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cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT

HOW???

"and even at what volume:"
Once the TV mode is programmed the volume control commands are sent to the TV and not to the receiver...



hitachi369
Embrace Your Rights
Premium
join:2001-10-03
Grand Rapids, MI
kudos:4

It could pick up the IR signals from the remote either way.



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

said by hitachi369:

It could pick up the IR signals from the remote either way.

Only up/down with no reference level means absolutely nothing. Not to mention that the receiver may or may not catch signals intended for the TV and has no way of telling whether the TV has actually received them or not.

clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

TiVo boxes already do this. Every time I adjust the volume or mute (with the TiVo remote that controls my AV receiver), it sends an extra command at the end telling the box that I adjusted the volume.

I know this because the TiVo has an LED on the front that lights up when a command is received, and it blinks every time you touch the volume controls. It also sends data in real time over the web back to its mothership when you do just about anything. I've had some fun with TiVo and wireshark...



cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

...Or the led may just be an idiot light that says that it detected an IR signal, not that it does anything in particular with it. My HTPC has a IR receiver that blinks when it receives a signal, regardless if the computer actually does anything with it. It's actually pretty dumb as it indicates it picks up a lot of IR that ended up being IR noise coming from the plasma TV.



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to clone

said by clone:

TiVo boxes already do this. Every time I adjust the volume or mute (with the TiVo remote that controls my AV receiver), it sends an extra command at the end telling the box that I adjusted the volume.

Only sooner or later the box *WILL* lose track of your actual volume as for sure the number of steps for volume is different for AV receiver and TV box.
Ex ATT box is at volume 25 (max) and home theater at volume 25 (max 60). You keep pressing the vol+ key. ATT box stays at 25, HT goes to 50. Press the vol- key, HT goes to 20 , ATT box stops at 0....


hitachi369
Embrace Your Rights
Premium
join:2001-10-03
Grand Rapids, MI
kudos:4

Each device's remote would be sending a different signal.


clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
reply to cdru

No, it's not the "IR Blaster" kind of LED. It only blinks when you adjust volume using the TiVo-specific remote. For example, you hold the "VOL -" button for 3 seconds, when you let go it blinks. You hit mute, it blinks. It does not blink when you adjust the volume using the AV receiver's remote or a universal remote. It does not blink when receiving "random IR", only when it processes a valid command.

The remote specifically sends a command to the box letting it know you've adjusted the volume. It is not doing any volume adjustment on the box itself, this is only for tracking purposes. Additionally, as I already noted, it also sends this information back to the home server, in real time. Any command you send the unit is tracked over the internet in real time. Pause a TV show? Data sent. Rewind a TV show? Data sent. Skip a commercial? Data sent.

If you know anyone who knows how to use a packet sniffer and has a TiVo (not sure about other DVRs), it really is astonishing how much live information is transmitted back to the home office.

If you use a universal or stock remote to adjust volume, they will not be able to track it. Additionally, they don't want to know "how loud" you're listening to the programs. They want to know what times you raise or lower the volume from whatever the baseline level you are listening to the program at. With enough of this kind of data in aggregate, it can be very valuable to advertisers.


clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
reply to hitachi369

As I noted above, when using the remote that comes with the DVR, you will program it to control your audio device (TV or Receiver, whatever), then it will also send an extra command to the box to inform it you adjusted the volume.

Steps, etc. has no bearing. They only want to know at what times you raise, lower, or mute the sound. By how much, etc. is not important.


jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA
reply to cdru

clone used wireshark to see that information does actually get sent back to TiVo.



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to clone

said by clone:

As I noted above, when using the remote that comes with the DVR, you will program it to control your audio device (TV or Receiver, whatever), then it will also send an extra command to the box to inform it you adjusted the volume.

Steps, etc. has no bearing. They only want to know at what times you raise, lower, or mute the sound. By how much, etc. is not important.

I've just made a test and recorded the output of the remote (IR blasts) on the oscilloscope and compared to the remote of the AV receiver.
Let's put it this way: NO, IT DOESN'T SEND ANY DATA IT SHOULDN'T.
Case closed.

desarollo

join:2011-10-01
Monroe, MI
reply to cowboyro

Actually it does. Over time, a relative level is established and that is perfectly fine to determine when programming might be objectionable, salacious, interesting, too quiet or whatever. I doubt they really care that you're listening to your TV at 23 db. They do care that you cranked up the volume to pay attention to the person singing country music on American Idol.

Well, that's not entirely true. Hearing aid companies might want to know the exact level, but I doubt anyone else cares. The rest of the data, when coupled with everything else collected, helps paint a clearer picture.

With that said, any DVR that does this is out the door.


clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
reply to cowboyro

You compared the output of the TiVo Premiere Series4 XL remote with a stock remote from an AV receiver and you didn't find any difference?

I don't believe for a second that you did that, or you would know you are incorrect.



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

said by clone:

You compared the output of the TiVo Premiere Series4 XL remote with a stock remote from an AV receiver and you didn't find any difference?

I don't believe for a second that you did that, or you would know you are incorrect.

No, the output of the ATT remote. Remember the thread is about ATT, right?

clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

I have no idea how ATT is implementing it.

I was commenting above on how TiVo has already implemented this function (and has been doing it for years). You even quoted my post where I said TiVo. But hey, no harm, no foul.

I would assume that AT&T would need to do something similar, unless they are actually including a microphone, which would be far more nefarious in my opinion, and definitely a reason to get rid of the box. The remote signal monitoring I can handle.



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to desarollo

said by desarollo:

Actually it does. Over time, a relative level is established and that is perfectly fine to determine when programming might be objectionable, salacious, interesting, too quiet or whatever.

Or when the phone rings, or someone is talking, or you go to the kitchen... Yeah...
But anyway, in regards to ATT this is not the case since no info is being sent to the box.

BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to desarollo

Exactly. It's all about relativism, as the absolute level is irrelevant, as one person might have a small TV in a small room, while another might be using a beefy 7.1 surround receiver in a large room that is pushing a lot of power out for a similar volume level at the user's ear.

This article is pretty pointless, since TiVo has been doing this for about a decade.


SpHeRe31459

join:2002-10-09
Sacramento, CA
kudos:2
reply to clone

Very interesting, and rather disturbing that this is already implemented and without some kind of opt out. Is this disclosed anywhere in their terms of service? Like in some obscure clause? If not, I would imagine that's grounds for a law suit.


BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

If anyone uses a provider-owned DVR and expects it to NOT upload all their viewing habits, they are clearly an idiot.