Earlier this month, news came out that Verizon applied for a patent to create a DVR sometime in the future that has cameras and microphones that can see and hear what you're doing and saying, while watching TV. Sounds, actions, food choices, and your ethnicity -- all tracked by the DVR -- will influence what you see in your commercial breaks.
According to the patent application, here are the ways you can be targeted:
- If your DVR hears you getting frisky on the couch, it will input terms like "romance, love, cuddle" into the system and play "a commercial for a romantic getaway vacation, a commercial for a contraceptive, a commercial for flowers, a commercial including a trailer for an upcoming romantic comedy movie."
- "Additionally or alternatively, if detection facility 104 detects that a couple is arguing/fighting with each other, advertising facility 106 may select an advertisement associated marriage/relationship counseling."
- Your DVR will be able to know what kind of beer you're drinking: "If detection facility 104 detects a particular object (e.g., a Budweiser can) within a user's surroundings, advertising facility 106 may select an advertisement associated with the detected object (e.g., a Budweiser commercial)."
- If you seem stressed, to be considerate the DVR will show you an ad for "aromatherapy candles."
The DVR will also build a profile about you, picking up on your "preferences, traits, tendencies."
While some in the media have gone crazy at the idea of a Big Brother-like device entering your living room, Verizon thinks that this is an overreaction. According to a statement sent to BI, "Articles focusing on what is a patent application were highly speculative. Verizon has a well-established track record of respecting its customers’ privacy and protecting their personal information. As a company that prizes innovation, Verizon takes pride in its innovators whose work is represented in our patents and patent applications, but such futuristic patent filings by innovators are routine."
A source familiar with the Verizon patent process told Business Insider that given the other contenders, it's very remote that Verizon would win the bid.
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