Philips files for patent to stop people skipping ads

More insanity. According to Ars Technica, the troubled electronics giant Philips has filed a patent application for a device which prevents a user from changing the channel during commercials.

It’s a given that the TV networks need to somehow generate revenue in order to produce content. With commercials becoming less lucrative, TV has borrowed a dirty page from the movie industry and begun engaging in product placement within the programs themselves.

As a result, in the past few years, we’ve seen sitcom plots involving competition for a role in an Herbal Essences TV ad, various characters discussing how much they enjoyed “Memoirs of a Geisha,” and a wife waxing philosophical about a Wal-Mart perfume as her husband lays dying a few feet away. Enter Philips, a company prepared to put its foot down on that sort of artistic compromise.

The device Philips envisions would scan any broadcast or recording for digital signals labeled as commercial content. Just as many new DVDs begin by displaying ads that the viewer cannot bypass, a channel running a commercial would be locked until that commercial was over. Similarly, the fast-forward or skip controls on your digital video recorder would be disabled while a commercial is playing…