kh99 wrote:The company philosophy? They're trying to develop things that they can sell and make money, like every company. The thing you're talking about is hardly unethical - as much as everyone hates watching commericals, they actually pay for the content. If you think about it, the unethical thing is actually to take programming that's paid for by commericals and remove the commercials (or provide a way for the consumer to do so). Just because we're all used to being able to do it doesn't mean it's right.
I agree that the Philips brand is low-end.
Hardly unethical? If is so common, and they're "acting like every company," then why did they backpeddle? And why did they give that stu,pid explanation, which clearly has no connection to reality? Seriously, to ensure that people who want to watch commercials can continue to do so??? Is there something out there that prevents people from doing so? It is unethical because it takes over a primary function of the VCR/DVR, and takes over my time usage (which includes energy usage). Using your logic, it is then also ethical to make a TV that refuses to turn off unless the stations allows it to be turned off? How about one that doesn't allow you to change the channel until is a show is over? All these technologies, after all, do basically the same thing: Forces you to have something on TV you don't want.
A device exists in N Korea wherw The Great Leader's voice is played through a speaker in every home, and it can't be turned off.
The Supreme Court ruled that VCR and other recording devices were legal for personal use. In its ruling, it specified in that consumers should be allowed to watch a show when they want (time shift) and how they want. Among the examples, I've heard is the ability to fast forward past parts I find offensive or a waste of time -- or inappropriate for my children, i.e. scary news footage. If you want to lose that control, that's your choice -- but it's not mine. Sorry, but commercial gain is not an excuse to tell me how to use my appliance -- an appliance that I paid for, without any contribution from Philips.
As for your twisted logic that bypassing commercials is unethical, would you also extend your logic to walking out of the room? How about making phone calls during the ads? Or taking a bathroom break? If the only ethical thing is to watch the ads, then all those other actions are necessarily unethical. The only practical difference between walking out of the room and fast forwarding the ad is that I don't save time with the former. After all, both result in me not watching the ad. So your objection seems to be the consumer's ability to save time, which I guess you find unethical.
Furthermore, taking your logic one step further, we can also say that since ads pay for the programming, it would also be unethical to not buy the products featured. After all, what pays for the ads? Consumer purchases. Indeed, companies don't care if you don't watch their ads as long as you buy their products. So the bottom line is sales. So is everyone who don't buy the sponsors' products being unethical? Are poorer people then more unethical than wealthier people?
This is actually timely issue where I work, East Harlem, where there is a high rate of childhood obesity. There is currently a nationwide debate about how junk food and fast food ads affect the problem but he correlation is undeniable. So is it more unethical to expose children to those unhealthy ads (the view of most experts) or to skip the ads (which is your claim)?
The bottom line: Your ethics control what we watch, how we watch it, and how our time is allotted (ads take up 15 mins of a 60 min program, or 25%). That includes things we find offensive or inappropriate for our children, with the ultimate guide being money for the sponsor or what I call, "Corporate Intent." My ethics don't prevent companies from advertising, nor the ads' contents, nor networks from scheduling ads as they see fit. I only ask ads be treated like shows (or commercial DVD contents). Since I can fast forward a show, I should also be able to fast forward past an ad. Think about it.
Sorry for the length of this but this is an issue I've debated since college, and most recently as a community health advisor in East Harlem.