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Roku’s idea of showing ads on your HDMI inputs seems like an inevitable hell

Vector collage of the Roku logo.
Illustration: The Verge

In this week’s edition of his Lowpass newsletter, Janko Roettgers covered a Roku patent that seems to telegraph that the company is planning some heavy advertising tactics for those who purchase Roku TV televisions. The patent centers around the idea of displaying ads on these TVs whenever they’re tuned to an HDMI input that’s paused or idle. Theoretically, this would allow Roku to present ads throughout your whole TV experience — and in places where it’s not viable to do so today. Your PS5, Xbox, Apple TV, or Blu-ray player could become yet another canvas for the company to continue growing its already-lucrative advertising business.

According to the patent, the company would use a number of different clues to determine when an HDMI…

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