back to article Apple TV: Rubbish, you don't like documentaries – I'll just flick to porn

Fed up of having to pick up the remote controls to change channel when something boring comes on? Apple has just patented a broadcast device that will know - in advance - whether you're going to be interested in that nature documentary, and will change to something better so you don't have to. In patent 8,249,497 'Seamless …


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  1. DJO Silver badge

    This is stupid and retrograde - I have watched loads of interesting and enjoyable programs I might not have otherwise watched and this would have stopped me seeing such serendipitous programs. This along with a million channels of pure crap seems like another way to further dumb down the viewing public.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      However a system which notices a show you like is on another channel and tells you about it WOULD be handy. I expect such a system in real life would not just change channels with no warning.

      1. PaulW

        Kinda like...

        Tivo Suggestions that automatically records programs it thinks you would like?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      How on earth are they going to implement the statement in a patent, then defend the statement?

      Or is this a patent for MIND CONTROL.

    3. Ammaross Danan

      What about...

      A big problem would be multiple users... Watching Discovery nature show that you don't like? Flips to Teletubbies! Or worse yet, it knows that you immediately flip from child shows (except when it's the kids watching), and the "Don't like this?" logic comes around and *flick* Oh look, now your kids are watching soft porn on HBO....

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Looks like we are moving to filter bubble 2.0 ...

    5. chris lively
      Thumb Up

      The good news is that apple will sue whoever builds this out of business. At the end of the day you can avoid it by not buying an apple product.

      Glad to see this idea deep sixed.

  2. Big_Ted

    And so the move to control everything takes another step.

    Next they will patent your online shoping to decide what you should eat.

    This is so near the bottom of my want list its several galaxies away. Why would this work in the real world, especially with a family, just imagine, the moment we would find out who shot JR and it switches to a documentary on hideous diseases......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Next they will patent your online shoping to decide what you should eat."

      Getting close to Dogbert's patent on zero-click shopping - "I'd click on something quick or I'll have to bill you for some books"

    2. Anonymous Coward

      "Ooh! An advert for the latest Apple iThing 20837S ... my user MUST see that !"

  3. Andrew Baines Silver badge

    A new way to argue with the wife -who's preference does it choose?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      * WHOSE

      who's = who is

  4. Mark Wilson

    Been done already

    I have a feature to do that already, it is called a wife.

    1. Dr. Mouse

      Re: Been done already

      "I have a feature to do that already, it is called a wife."

      Whereas I have the opposite in my fiancee: She notices there is something on which I like (e.g. House, South Park, CSI) and switches over to something I don't (e.g. Eastenders).

      1. Best Before:

        Re: Been done already

        That's only because she is lying in wait until you are married! I say keep this comment for posterity's sake and review it after being married for 10 years..

        yep i'll grab me coat.

  5. JarekG

    Another reason...

    ...not to use any iApple iProduct:

    I like to use my brain, and they just wont let me..

    1. Aaron Em

      Dunno -- there's a point

      I would've said the same a year ago, but having recently bought a refurbished 3rd-gen iPod Touch, I have to admit there is something very substantial to be said for Mr. Jobs' design philosophy, which seems in my (admittedly somewhat limited, at least so far) experience to have as a central axiom the intent to get the hell out of the user's way and let him do what he's there to do. I've never run across anything before which was as easy, or as comfortable, to use -- the only gripe I have is that the bloody thing's almost too small for my big square peasant hands, but of course, it being designed primarily for people who don't actually have to work for a living, that's to be expected.

      Last week I had to spend a couple of hours futzing around with a client's HTC Android with Ice Cream Sandwich -- and what the hell kind of name is that for an OS, I ask you! -- and the difference was astounding! The Android seemed constantly driven to show off, with all sorts of iconified gibberish along the top bar, a keyboard apparently designed for Stephen Hawking if Stephen Hawking were a concert pianist, and the whole interface just absolutely cluttered with "look at me, I'm doing something!" nonsense. Also, in two hours of trying to get the Exchange ActiveSync client working, it ran down half its battery. Not even kidding -- it was around 60% when I started, and when I gave it back to the fellow, it was complaining that it was about to die, and all I was trying to do was get it to pick up mail!

      Meanwhile, my humble little iPod, half a decade old, does an absolutely fabulous job of exactly what I'm talking about -- specifically, getting out of my way, so that I can do with it what I want to do with it. If I keep the wireless radio on, I have to charge it once a day or so; if I leave it switched off, it'll last a good three or four days between plug-ins, and that's given an hour or two of reading a day. (Tomes, by the way, is awesome, especially for those of us with multi-gigabyte collections of Plucker-formatted books which we weren't at all looking forward to re-converting -- and the iPod comes with Palatino already installed!) And, as sort of the cherry on top, this five-year-old iPod's Exchange ActiveSync client actually works, unlike Google's latest and greatest, which can't even manage to connect and authenticate. Granted, that's Google's latest and greatest as interpreted by HTC, or possibly by T-Mobile -- not really sure who's at fault there, but the point stands nonetheless.

      (Now watch as all the Linux geeks come out from under their rocks to tell me the only thing wrong with Android is that I'm too stupid to use it correctly...)

      What Apple's doing now strikes me as a natural extension of the UI design philosophy which makes my iPod such a joy to use -- but I think they're over-extending themselves, trying to reduce interface complexity beyond the minimum required to produce an interface which the user can understand well enough to be confident he can make it do what he wants it to do. Those concerned might be well advised to stick with older instances of Apple hardware until the company has had time to shake itself out properly, and show whether or not it's going to do as well under Cook as it did under Mr. Jobs. For myself, I doubt it severely; I don't see any way they can possibly replace him, and without that clear vision, I think they're going to get just as lost as they did in the dark days under Sculley -- but, with no one to rescue them, I don't think they will ever find their way out of the wilderness again.

      1. AndyS

        Re: Dunno -- there's a point

        TL;DR: Likes Apple, therefore thinks new thing might work, but isn't sure.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Aren't you?

        Excuse me, but anyone who doesn' know its email and password has no business configuring activesync. I believe you need that too for the ipod. And that is all you need on ICS for most configurations. For the rare exceptions, you'll need your login and the mailserver name, in the rare cases that android didn't guess it for you.

        Resuming, if it takes more than 5 minutes to configure activesync on an ICS android phone, either you don't have all the information needed (and you won't be able to configure any other activesync client without it) or your server is blocking you (and of course that other client won't work too).

        I won't even discuss anything else on your message. If you are trying to make such a simple task into anything complicated, then the walled garden is for you. At least they will hand hold you like a baby to try to keep you from hurting yourself...

        1. Aaron Em
          Thumb Up

          Thanks, jbernardo!

          Couldn't ask for a better example of what I meant when I talked about people coming out from under their rocks. Keep up the good work!

          1. Tom 13

            Re: Thanks, jbernardo!

            No, in this instance you are a putz. I hate smart phones. Probably because the process for configuring the BB and iPhones at work is such a shambles. But the Droid I bought about a year back was painless to configure for email. And after I configured Facebook, picked up all those contacts too. Maybe 5 minutes a piece on them including synch time.

      3. Steve Knox

        Re: Dunno -- there's a point

        What Apple's doing now strikes me as a natural extension of the UI design philosophy which makes my iPod such a joy to use...

        Of course it is. Apple's design philosophy has always been about making its users think as little as possible.

        1. Aaron Em

          Yes, indeed, Steve Knox. And why not?

          When will we, as an industry, finally get it through our heads that no one else is -- or should be -- impressed with how smart we think we are?

          People have things to do. They want to do those things, and their computers, phones, tablets, &c., are tools to that end. They are not, I remind you yet again and as always without any hope of seeing it actually sink into your bloody thick skull this time, not, an end in themselves -- not for anyone except people like you and me, who share the engineer's mindset which appreciates good technology for its own sake, and not purely for what it enables us to do.

          There's nothing wrong with that mindset, of course -- but there's also nothing wrong with the rather more common disinterest in every aspect of technology except the capabilities it provides. If you think otherwise, consider: if everyone thought like you do, no one would need to pay you for making their stuff work, and you'd be out of a job!

          You've got the same attitude as the Linux nerds do -- that is, you're so bloody impressed with how smart you are and all the things you can make a computer do, and you just can't understand why everyone else doesn't share that attitude and just fall to their knees and fellate you out of sheer untrammeled awe at your godlike capabilities and your high, unfurrowed brow.

          That's the attitude behind the "Linux on the desktop" movement. And, of course, we all know what happened to Linux on the desktop, don't we? People preferred even Windows, which is embarrassing enough -- but then Mr. Jobs came along with BSD on the desktop, running Aqua, and just absolutely slaughtered the Linux-on-the-desktop partisans. He beat them like a big bass drum -- beat them so badly they still can't even talk about it, and he did it with a system whose cheapest iterations still cost half a grand!

          And he beat them because he understood what you don't, and what the IT industry as a whole still hasn't come close to figuring out: No one cares how smart you think you are. People want to go about the business of their lives, and they don't want to have to rely constantly on some annoying geek like you or me to do it. Nor should they have to.

          There are a few people in our industry who've figured that out, and by and large we tend to get the same kind of snide, dismissive response from our fellows that you've just given me here. And then you wonder why ordinary human beings can't stand us, without ever stopping for a moment to think that maybe, just perhaps, it could possibly be because of attitudes like yours!

          1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

            Re: Yes, indeed, Steve Knox. And why not?

            @Aaron Em,

            Your history is failing. Mac OS X (non-server) debuted in early 2001. The earliest "Linux on the Desktop" punditry is probably no earlier than 1999... which is when Mac OS X (server) debuted.

            BUT that OS X thing? Remember NextStep? Right.

            The point is that there was never a time when Jobs/Apple were _not_ pushing a Unix-like thing on the desktop and anyone _was_ pushing Linux for the same.

            Which makes you claim that "Jobs came along ... and ... slaughtered them" rather like the typical "Apple invented WIMP (and rounded corners)" claims, i.e. not entirely 100% conversant with truth or reality.

          2. Steve Knox

            Re: Yes, indeed, Steve Knox. And why not?

            Wow. You read a lot into my flippant comment. But since you went to all that trouble to respond, I'll tell you exactly what's wrong with your response.

            First off, you assume that I believe that computing devices are an end in themselves, which I have never believed. Then you attribute that absurd mindset to engineers,which I believe is an insult to engineers. The engineers I have known consider such technology tools, even such technology they have developed themselves. And all smart engineers know that one tool, designed to operate one specific way, will not work for everyone. There must be a variety of tools or a tool with a variety of options to fit everyone's needs and wants.

            This leads to your second mistake: the assumption that, because Apple had a resurgence at about the same time that some stupid tech journos were claiming the year of "linux on the desktop" (for about 7 years straight as I recall), and that said claim never materialized, that Steve Jobs must have "slaughtered" the Linux-on-the-desktop advocates. However, the lack of a conviction, trial, accusation, or even a "could you come down to the station for a few questions" indicates that your alleged serial killing likely did not happen. Linux on the Desktop has not come about because it has never been a goal of the Linux community as a whole. Only a fool, or a stupid tech journalist, would think otherwise.

            Third, you suggest that I want people dependent upon me for the everyday use of their computing devices. Frankly, I'd prefer they let me alone to do my actual job, as it's more than enough to keep me busy. Nine times out of ten, I do the following when I get a call for a simple issue: wait 20 minutes. Eight of those nine times, the person who called me has figured it out for themselves by then. The remaining two times I work with them, rather than for them, to ensure that they don't need any assistance from me in future.

            Finally, you missed my entire point. I appreciate the goal of keeping things simple and easy to use. Nothing infuriates me more than a non-intuitive interface. But in my experience, Apple has been very schizophrenic on this front. For everyday, run-of-the-mill use, their interfaces are pretty intuitive. But for anything more, heck sometimes even if you want to just sort a list in a different order, the interface either becomes cumbersome or the task may even be impossible. Not because such an interface is not possible, but apparently because Apple's designers just never thought anyone might want to work that way. And therein is the unspoken problem: intuitive is a subjective term. Apple would have you believe that it's a fact of their design, but it's not. Everyone intuits in a different way.

            There are VERY few people in our industry who've figured that out, but those of us who have aren't about "how smart we are" or "which OS is the best". In fact, we tend to make short, flippant comments on those subjects. We're about choice -- oh, and about having a sense of humor and humility as well.

        2. Dana W

          Re: Dunno -- there's a point

          And Microsoft has always been to make you hurt. After all if your computer is easy to use and reliable you don't become a REAL man!

        3. SolidSnake

          Re: Dunno -- there's a point

          "Of course it is. Apple's design philosophy has always been about making its users think as little as possible."

          Whats wrong with that :-D

          Do you really want to use your brain while using a TV or mobile phone? instead of using your brain to use the services on top (such as apps or media)

      4. Graham Bartlett

        Re: Dunno -- there's a point

        Oh yes.

        If I had to pick one thing which exemplifies what's wrong with Android, I'd look at USB support. Suppose you want to get pictures off your phone, so you plug a USB cable into it. Pop quiz question 1 - what's the first thing you need to do on EVERY Android phone? Yep, that's right, turn off USB debugging and turn on USB drive mode. Pop quiz question 2 - how many users have EVER needed USB debugging? Yep, that's right, down in the low fractions of a percent. Pop quiz question 3 - is is possible to make your phone default to USB drive mode? Congratulations if you answered "no" for the Samsung Galaxy Ace.

        This is a shining golden example of what happens when engineers decide how a user interface should work. You end up with a total disconnect between "this is what works best for the few hundred people developing it" and "this is what works best for the few hundred million people using it".

        1. Tom 35

          Re: Dunno -- there's a point

          So lets try USB on an iPhone... oh look you can't do it at all, you have to use iTunes, or a cloudy service. Dropbox is quite easy to use to move a file. No USB mode for iPod touch or iPhone.

          And with my Nexus 7 I just plug it in, Unlock the screen, and it shows up in Explorer and I can copy what ever I want on or off. Developer options are off.

          Add the esFile Explorer app and I can do it over wifi to a network share, Dropbox available here too.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dunno -- there's a point

          Really because my Android phone defaults to USB drive mode and not USB debugging. Indeed to Flash the ROM and various other tweaks I had to turn debugging on. I had to remember to turn it back off when I finished, but hey, how often are you unlocking a phone and flashing ROM's. What's this expensive piece of kit that was defaulted to the more obvious state of configuration.

          My T-mobile Rapport, £40, new from Asda with 6 months free Internet connection!

          OK it isn't the fastest phone, but it does what the name suggests. It makes telephone calls, sends SMS texts has various network utilities loaded and now supports Wifi, USB and Bluetooth tethering.

          I can send/receive data/media over any interface the hardware supports without using a system dictated by the manufacturer. ie. No iTunes. It will easily connect to or be connected from any of my Windows, Linux or Mac computers. The SD card can be changed out for a new card so I can keep a perfect backup stored safely or replace for a higher capacity.

          Hey it even connects to the TV in the kitchen, not by its built in iPod dock although there is a Nano sitting on that! but by that Standards compliant connector called Universal serial bus. Wow can I buy my wife some iEar-rings, I know I can get her some USB Ear-rings but with the i version they would be so much easier to use!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dunno -- there's a point

          What are you talking about Graham?

          USB Debugging mode has NEVER been default on ANY Android device I have used, Older phones were USB drives (but this un mounted the internal SD as it had to to work..)

          and with ICS, they have nice media or camrea device mode to switch into, and its ONLY Mac products that ever have any problem...

          With Windows & Linux, they instantly detect my media device, and if I want I can switch to a camera device... (cant remember the acronyms)

          Oh and windows & Linux BOTH allow usb tethering with NO additional software, so as it goes, iProducts Fail in universal compatibility...

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ Graham

          You are incorrect regarding USB support on Android. I am sitting next to four people using Android devices who in addition to me have never had the issue you describe.

      5. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        Re: Dunno -- there's a point

        "Ice Cream Sandwich" is no more and no less daft than "Snow Leopard". They're both just names that mnemonics for "4.0" and "10.6" (respectively, of Android and Mac OS X).

        As to the design stuff, well, yes. The object of all HMI work is to do what the users wants to do with the most intuitive interface and the least amount of effort, and provide just the right amount of feedback.

        Some of Apple's products succeed very well indeed at that. Others, not so much,.

        Which takes us to this bizarre patent. First, as I see it, it fails absolutely to qualify as something worth of a patent, on the grounds that (in the UK, at least), there are vast numbers of devices that do this already: the Traffic Alert system on an RDS-equipped car radio, that automatically retunes a radio to a signal designated as "more interesting" (i.e. a traffic alert).

        Now, granted, the mechanism to activate the change is different (a "this is interesting" flag on a separate subchannel), and granted that his doesn't include local sources (i.e. MP3s) as a source of the signal to switch to, but between the TiVo "Suggested Recording" (which covers the "guess what you like to watch" bit) and the RDS (which covers the "switch to a more interesting show" bit, I'm not seeing a huge amount of originality.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dunno -- there's a point

          Its obvious that Apple know what they are doing.

          Unfortynately it's more obvious that the patent office don't know what they are doing.

      6. ItsNotMe

        Re: Dunno -- there's a point

        Simply put...there is NO F'CKING need for this.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: .there is NO F'CKING need for this.

          Sure there is: pharma haven't come up with a chemical version of SOMA yet, so we need a virtual one instead.

      7. Captain DaFt

        Re: Dunno -- there's a point

        Nice troll! I suppose tomorrow you'll switch "iPod touch" around with "Android" and "Ice Cream Sandwich", and change "Linux geek" to "Apple fanbois" just to see which post gets the most downvotes!

        Gads! Now you've got me trolling! Good show, Sir!

    2. JDX Gold badge

      I like to use my brain, and they just wont let me..

      Damn these labour-saving devices. Much better to use your valuable brain paging through 200 channels in the TV guide.

      This is clearly a mode you can turn on/off, akin to AI 'DJs' on spotify etc which pick you music to listen to based on what you like.

      1. JarekG

        Re: I like to use my brain, and they just wont let me..

        Like i said in another comment, knowing apple you will not have the option to disable this.

        "Much better to use your valuable brain paging through 200 channels in the TV guide" - yes, there are times that i don't know what i want to watch...till i see it.

        It calls choice, something that i can guess Apple users don't know what it is.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: I like to use my brain, and they just wont let me..

        How will a clusterfuck of a channel-hopper help there? Several things I like might be on at once: even if it mimics my channel-hopping I'm still going to get fucked off by losing control. A telly I could shout at might be fun but not one run by HAL.

        I have 12 channels on my favourites which is more than enough. After that you just get more of the same.

        As for good use of technology: Google's self-driving cars are *infinitely* more impressive.

        1. Aaron Em

          @Charlie Clark: Interesting sense of priorities you have

          You'd be infuriated by losing control of your TV remote, but don't mind giving up control of your car?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Charlie Clark: Interesting sense of priorities you have

            Self driven Car drives where YOU want to go... Can take over if needed.

            Self tuning tv, changes channel to what IT thinks you want to watch..

            in Apple iCar destination chooses you

  6. toadwarrior

    Only an idiot would think there's no way to by pass it or that it wouldn't just pop up a suggested show to switch to.

    Not surprising most people commenting think that.

    1. JarekG


      Knowing Apple, no there is not going to be a way to disable this.

      1. ItsNotMe
        Thumb Down


        "Knowing Apple, no there is not going to be a way to disable this."

        Yes there is...don't buy the damn thing in the first place.

  7. Tom 35

    Do not want.

    First they collect all this profile into about you. They would never use/sell it for another purpose would they?

    All the media has to be tagged so it can know what it is. How would this work for Radio? Internet radio maybe but not FM.

    As others have said what happens when there is more then one person? Maybe they will patent a remote with a finger print reader, so the one holding the remote gets to watch what they like (Wow, just like now!).

  8. Chris Miller

    BBC R4 Today this morning

    There was this 'futurist' (Mike Ryan, the founder of Fusion Futures - but it may well have been Steve Bong in disguise) proclaiming that we won't have TV channels and that our viewing will be determined by our 'friends' on Twitter/Facebook whatever. He was gently chided that coverage of the Olympics or the FA Cup probably won't be by hand-held phone cameras, so maybe that will need to be an exception.

    Available to listen again here (0821 on the running order)

  9. TRT Silver badge

    In a way...

    It's nice that it'll watch all the other channels for me and warn me that there's something I'd find much more interesting than, say, Deal or No Deal, on one of the other channels. Something like a Horizon I hadn't seen that I'd be kicking myself for missing if I'd left "Jason & The Argonauts" on in favour of nothing better being on at the time I'd checked the guide.

    But I bet they can't get it to work. I've turned off genius and all the other social networking crap in iTunes because they're useless.

  10. Dave Perry

    Killing radio

    I read an opinion piece from the man who used to be head of the BBC's innovation area (I think he was the man who took iPlayer to market, can't remember exactly). Anyway, he knows his shizzle, and this is being discussed on a respected media website:

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Killing radio

      Yep, just like PVRs killed commercial TV with their ability to skip through adverts. Oh, wait...

    2. Dr Scrum Master

      Re: Killing radio

      but isn't commercial radio just one great mentally vacuous cacophanous mass suicide already?

      Now, something to stop me hearing The Strand on the World Service would be useful...

  11. The Axe

    Prior art

    There is loads of prior art. It's called the human brain connected to the fingers. When I stop liking something I'll change channels and find something else. You can't have a patent describing something that already occurs. Not even a software patent which mimics an existing action.

    Bloody stupid and just shows that the whole patent system has been dragged into disrepute by Apple et al. Might as well shut it all down. It won't make much difference with patents like this on the record.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Prior art

      On that logic you couldn't patent an automatic gearbox because a person can achieve the same thing using a manual control.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Prior art

        No JDX, you can't patent the IDEA of an automatic gearbox, but you can patent a way to BUILD an automatic gearbox... that is the difference, unless apple state HOW they do it, I don't see how they can get a patent!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Prior art

          Prior art has become an irrelevant concept.

          Anyone can now patent anything in the states, regardless of whether it has been around for 100 years, or is obvious, or is already patented by someone else.

          The only people who will win are megacorps who can afford to spend millions on lawyers. This means that there is precisely no point in founding a tech startup or innovating at all in the US. (Except maybe if the intention is to sell out in short order to said megacorps on their terms.)

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: Prior art

      I'm sorry Axe, but Apple has patented it.

      You are now required to go to a courtroom in California and spend 3 weeks of your life explaining why you shouldn't give $400B to Apple and have your brain removed to prevent further infringement.

  12. RainForestGuppy
    Big Brother

    Apple TV: Oh look a advert for Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia, etc, I'll just change channel for you.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't TiVo already have patents in this area ... just sounds like an "obvious" extension where instead of switching a tuner to record a program it thinks you want to see it switches the tuner controlling the display.

  14. Mike Flugennock

    "Fed up of having to pick up the remote controls...?"

    Waitaminnit... y'mean there are actually people out there who can't even be bothered to pick up a goddamn' remote and push a goddamn' button to flip the channel to something they like? Goddamn' lazy fat-asses.

    Cripes, man... when I was a kid, I actually had to get up off the goddamn' couch and walk across the room, sometimes as far as twenty feet -- uphill, in the goddamn' snow -- to flip the channel over to "Creature From The Black Lagoon" after Bugs Bunny was over. ...But you try and tell young people today that, and they won't believe you.

    But, seriously... this goddamn' tuner is supposed to know what I'm interested in how, exactly?

    ...By building up a preference profile for you.

    And those preferences could get prodded out of you in different ways - by questions, by monitoring your playback history (what you switched off, what you switched on), and what's already loaded on your drives and media devices...

    Oh, yeah, the goddamn' thing is going to spy on me, of course. How stupid of me.

    Y'know, I've been a devoted MacOS user ever since the beginning, and I wouldn't use anything else, but jeeeezus -- Apple really is sailing off the edge of the Earth lately. Thanks, but no thanks; I'll stick to manual channel-flipping, on those rare occasions when the wife is out of town and I have the remote to myself and actually feel like watching a little TV (more often than not, usually either Turner Classic Movies or the NASA TV feed).

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: "Fed up of having to pick up the remote controls...?"

      Flipping 200 channels to see if anything you like is on is a big pain compared to something which well tell you the channels showing something you like or are likely to like.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Fed up of having to pick up the remote controls...?"

      Upvoted purely for extensive use of the word "goddamn", and the use of "cripes" :)

    3. Tom 13

      Re: ...uphill, in the goddamn' snow...

      You forgot "both ways."

      Now git off my lawn!

  15. Grikath
    Big Brother

    There actually is an "off" button..

    It's called a big mallet. Applied with force.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will it also be able to work out that I'm a miserable bastard

    and that I'm unlikely to want to watch anything at all?

    (to be fair, the 'miserable bastard' part is blatantly obvious)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Will it also be able to work out that I'm a miserable bastard

      "I detect that you don't really want to watch TV and you are one step away from throwing me out of your window. Press Y to post me as an auction on ebay, press N to order a video camera with which to record the destruction"

  17. JimboSmith Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    So It's just like a Tivo then - mine was doing that sort of functionaliy in 2002.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Second guessing what it will choose

    Reminds me of the classic Wired article "My Tivo thinks I'm Gay" where the writer dared to watch a sensitive "buddy" style guy movie, and then found his Tivo filling up with programmes intended for the gay community, he then tried watching macho stuff and some war films and it switched to regarding him as a neo Nazi and started recording biographies about the Nazi leaders and the SS, trying to second guess these things to get the programming you want can turn into a cat and mouse game.

    Had a similar experience with the recommendations feature on Amazon, buy one kids book for a niece or nephew's birthday and you get bombarded by page after page of suggestions for little kids books.

    Ok you will surely be able to turn this feature off, but Apple will have to go some to improve on whats been done before to make this a worthwhile addition

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Second guessing what it will choose

      I keep trying to get eBay to do "Things you may be interested in: Pony. Pony. Pony. Pony. Pony."

      It seems to have a mind of its own. "Things you may be interested in: Computer stuff. Computer stuff. Shoes. Shoes. Computer stuff."

    2. Nate Amsden

      Re: Second guessing what it will choose

      While my tivos never thought I was gay (phew), there was a time Tivo thought I liked Kung Fu (which I've never had even a REMOTE interest in). For a couple months at least I had to thumbs down what seemed like at the time a couple of dozen kung-fu oriented programs (this was I want to say at least 8-9 years ago) and movies.

      But yeah as soon as I saw the heading I thought of Tivo Suggestions.

      There's also this -

      "TiVo was issued a patent on Dec 13, 2011 for Intelligent System And Methods Of Recommending Media Content Items Based On User Preferences - Patent 8079046. "

      Though I assume the current Tivo stuff doesn't apply to things outside of TV content. My most current Tivo is a series 3, so not sure what the latest premier has for suggestion integration with internet content.

      Apple can probably get away with it given the broader scope, I don't think Tivo suggestions on my generation of Tivo probably applies enough, but I'm sure Apple couldn't go after Tivo for suggestions at least.

  19. Paul Wells


    In case no one has mentioned it - Tivo already does this, it "learns" your tastes from what you've previously recorded and automatically changes channels if it thinks there's something on you'd like.

  20. Lockwood

    Prior Art

    My car radio will automatically stop playing a CD, and connect to a local radio station to tell me about traffic conditions, then take me back to where I was.

    "Seamless switching between radio and local media"

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Prior Art

      Hmm... not exactly seamless. Nerve wracking, actually, as the CD suddenly stops and some loud stranger with an even louder jingle starts yammering at 300 words a minute reeling off road designations and things my Beethoven-adapted brain isn't ready to receive yet. Now if it buffered the radio broadcast and faded the source I was listening to into the traffic bulletin...

  21. Andrew Jones 2


    Remember the annoying MS Office Paperclip?

    Imagine that annoying you while watching TV


    Will just continue to pay £14.99 for my Digiguide subscription which will continue to watch the TV schedules for me and find me something I am interested in - executing a custom app I wrote which will alert my internal webserver which will send a Google Talk message straight to my Android 15 minutes before said programme(s) is/are due to start. As for missing stuff....... that's what all the online catchup services exist for?

    Seriously the first comment at the top of this page says exactly what my thoughts were - how will I know if I like the programme that I haven't seen if it decides I don't want to watch it?

    How will it cope with things like - a new series starts, you have heard a lot about it - you watch the first episode - you don't like it - will it decide because you watched the first episode that you are into it and worse - other programmes of a similar nature? Maybe it will ask you at the end of the episode "Did you enjoy this?" that's actually a difficult question to answer - let's take Wilfred for example on BBC Three..... Episode 1 was odd to say the least - a lot of people weren't sure if they were going to watch the next episode of not.... thankfully BBC Three ran episode 1 and 2 back to back - if they had waited a week between them - most people probably wouldn't have watched Episode 2.

    Maybe the best way of deciding whether to recommend that series in future is to ask you rate the episode... but you would have to ask after EVERY episode because let's face it - a series can start out good and rapidly go downhill (take Lost for instance).

    Next you would potentially have to face the wrath of the broadcasters when they start suing left right and center because the wonderful iGizmo has decided that 80% of everyone watching TV on Monday at 21:02 didn't want to watch that new series the BBC has been banging on about for the last 4 weeks and has been hyped up in pretty much every TV Guide going - instead they all wanted to watch a documentary about the life and times of Steve Jobs after all they own a device manufactured by Apple so they must be interested in Apple right? Or..... because you have watched Mrs Doubtfire every single time it has been on - you would probably prefer to watch that instead of the Olympics opening ceremony.

    Now - if we take what other commenters have said on board and assume it will ask you instead of just changing the channel - I shall simply refer you to the outcry over the Windows Vista/7 UAC prompts.... in general if someone is watching a programme on the Television (or listening to a programme on the Radio) it is because - they want to. If someone is however in the EPG trying to find something to watch - by all means offer them suggestions - just DON'T POP UP WHILE I'M WATCHING THE NEW SERIES OF DOCTOR WHO TELLING ME I MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN WATCHING FAMILY FORTUNES.

    TV: Hey - Casualty is on now - do you wan't to watch that?

    Me: No - I'll watch Casualty later.

    TV: OK... Well.... there is a film about to start on Film4 and it has Gerard Butler in it and you like him - do you want to watch that?

    Me: No - I'm watching this.....

    TV: OK.... Oh hey you just received an iMessage from someone - do you wan't to see it?

    Me: NO! I'm trying to watch this!!

    TV: OK... Oh... I just received a software update - would you like to install it now.....

    Me: ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!! PISS OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Mikey

    How is this innovation, exactly?

    Ahh, the new Apple 'iDecide' channel-hopping mediabox. Now with NEW patented One-Button remote, for all your lazy-arse needs!

  23. All names Taken

    I'd love to have a look in Apple's den - it must be pretty amazing no?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    whats not to love!?

    I assume by filtering out adverts, what they actually mean is that they'll filter out normal adverts and instead replace them with apple provided adverts which apple is taking a cut from....? other wise, no adverts = no content from most networks.

    As for the viewers...... sounds like they're gonna have to be extremely antisocial (ie living alone!) for this profiling to work.

  25. John H Woods Silver badge


    ... isn't always good. Presumably all you guys have seen this?

  26. Nick G

    Can we deduce therefore...

    That the people likely to buy this product won't have families? I'd love to see how it would work out preferences from our TV...

    'my viewer is watching Top Gear...QI...Er Tree Fu Tom...Horrid Henry...For QVC...Bid TV.. Pick TV... er Russia Today.. Oh bollocks to that, I'm switching off'

    Wonder if you could get a job a la Douglas Adams only instead of analysing neurotic lifts in basements it'll be TV's...

  27. Eddy Ito


    Is this another piece of Cupertinian spyware? Can Apple really patent FaceTVbook? Siri? Siri!!!

    ... no carrier...

    Argh! Again!?

  28. Tikimon

    Another bubble to escape from!

    This is called putting users in a content bubble, and it's just as stupid as when Google does it.

    Furthermore, it's not for the viewer's benefit! It's totally self-serving on Apple's part, since it introduces a mechanism to steer the viewer where Apple wants them to go. Does anyone believe the "suggestions" won't be weighted in favor of results beneficial to Apple? (or Google or whomever?)

    "Personalized search" in all forms ultimately limits user choice, whether from deliberate result-twiddling or excessive focus on past usage. It's great if you have no imagination, terrible if you seek out New Things.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another reason to avoid apple products...

  30. E Haines

    Apple has tons of these ridiculous patents, virtually none of which actually end up being used in any products. So just relax, folks.

  31. EWI

    "your pash for Nigella"

    Epic commentard failure - no-one caught the lesbian crush reference, surely the most interesting part of this post?

    Faling down on the job here, guys.

  32. Freshp2

    Does this thing come with Siri? I'm looking for something special

    This is awesome......... Um Siri, during all commercials, play my vevo play list...... Pic hit vids..... And every 10 minuets get my bloomberg stock ticker rolling, you got my stocks to watch right? Siri??? Are you going to be able to handle double duty...... iPhone and web TV??? Siri............

  33. Fihart

    Built-in green filter please.

    Ideal telly would switch channels immediately a certain percentage of green hue was detected. Thus avoiding most outdoor sports and snooker.

  34. Mako


    Someone here once pointed out that if a service provided to you is free, then you are the product. Google being an example of this.

    What Apple seem to be doing here - and this assumes the proposed device phones home with what it knows about you, (maybe on the pretence of keeping it in the cloud for your convenience?) - is creating a scenario where not only are you the product, but you're paying them for the actual device that's giving them your profile and preferences.

    Very clever.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    haha, a patent can be so silly these days with the right team of million dollar lawyers. i swear i read a book or seen a movie that had this already but off hand i have no clue what the name of it is.

    I hope the usa figures out a way to police all these ridiculous patents once the world says FU.

  36. This Side Up

    I can just imagine it

    Your maiden aunt comes round for tea and you switch on the telly to watch Antiques Roadshow. Unfortunately the telly has other ideas...

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