Google and iTV?

Will Google find its way onto an iTV near you? | Googling Google | ZDNet.com

It’s just wild speculation. But if you recall, we were talking a few weeks back about how Google ideally wants a way to replace the commercials on your TV set with custom picked ones (otherwise they’re stuck using a microphone and your PC as their co-advertising tap, which you can always just turn off). Customized ads will of course get more money from advertisers because they theoretically work better, generate more sales, etc.. And Google wants to tap that market like they did with web ads for very big bucks.

Well, this iTV thing, or whatever it’ll be called next year, could make that happen, for Apple, and even Google, if they play their cards right. The set top box doesn’t need a lot of horsepower, just the ability to monitor and switch sources from the given broadcast to some computer-spewed commercials and back, which it seems it can do programmatically, even wirelessly.

Still, it’s a dangerous thing for them to try. If software running on your computer can detect when a commercial is starting well enough to replace that commercial with a more lucrative one (hint: the 2x volume is a sure giveaway), some other (hacked, perhaps) software can just as easily replace it with the weather, or a blank screen, or a multi-channel preview during those 2-3 minutes.

Now that’s what I’d like to see. Sure, it’ll kill commercial broadcast TV, no revenues and such. But it’s not as if TV offers us any sort of public service value anymore. Stuff like "The Path to 911" is a perfect example. They’re lost in their own fantasy of being anything more than a free time killer for most people. Let it die.

Of course, using HDMI input and with the DMCA strictly in place, maybe we’ll be legally required to watch commercials from now on. Maybe our TV sets won’t even turn off anymore? Apple, for all its fanatical followers, doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to DRM and transparency. Oh well.

But at the very least, can they please fix the "volume problem?"

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