Wednesday, March 14, 2007

License to watch TV

I could not confirm it but this is what I heard on radio yesterday: Broadcasters are demanding that pubs take permission before streaming cricket matches on widescreen TV sets to patrons.

This gave me an idea: Will we come to a point where, when a broadcaster or a TV channel shows a cricket match or a movie, they will charge per "seat". By seat, I am referring to the way software licenses are sold: you pay for each installation of the software.

So, when I watch a movie telecast by Sony, I will have to pay for two seats : my wife and myself. At my parents' house, they may have to pay more since there is a bigger family.
The biggest challenge for the broadcasters would be to verify how many people are actually watching the show. If a bystander on the road halts to catch the score for a moment in a TV shop, will the shop owner have to pay for the extra viewer ? Will there be corporate licenses or deals with such shops or pubs and such like ?

What do you think ? Is this a good way to milk innocent people ? Or are there other more devious ways to take away freedom ?


Scribbler said...

Actually if u have two TV sets.. then they should charge per TV set and per viewer. Hey how about pay per person hours spent on TV! That can be calculated begining of every 6 months and number of people visiting the home, how long they stay at home, and many more such attributes can be taken into account. (This way u can avoid any surprise visits to ur home! - added advantage). There should be lease agreement and if u break that, u need to give 30 day notice or else a penality as applicable! And to promote, there can be offers like free night and weekends, haan of course National holidays too! Hey how about Virtualization in TV sets? Like u can watch a particular channel for a limitted period of time as trial with limitted ads and no climax scene or divert a channel from exisitng channel to another "stupid box"(extreme virtualization) so u will be paying for 1 channel but watching virtually 'n' number of channels depending on number of TV sets u have!!!!

Viswanath said...

There are a number of attempts by powerful media companies to take away the freedom we usually used to have before everything was digitised. A few media companies want to own our whole culture and control what we see and what we don't.

I kind of like the work the Electronic Frontier Foundation ( is doing to protect the rights of individuals in the digital age.

I also like the work being done by Creative Commons ( in helping the commons create content and distribute it in a way that it cannot be controlled by any media company.

They may not be the best options, but atleast, they are a good start. But I do really hope that things will be better and these movements will grow stronger with time.