The 'PlayPerView Connector' is a device that you can hook up between your TV (or any other device) and the wall socket. It connects to the PlayPerView website on the internet (over WiFi) and it will determine when the connected device gets power. So for example: when the TV will play.
Every member of the household gets an account which can be filled with TV minutes. Minutes can be transferred between members like with a payment.
When someone wants to watch TV, he/she can use the PlayPerView app to activate the connector and power the device, aka 'watch TV'. The remaining minutes can be monitored on the app and when the minutes run out, the Connector automatically disconnects the device. So no more watching TV.
The Connector is a 3D printed case which will hold all the electronical components. Only 2 wire come out of it: one going to a wall socket, the other one going to the device you want to control.
This keeps all electronics neatly stored in a safe way and it also prevent 'investigative' family members from trying to bypass the system and getting hurt.
The casing for the Connector will be made available for via Thingiverse for home printing.
For the electronics, a cheap (to keep costs down) WiFi enabled development board will be used like the Particle Photon or Wemos D1.
A relay will be used to control the power to the connected device.
A set of color LEDs will be used to signal the number of left over minutes, the logged on user and so on.
Possibly a LED screen can be used to provide more information on the device.
A website will allow you to manage the entire system.
The first function of the app it to provide everyone with an accountthat can contain minutes to activate the Connector and power the device. Once a minute is spent, this value returns to the Mom or Dad account for re-issuing.
The website will also allow you to create a list of chores and tasks, and assign a number of minutes to this item. This way, children can pick chores of the list to earn more minutes.
Children will also able to view their current account, their spending over the last weeks and so on, to get a notion of what money is and how to spend it or save for something.
The app website or app can then also be used to activate the device, so the TV watching can begin.
PlayPerView transactions: no cheating
In some families, the children are more tech-savvy then their parents. So, how can we make sure that minutes are earned and spent in a safe way, without allowing for cheating?
For this we will used a brand new and super safe technology: the BlockChain.
A BlockChain is a long list of blocks of transactions, which are all cryptographically secured with the content on the previous block. This list is monitored by a number of BlockChain nodes.
In order to change a previous transaction, you need to recalculate the entire BlockChain and do this faster than the other nodes can make the BlockChain grow, else you will be discovered as a fraud. This requires an immense amount of computing power and so the BlockChain is virtually uncrackable.
For storing the TV minutes, every member of the family receives a BlockChain wallet. Earning minutes will result in an amount being transferred from Dad's wallet to the children's wallet. Spending the minutes, transfers this amount back to Dad's account.
When the initial worldwide success has been processed by the developers, the website can be extended in a number of ways.
For example: A lot of TV providers allow viewing the TV guide online, so interaction with this would open up new possibilities.
Children can choose which programs to record, from inside the website, so they can view them later. They can learn how to manage the available recording storage and for example will need to choose which of 374 episodes to delete from their collection.
The Connector can also be extended to signal the start of a certain program. For example, after playing a game with the family, it can be relaxing for mom and dad to watch some episode on TV with the entire family, preparing the kids to go to bed.
And off course, for mom and dad, an unlimited amount of TV minutes will be provided...