We love TV. Really, we do. But, like most people, we’re less keen when the viewing experience is continually interrupted by ads.
As a publisher, we appreciate that monetization is necessary if you want to keep producing (or buying) content, and advertising is clearly one of the main revenue streams for TV channels. However, that doesn’t stop those ads being annoying and intrusive, which is what Playmute is hoping to solve if its Kickstarter campaign is successful.
In a nutshell, it’s an Android-based HDMI dongle you plug into your (regular) TV that allows you to clap, click your fingers or use the Playmute app to quickly cut away from the ads and watch something else – whether that’s a short YouTube clip, or another 5 minutes of that Netflix show that you just can’t stop watching.
Handily, as you wouldn’t want to miss your TV show returning from its ad break, it uses PIP (picture-in-picture) to keep your TV channel displayed in the bottom-right corner. As well as using other viewing apps, you could alternatively check out Twitter or play a game for a few minutes too.
You don’t need a smart TV to make use of it either; some apps come pre-installed on the device and more can be accessed via the Google Play store.
It really is a pretty smart idea, and it’s surprising that no one thought of it sooner, but as with all crowdfunding projects, you back them at your own risk. In this instance, that should be reasonably low (a spokesperson told us that the team has previous manufacturing experience and has already built a ‘rough around the edges’ working prototype), but it’s still caveat emptor if you’re considering taking the plunge.
The lowest pledge tier to nab you one of the devices will cost $99 and they are set to start shipping to backers in June next year. The company said Playmute will retail for $150 once the campaign is over.
While I can’t see myself wanting to watch just a few minutes of a film or TV show on Netflix, for example, I’d happily pass the time on YouTube or looking at social updates rather than watching the same ads endlessly.
➤ PLAYMUTE : The world’s first TV ad switcher [Kickstarter]