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Microsoft Patent For TV Popups

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Techdirt posted on this Microsoft patent filing for displaying notifications on your television when you change the channel or perform certain other actions.

Basically, it would allow cable or satellite providers to put a pop-up on your screen under certain circumstances, acting as a notification system.

One example given was notifying the viewer that his cable bill was due, and the later the bill was due, the larger the pop-up would be. The filing ackowledges that the notification would have to be ensured that it was being seen by a person, and not just the screen, or else it would get missed, and could even wind up getting recorded over a program a person was trying to DVR.

Other uses could include letting a person know that a free preview of a premium channel is available.

While its a very solid idea (imagine tuning in late to a movie and getting a pop-up letting you know you can watch it from the beginning on another channel), its also rife with opportunity for abuse. Ever get a computer with a notification system from the manufacturer? (I’m looking at you, Dell) Well, they just can’t resist letting you know that there’s a six-percent off sale, a free jar of mayonnaise with every plasma screen purchased.

If we get pop-ups on our TV, first they’ll just have a simple “Pay your bill” and “HBO is free today”. Then they’ll have “Sign up for Vonage!” and “Get 400 free hours of AOL”. Then they’ll say “Bob’s used apples is selling bushles for only a dollar! Today, only at the Tulsa flea market!”

Then, when the hackers realize they can send a signal over your cable internet that can show up on your TV

It’s all over, baby.

Oh, and what happens when it says:

Your bill is overdue $6.75 for your purchase of Beach Butt Bongos Bonanza IX on the Penthouse Network

while your kid is watching Sesame Street. Oops.

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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Microsoft Patent For TV Popups
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