Verizon just filed a patent for quite the big brother-ish DVR tech, reports Arstechnica. The Patent is for a DVR that can can watch and listen to the goings-on in your living room. Examples of how this can be used are suggested, sounds of arguing will prompt marriage counseling ads, while sounds of cuddling prompts ads for contraceptives. Big brother want you to stay together but don't want you breeding.
Verizon is far from the first company to think of this unassailably creepy use for a set-top box. Comcast patented similar monitoring technology in 2008 for recommending content based on people it recognizes in the room; Google proposed yet another patent for Google TV that would use audio and video recorders to figure out how many people in a room are watching the current broadcast.
Since consumers find this rather creepy, nobody is using this tech yet (as far as we know).
I bet it'll sell if it's repackaged as the TV-baby-sitter that actually watches the kid....