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TV Watermark Obliterator

To get rid of those pesky channel logos!
  [vote for,

I was watching digital TV today, which isn't something I often do because I don't have many channels, and none of them show anything worth watching anyway, when I started to get annoyed with the watermark in the top left corner obscuring my view of the picture! When I say obscuring, it was really just being a bit of a pest, and I started to wonder why they're only on cable, satellite and digital channels and not on terrestrial TV. I concluded that the reason for them was to stop people relaying their shows and claiming them as their own, as well as buggering up peoples' recordings too, which, to me, seems like the kind of thing most people want to get rid of!

My idea for a device that could do just this, is a small box that would sit underneath or above your TV and take care of the signal between the receiver and the television set. The digital box or aerial would plug into the device and then the device would plug into the TV. What this box would do, is download from a database, what current TV watermarks look like, and filter the colour and brightness of the pixels they appear in to show the original picture that would be underneath. These watermarks are nearly always transparent white designs, so as not to completely obscure the image underneath, which means they would be very easy to remove. To get a transparent image, which they do is brighten the image underneath by a certain number of tones, which remains the same on everyone pixel the design takes up. All this filter would do is darken the image back to its original state, and hey presto, no watermark!

This is the most simple solution I can think of, but I'm sure with modern technology there are ways that a sensor can look at images nearby the watermark and guess what colour the bits covered by watermarks should be. Right now I'm wondering why a lot of TVs don't have this built in already!

adr, May 28 2003


       They're called "bugs" and they are on 'terrestrial' TV here, in North America. The purpose is so you know what channel you're watching amid the sea of stations.   

       Why don't TVs have this built in already? I would guess because it doesn't bother most people.
waugsqueke, May 28 2003

       doesn't 5 do this? it gets on my nerves but I watch very little tv these days.
po, May 28 2003

       As screens get bigger and HDTV rolls around, I think you can expect to see much worse than watermarks. You'll start to see peripheral ads *during* the shows, just like the average web page.   

       I have nothing against the watermarks. Except when they start animating them, like the Sci Fi channel.
DrCurry, May 28 2003

       As more and more folks get things like TiVo and satellite/digital cable that have onscreen programming identifications, maybe this trend toward bugs will go away. But I wouldn't bet on it.   

       I think your idea is definitely doable as described, however two problems. One is some networks animate their bugs, especially for special events. FOX News has one with a flapping US flag logo in it.   

       Another is you'll get the networks mad at you if you do this. They will claim you are altering their copyrighted material in an unauthorized fashion. (They tried to use this argument against the commercial skipping technology in the ReplayTV DVR, arguing that their copyright covered both the show and the commercials as an aggregate presentation).
krelnik, May 28 2003

       It doesn't bother me if it's semi-transparent static logo in the corner. But it stinks when the movie has subtitles obscured by an opaque logo.
How about fixing TNN, too? They put a horizontal bar across the entire bottom of the screen, full of showtimes & trash, and squish the picture vertically to compensate for it. I can't get my Trek fix there -- TNN's short fat Picard looks like Charlie Brown.
Amos Kito, May 28 2003

       Paper watermarks serve as means of authentication. If you removed a televised "watermark," how would you know you watching the real channel (whatever)? It could be a counterfeit, posing as the channel you like, for some unknown but nefarious reason.
snarfyguy, May 28 2003

       The last thing I want is another bloody box by my TV. And the second that thing I want are more bloody wires trailing and tangling round the back of my TV.
my face your, May 28 2003

       That's to make you think the news is somehow really up to date. If you watch them, you'll see they're actually repeated every few minutes. (A real news ticker scrolls down, not across, and only shows new headlines as they come in.)
DrCurry, May 28 2003

       // TNN's short fat Picard looks like Charlie Brown. //   

       <Picard> Meesta Data, sometimes I feel thaht I shall neva have a friend, not in this whole secta of the gahlaxy.
<Data> Technically, Captain, that hypothesis is not correct. I estimate the probability of you finding a friend within five lightyears of this location at 1 in 400 million, 856 thousand, eight hundred and . . .
<Picard> Good Grief!
phundug, May 29 2003

       <Picard> Admiral, Why are you sending us to the Neutral Zone?
<Admiral> Mwr mwr, mwrr mwrr wrrrmm.

       <veering off-topic>The image of Troi sitting at her lemonade stand-cum-psychiatrist's office brings a smile to my face.   

       I think we would be better off going to the source, and persuading the networks to get rid of their overlays, either by boycotting their channels, or good old-fashioned coins-in-a-sock menacing.
friendlyfire, May 29 2003

       The point of bugs isn't to ensure that the viewer knows what network their watching. Any doofus worth his weight in TV Guides knows what channel he's on. The point of bugs is continuous branding of the viewing experience. If one were to watch an "quality" program, he is more likely to associate "quality" with that network if the connection is constantly reinforced.   

       In regards to the idea, I like it. A post-it note on the corner of the screen has always worked pretty well for me, though.
rapid transit, May 29 2003

       Baked, at least in my version of mplayer.   

       In "video filters" (man page for mplayer):   


       Suppresses a TV station logo by a simple interpolation of the surrounding pixels. Just set a rectangle covering the logo and watch it disappear (and sometimes something even uglier appear - your mileage may vary).
jubilex, May 27 2007

       You do know this is so seriously baked already that it's like suggesting a new invention called "E-Mail" in the 90's :-) I'm not even going to post links, there are so many of them. Except maybe www.google.com which is a useful link worth remembering.   

       Oh wait! May *2003*??! OK, maybe not so baked back then :-) Retrospectively, "Nice one!" :-)
gtoal, May 27 2007

       Is it just me, or do people keep subliminally seeing the word "vibrator" when they half-glance at this title in the "recent" list?
MaxwellBuchanan, May 27 2007


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