Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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TV Surf Helper

Let's you know what people in your area are watching.
  [vote for,

I've recently switched to cable modem and I've had cable tv service for many years. I have so many channels that I spend too much of my time surfing. I find it hard to choose one channel to leave it on. With my new high speed internet I understand now how much info, and how fast, we are sending info back and forth through the cable line. So I've decided that it should be posssible for the cable company to offer me a channel that gives me feedback on what everyone else is watching, making it easier for me to decide what i might want to choose.

It would simply show what the people in my area, with my channels are watching, on a percentage basis. AN option would be autopilot/ stay on the most watched channel, which would get wild if 2 channels were running even. Updates should be at least every minute. I don't think this would have to be a issue of privacy violation , but, if so, it could start with just customers who sign up for the service. I would, and would use it a lot to see what is hot in my area when I don't care to surf, just watch what people are watching.

oyea6, Oct 09 2003

Residential Gateway http://www.nlc.com/...pdfs/rg2000.qxd.pdf
If you happen to be curious about my set top box [half, Oct 04 2004]


       Won't work. The television is a one-way communication and no information is sent back to the cable company. They have no way of knowing what people are watching.
waugsqueke, Oct 09 2003

       On straight analog cable, the above is true. But most cable companies (in my area at least) are switching to set-top boxes so they can offer advanced services like pay-per-view, digital music, and so on. With a box, they most certainly can (and probably are) collecting information on what you are tuning into.   

       I know my cable box does some sort of bidirection communication, because I can order pay per view using on-screen menus and it knows to bill me somehow. There is no phone line connected to the box, just the cable.   

       I like the idea.   

       You might find out you don't like the same things as your neighbors, but you learn something about them nonetheless. (I'll suppress my knee-jerk urge to say "stop channel surfing and buy a digital video recorder").
krelnik, Oct 09 2003

       It is as [krelnik] says. With my digital cable, the "tuning" is done at the head end. When I change the channel, a request is sent to my "gateway" box via UHF RF signal then back to the cable company (via ATM protocol) which in turn changes the content of the requested one of 3 MP2 streams that are decoded by the set top box and distributed as 3 RF channels through my home's coaxial wiring. The cable company should definitely be able to tell what my gateway box is tuned to.   

       I rarely watch all 3 streams at once, however. One is dedicated to the VCR and rarely gets used. It might appear that I'm watching Sesame Street when actually I'm watching Spongebob.
half, Oct 09 2003

       How about code numbers which let you see what your friend is watching on TV, without having to ask him over the phone?   

       This way you'd know if you need to bother watching something in order to be able to talk about it tomorrow.
phundug, Oct 09 2003

       Backchannel or backhaul has been a feature of digital cable since its inception.
bristolz, Oct 09 2003


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