waiting for it on streaming venues ).

    Haven't had traditional cable in over a decade, and I certainly don't miss it.

    • There's always "that guy" in every thread about traditional TV, and I guess this time it'll be me.

      With the number of "that guys" who show up every time cable TV is mentioned, I'm wondering if this kind of topic still fits the "news for nerds" or "stuff that matters". So many cord-cutters speak up about how they cut the cord and love it that TV can no longer be considered "stuff that matters" to this crowd.

      It would be like trying to discuss buggy whips on the Dodge Ram mailing list.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @02:08PM (#55549059)
    ... the money spent every month on cable subscriptions could buy a lot of DVD and Blu-ray discs.
  • "What privacy protections will apply to that data, and what security protections?"

    None, and none.

  • I don't have Facebook. This is why. It's also why I don't have television.

  • I don't get paid enough for my share to contribute to this industry by having to watch those ads, so no TV.

    Still working on popups and other nuisances on the web - HEY, where is my cut on this?

    • by Leuf ( 918654 )
      Your cut is the content on the website where the ads are running. When you buy groceries do you pay your money and then ask for your cut of what you just paid? I mean if it wasn't for you and people like you showing up to buy food there they would be out of business. They should really pay you for that.
  • I'd like to know how they plan to target ads at me when I don't watch.

    And when I browse, both mobile and on my PC I use ad blockers. So there.

  • "Ads May Soon Stalk You on TV Like They Do on Your Facebook Feed"

    Ad executives may find I'll be stalking them, just like in that movie "The Purge".

  • ... an advertiser target their ads to me, because I either fast forward through the commercials if I've recorded the show on a pvr, or more commonly, I will usually leave the room during a commercial break and go do something else productive for a few minutes before coming back. Because our pvr allows me to back up and replay "live tv", I can always back up a few seconds to catch something I missed if I don't get back before the commercial break is over.

    Either way, the content of the commercials is irre

  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Tuesday November 14, 2017 @08:47PM (#55551593)

    ATSC 3.0 offers better reception and uses modern codecs.

    Broadcasters can easily double number of channels and do so with much higher quality with less user effort (installing and positioning antennas) needed for reliable reception.

    ATSC 3.0 does not require Internet connectivity to work. At least it is not required by the specification.

    There is all kinds of crap ATSC 3.0 is capable of doing that would in my view be really bad:

    Worst possible and perhaps most likely scenario is inclusion of "return channel" (DRC) transmitters into television sets turning them into two way bugs.

    Followed by encrypted content and related plays at turning OTA into a subscription service or somehow forcing Internet access to get encryption key for data collection/stalking purposes. I personally think the likelihood of this occurring is slim.

    Suspect features to push ads over a logically separate channel from the mpeg stream won't ever be used for the simple fact it will be too easy to configure receivers to ignore.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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