…right as the action is building to a crescendo—the movie fades to a commercial. For the next minute, you’re forced to watch the commercial as the fast-forward button has suddenly stopped working. The unhappy experience is repeated two or three more times before the movie ends. The only way to avoid the interruption is to pay another buck or two to the company you rented from.
That’s the scenario envisioned in a patent application filed by IBM (and dug up by Zatz Not Funny!). When DVDs are inserted for playback, the disc would check to see if the viewer had purchased the ad-free version or the (presumably) lower-priced version with unskippable commercials. If it’s the latter, the disc player would phone home to an online service to download commercials or play ads embedded on the discs themselves.
They also explain that a likely venue for this horror show could be in DVD rentals. Pay more for the retail copy of Shrek 3 or half off for a special edition DVD with 5 minutes of commercials in the middle.