Roku wants to show ads on your TV when you're idle based on a new patent

Roku wants to show ads on your TV when you're idle based on a new patent

Roku, the technology company behind the smart TV operating systems found in some TV brands, the Roku Channel, and even Its own line of televisionscontinues to look for ways to take advantage of the live streaming era. New patent It reveals that it is looking to show ads on its TVs to consumers when the devices are idle, specifically for third-party devices connected to its TVs via HDMI such as gaming consoles and streaming sticks.

Spotted by Lowpass Newsletter, writer Janko Roettgers discovered that Roku has filed a new patent called “Dedicated Ad Insertion for HDMI.” The patent describes a new system that allows Roku to display ads on its smart TVs when they are idle. For example, if you're playing a game on your PS5 or watching a show or movie on your Apple TV and want to pause for any reason, whether for a bathroom break or to grab a snack, your TV will show an ad.

One way Roku suggests to detect when a TV is idle is to monitor things like audio from the device and capture frames from the video feed to indicate that the TV has paused content. Roku did not immediately respond to IGN's request for comment.

One of the few images of a proposal Roku has made to implement advertising on its TVs when an HDMI-connected third-party device goes idle. | Image credit: Roku

This is one of many ways Roku is trying to incorporate advertising beyond its traditional Roku Channel method. Last year, the company announced this In partnership with Best Buy Not only will the affordable smart TVs be sold exclusively at the retail chain, but these TVs will also show ads to consumers based on their previous purchase history from Best Buy.

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But Roku uses advertising as its main source of revenue, selling its devices at a loss, as the company's fiscal year 2023 earnings report revealed. It lost $44 million last year On selling devices. However, as The Motley Fool pointed out in an article earlier this year, Roku doesn't really make money on hardware but on Its advertising work.

Given the suggestion of placing ads on a third-party device, this concept seems intrusive. It can seem like a strange paradox to those who have, say, a Roku TV but have a Fire TV Stick connected to an HDMI port. Even if they pay for ad-free Prime Video or Max and pause the content, they still aren't avoiding ads under this patent proposal.

However, technology companies are constantly filing patents, so this proposal may not eventually become a feature.

Taylor is a reporter at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @Ty Nexter.

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