New DVRs will use cameras and microphones to monitor their owners

Reuters / Steve Marcus

Think Google ad targeting is crossing the line? Verizon filed a patent for a cable television box that uses sensors to record what you’re doing and target you with specific advertisements that relate to your mood.

The telecom giant Verizon wants to know you better. Much better. The company just registered a patent for its DVR of the future. The set-top box would use a depth sensor, an image sensor, an audio sensor and a thermal sensor to determine what those watching television are doing. If a couple is having an argument in front of the TV, a marriage counseling ad may come up. If two people are cozying up, Verizon may put up an ad for contraceptives or a romantic getaway.

The sensors would also be able to detect where someone is looking. If the viewer is watching a certain ad, Verizon might use that as an indicator to play similar ads in the future.

“If detection facility detects one or more words spoken by a user (e.g. while talking to another user within the same room or on the telephone), advertising facility may utilize the one or more words spoken by the user to search for and/or select an advertisement associated with the one or more words,” Verizon wrote in its application.

Rather than watching television, television will be watching its viewers.

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