A new front has been opened in technology’s war on TV advertising, via a device which claims to mute TV commercials on-the-fly.
Mutr plugs into a TV or audio system, detects the digital fingerprints of TV commercials, and either mutes the TV or plays audio from a different source, for the duration of the ad break.
Such devices have been attempted before, usually triggered by the louder, compressed audio characteristics of ads. But Mutr appears* to be more advanced, in that it will learn the digital fingerprints of commercials to become more effective over time.
Mutr also seems* to grow and share its database of commercial fingerprints through a subscription model and networking capabilities.
The device’s designers claim it has been three years in development and prototyping, and they are now seeking crowdfunding to proceed to to manufacturing.
From my perspective, I’d be surprised if there’s much of a market for such a device… let alone one that requires an ongoing subscription payment. So many people are “second screening” in their lounge rooms, and watching their favourite TV series on Netflix and its competitors on demand.
The “need” to mute TV commercials – if there ever was one – is already diminished. It will only shrink further into the future.
* Footnote: There is scant technical information available on Mutr’s website. I’m inferring how the device works from their promotional videos, the apparent network ports on the device, and the fact that they are offering a “free one-year subscription” in their crowd-funding campaign.