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Philips responds to anti-ad skip technology backlash

April 24th, 2006 · No Comments

ambilight LCD TV

Shortly after my chum Barry Fox broke news of Philips application to patent anti-ad skip technology for digital broadcasters, via his New Scientist online column, the internet was awash with outrage. Hardly surprisingly, given how intrusive the basic concept appeared to be.
I’ve even seen some attempts online to organize a boycott of Philips products, which seems a little extreme.
So I thought I’d drop my other chums, at Philips, a line to see if they had an official response…and given that the news broke shortly after the Ambilight TV overheating story from a few months back, I wondered if this uncharacteristically negative publicity was causing them any consternation
From the decidedly prickly response I got, I guess it is.
“Attempting to link two completely separate issues and suggest that they constitute a ‘wave of bad publicity’ suggests pure speculation and a lack of hard facts,” blasted a curiously anonymous email response.
It continued: “The two issues are unrelated. Firstly on the subject of anti-ad skipping technology, the Philips Intellectual Property & Standards division explains; ‘Our inventors worked on a technology to make it possible to watch a movie without ads. However, some people do want to see the ads. So, we developed a system where the viewer can choose, at the beginning of a movie, for either watching the movie without ads, or watching the movie with ads. It is up to the viewer to take this decision and up to the broadcaster to offer the various services. Philips never had the intention to force viewers to watch ads against their will and does not use this technology in a product, nor do we have any of such plans.’
“On the Ambilight issue, and as already stated, this was a US only issue in 2005 that was dealt with proactively by Philips and is indeed specific to the US due to concerns over a failed component, where NO external fire, personal injury or property damage had been experienced. As precautionary measure, Philips performed preventive repairs in consumers’ homes – a measure that any responsible manufacturer would take.”
Well there you have it. Perhaps it’s not surprising that Philips felt inclined to chew my proverbial e-ear off for daring to ask for comment. A little birdie told me that the Dutch giant was not best pleased with a jokey comment in the current issue of my magazine, Home Cinema Choice, which made light of the Ambilight situation. (I won’t repeat it here, for fear of getting my ass sued off, but why don’t you try and find it yourself, it’s in issue 130. Funny too I thought). At least Barry Fox is still my chum. By Steve May

Tags: LCD TV · Trade

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