TV ads under new technological assault

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.


One comment

  1. Considering my own household, except when I occasionally put the ABC News on, I never watch free to air anymore. Neither of my kids watch any at all. It is all Netflix, YouTube or similar subscription based services. So for about $30 / month in subscriptions I get a huge variety of quality content that is growing regularly. Now compare that to free to air, there has been no journalism content for years, the ‘current affairs’ programs are just commercials dressed up to look like news stories. The commercial channels have no credibility anymore and the local content is all low budget rubbish. So to your point, the demand is shrinking, I strongly agree. Being able to mute adds on a service fewer and fewer people watch is not problem worth solving.

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