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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2009 @ 11:48pm

    in b4 crazy conspirators ~!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 12:13am

    wouldn't it be more effective to actually work on improving those TVs energy efficiency?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 12:17am

      Re:

      forgot to add this even though im not sure about it.
      even though they are still energy Hogs I think the LED TVs are "greener" than the LCDs so its one step in the right direction

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    zcat (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 1:16am

    Next step, blipverts and exploding TV viewers.

    "I just invent the bomb, I don't drop it"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Azrael (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 1:29am

    Really, for the good of the earth?

    Let's be serious. Looking how things work this day it will be used to monitor your advertising viewing, at the best of times. I shudder to think at the worst.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Stupidy Slapper, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 5:17am

      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.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 5:54am

        Re: Re: Really, for the good of the earth?

        no, but they could put a hard drive in the TV to record the commercials and then play them back when you look at it.

        Yeah, it would probably just be easier to put a cell phone transmitter into the TV.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Bear, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 12:22pm

        Re: Re: Really, for the good of the earth?

        Um, actually, two-way communications are already here. Your cable box 'phones home'. Future applications will enable and or rely on all sorts of upload/outbound data traffic.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Stupidy Slapper, Nov 3rd, 2009 @ 3:22pm

          Re: Re: Re: Really, for the good of the earth?

          Key point you making there is its the cable box that has the 2 way comunication not the tv, the tv just takes a video stream from the box.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Pete Austin, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 2:33am

    @Japanese TV: you can have this gameshow concept for free

    Hmm. Just like those office lights which switch off while you're having a late meeting.

    I can imagine TV viewers gurning clownishly at the screen, to reactivate it, because it has just gone blank at a crucial moment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 2:44am

    Guess I'll hang a Portrait of me facing the camera, to make my TV think I'm watching it...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    William Felippe de Souza, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 2:45am

    It will be used to force ads on people

    This technology will surely be used to ensure people will watch adverts, like, say, the one 30sec ad before a webclip.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Robert Ring (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 6:10am

      Re: It will be used to force ads on people

      I was just about to say this. Let's hope they have enough sense not to use it this way, otherwise people will never buy.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        TesserId (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 9:19am

        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.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Nick Coghlan (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 3:21am

    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?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    R. Miles (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 3:31am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Peet McKimmie (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 4:03am

      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.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        EEJ (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 8:29am

        Re: Re: Wait a second...

        Peet,

        I'm assuming you are talking about digital music channels provided by your cable/satellite/etc company.

        In that case, why not hook up an audio output to your stereo, and you won't have to wear out your TVs display?

        My cable box has several outputs on the back, or you could always just split the audio cables.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 3:32am

    be better if it paused the show when I'm not looking. Or at least show commercials.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 3:54am

    The real problem is they'll sell it on every TV and try to charge extra for it. And then a certain percentage of these cameras will break forever condemning you to a broken TV.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Ryan Diederich, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 3:55am

    Imagine whats next...

    Walmart employees are happy, their new commercial got 85% smiles from the TV viewer monitoring software.

    It would be impossible to control, advertising companies would get their hands on it

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Big Dump, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 4:59am

    Monitor this

    Next innovation to be incorporated into your flat screen tvs will be the ability to follow you into the bathroom, because no one wants to miss one second of the paid for programming.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Paul` (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 6:13am

    Telescreens anyone?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    slander (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 6:23am

    In Soviet Russia, TV... oh, never mind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Gabe, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    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!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Bradley Stewart, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    Be Right With You Let Me Just

    put on my pants. Its a good idea if that's all that its doing. All of us have heard of technology creep. I believe that there are enough people out there who understand the capabilities of these things to let us know if anything funny is going on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    JustMe, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 6:29am

    Re Stupidity Slapper

    "TVs dont have a transmiter"
    ...yet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    NullOp, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 6:54am

    For now...

    Yes, the big screens are energy hogs...for now. Fact is there will always be and energy hog! Because you compare products against one another something is always at the top of the energy use heap and therefore a "Hog." Compare things with similar things of 10 or 20 years ago to get a better idea of energy use.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    NSMike, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    Advertising

    Paranoia aside, I'd be curious to see this track when people look away, and see how often it occurs during commercials, and maybe even WHAT commercials.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 7:36am

    What would actually be better is TV with a facial recognition feature that automatically turned over when Graham Norton comes on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Grae (profile), Oct 30th, 2009 @ 11:04am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Nov 1st, 2009 @ 2:23pm

    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...)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This