Where’s my tinfoil? Comcast’s senior VP of user experience, Gerard Kunkel, apparently wants to put a camera in your cable box and use it to serve ads.
If you have some tinfoil handy, now might be a good time to fashion a hat. At the Digital Living Room conference today, Gerard Kunkel, Comcast’s senior VP of user experience, told me the cable company is experimenting with different camera technologies built into devices so it can know who’s in your living room.
The idea being that if you turn on your cable box, it recognizes you and pulls up shows already in your profile or makes recommendations. If parents are watching TV with their children, for example, parental controls could appear to block certain content from appearing on the screen. Kunkel also said this type of monitoring is the “holy grail” because it could help serve up specifically tailored ads. Yikes.
Kunkel said the system wouldn’t be based on facial recognition, so there wouldn’t be a picture of you on file (we hope). Instead, it would distinguish between different members of your household by recognizing body forms. He stressed that the system is still in the experimental phase, that there hasn’t been consumer testing, and that any rollout “must add value” to the viewing experience beyond serving ads.
Do not want. New TeeVee also has a video interview with Mr. Kunkel in which he talks about the TiVo rollout in Boston and other cableriffic topics. Seems like a nice guy, but I wouldn’t let him put a camera in my living room.