Smart TVs Know When You Look Away

from the energy-saving dept

There’s been a lot of talk these days about how the big flat-screen TVs that have become quite popular are also energy hogs (or, as some say, “the SUVs of the TV world”). One interesting concept to deal with this is to use facial recognition software to fade out the picture when the viewer is not watching. So, if you just have the TV on in the background, it doesn’t suck up all that energy on the picture, but (in theory) the second you look up at the screen, the picture comes back. Of course, in the past, when we’ve talked about experiments to put cameras or monitoring equipment into TVs, it tends to freak people out a bit, and you could easily see the same technology being used for monitoring purposes. Still, it is a creative idea, if it actually works.

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Comments on “Smart TVs Know When You Look Away”

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Stupidy Slapper says:

Re: Really, for the good of the earth?

How do you figer this even if it did record if you where looking at an advert or not whos it going to tell. TVs dont have a transmiter, hell they dont even have a reciver just decoder and most people use an external signal decoder, ie a satalite or cable box. So next time decided to go scaremongering with predictions of 1984 why dont you think it through.

TesserId (profile) says:

Re: Re: It will be used to force ads on people

Just like they expect people to buy all new equipment for Selectable Output Control?

Yes, they will be dumb enough. That’s how they work. They are not interested in maximizing revenue or profits, let alone any cultural value or enhancement of the free market. They are interested only in maximizing control.

They WILL do everything they can to gain every bit of control that can be engineered and codified, and this will be no exception. The only question is how soon will they start on this one. Perhaps it will take no longer than it did for them to go from the Broadcast Flag to Selectable Output Control.

Nick Coghlan (profile) says:

I can easily see my large screen TV from the kitchen at the far end of the hallway (handy when making dinner or cleaning up afterwards).

I don’t see how you could have a facial recognition program with current technology that could tell the difference between my face at that distance and a photo or poster closer to the TV that included a person’s face.

And that’s without even getting into the issues of what would happen when someone is watching TV with the lights switched off. Are they going to put IR lamps around the camera and try to pick faces at the lower frequency?

R. Miles (profile) says:

Wait a second...

…since when did TVs not come with a power button? Whew, I’m glad my 42″ plasma has one. When I’m not watching it, there is no display at all because I actually turn the thing off.

For the record, TVs have always been power hungry despite all attempts at making them “greener”.

I don’t need a TV telling me I’m not watching it. That’s just too interactive for my tastes.

Peet McKimmie (profile) says:

Re: Wait a second...

“When I’m not watching it, there is no display at all because I actually turn the thing off.”

Whereas, when I’m not watching mine it’s because I’m using it to play a radio channel. If there was a separate off-switch for the picture I would use it, but failing that, this is a reasonable compromise so long as it doesn’t kill the sound.

Gabe says:

Why not have a low-power setting

Couldn’t they just put a new button on the remote to allow for a low-power setting? Then if I have it on in the background I can just hit the low-power button… If I am interested in something that is on, I hit the button again and it comes up to full brightness. Or would that be to easy, and not enough technology that could break? Next year you might not feel like you *have to have* the newest, latest and greatest facial rec. TV with thermal imaging so it can that can see you turn your face towards it from across the entire house (through a wall no less!)

Grae (profile) says:

Let's be practical here

Setting aside the idea that a government spook or advert exec is trying to watch me though my TV, the biggest problem I see is false positives such as a portrait hanging on the wall getting picked up. A better technology (for privacy as well as accuracy) would be an infared light and camera, that picked up on the two brightly glowing spots your pupils make when the infared light reflects off the back of your eyeballs and is viewed in the infared spectrum.

It would have to be opt-in, so you have to turn it on in order to use it and be able to freely toggle the feature whenever you want. Also, infared light means that it won’t bother the human eye, since we don’t have any cells in the eye that are capable of sensing that type of light. The only privacy concern with such a setup is the potential to transmit how many people (actually pets too, since this would have the same effect on them) are watching at a given time.

Though to be honest I think that TVs and displays in general will cover the energy efficiency gap before a majority of people buy into this particular technology.

Rekrul says:

Using the clock face for directions, my computer is at 12 o’clock and I have a TV at 10 o’clock. I can easily see it out of the corner of my sys while using the computer, but a lot of times, I’m not looking directly at it.

What about people who aren’t sitting directly in front of the screen? (of course the LCD folks are working hard to ensure that this is no longer possible…)

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