Auto skip commercials?


Using the Siri remote? What happens when you click the right side of the remote twice?


On tip for those using a Harmony remote: If you program a button to "skip forward’ (or something like that I’ll need to check my setup when I get home, but it’s essentially “next track” instead of “fast forward”) that’ll let you skip through commercials without the double tap. I actually have my “channel up” and “channel down” buttons programs to be skip forward/backward and it works very nicely with Channels.


I know the developers have legal concerns about auto skipping, but I just wanted to mention that Plex now has the option to auto remove commercials where it will remove the commercials after recording. I’m still holding out hope that the devs would reconsider and have an option that doesn’t require me to pick up the remote and double tap!


I’ve been thinking about commercial detection a bit. And I have to wonder: Are other people having that much better a detection rate than I do? I would never want commercials to be cut out of the recording before I watch it. The false positive rate is WAY too high for that to be a useful feature. Even on it’s best day I have to rewind a little at least once on pretty much every recording I watch becuase the commercial detection would have cut out some of the actual show. Usually there’s at least one place where I have to rewind 30 seconds or even a few minutes because it got it wrong. If that has been removed from my recording I’d have just missed a large chunk of the show I was watching.

Are other people having that good a success rate than that they’d want to risk that?

Is there something I can do to improve the commercial detection in my recordings? Because if I can change some settings to get near-perfect commercial detection I would love to do that!

Final though on this: Are there any projects out there attempting to use machine learning for commercial detection? I’d happily spend some time manually marking out commercials in recordings to create training data, or even better would be a system where I could indicate when it got it wrong and have it improve over time! Seems like a perfect application of machine learning.


Yep, this is why we don’t auto remove commercials. Indexing and skipping gives you the ease of commercial skipping with the reliability of not losing any of your content.

Commercial detection will never be 100% so we don’t act like it is.


I actually like that the commercials are still in because of the markers. The markers act like chapter markers. So, for example, if I am watching Fallon, Colbert, 60 Minutes, etc and don’t like the segment, I know where I can scroll to instantly to go to the next one. Otherwise, it would be a guess or I would have to hit forward several times.


I’ve been using a Windows program called MCEBuddy to auto remove commercials from recordings I make on Channels. It uses the comskip to detect the commercials. It’s really versatile and can either leave the recording in the original format or convert it to save storage space. After using it for the past year the only problem I encounter is it sometimes leaves a commercial or two in a recording ever so often or you will hear a second of audio from the commercial between cuts. It hasn’t cut any actual material from the shows but every so often it cuts the last few seconds from the end of a show. But that inconvienence far outweighs the inconvienence of having the pick the remote up to skip each commercial break. You should give it a shot!


I wish that was available for the Mac!


Just get Parallels for your Mac! I used MCE Buddy on my old Mac mini for awhile with a Parallels disc that I got cheap on eBay. But then I just bought an older i3 Windows desktop computer on Craigslist and I use that now for my DVR needs.


I was able to get MCE Buddy to work, but how to get Channels to recognize the file? It creates an MP4 file and I think Channels needs to somehow register it.


Make sure to uncheck any of the renaming options or channels won’t recognize the files. And leave the “Destination” part empty. It will warn you that “No destination directory provided, converted file will be placed in original video directory.” But just push ok.


If you have enough space on your hard drive I would just choose the Profile “HDHomerun Unprocessed” if you want the best picture quality. The file size is huge though. All it does is strip the commercials and doesn’t convert the file format so it doesn’t take any time at all. Mine can strip the commercials for an hour program in about 25 min (click Show History on the main page in top left to see how long each one is taking to convert).


Thanks. Channels video file is an .mpg while MCE Buddy is .mp4. Are you saying I can select “HDHomerun Unprocess” in MCE Buddy? I don’t see that. Perhaps it is “WTV Unprocessed” or “VCD Unprocessed”?


Hmmm that should be an option in the “Profile” section. Might be only available in the paid “donator” version then.


Here is a thread on it…


Thanks so much for your help on this. I am using the free version. Not sure I want to spend the $30 for the full version just to test it out, so I will forgo this for now. If I get antsy with the need to simply click the ATV button twice to skip commercials, I’ll revisit.

Once again, thanks for your help.


I have seen a huge degradation in commercial detection with the 2018 Winter Olympics - probably 20% accuracy compared with “normal” television. PBS also has none of the “ads” detected.

I agree completely about the automated removal - a double click to skip is better for my use & the moving target of identifying advertisements.

I would rather see the inclusion of transcoding the MPEG-2 files.
Back in my years with SageTV, we could run comskip, transcode to h.264 & the comskip files worked on the transcoded file, providing easy commercial skipping, but a much reduced file footprint.


Brandonshire, your frustrations mirror my own. So as a developer who hates commercials I began working on a sideproject that is basically ‘Shazaam for ads’ with the aim to block 100% of LIVE TV ads.

The alpha version is impressive, it can detect ads in a Live TV broadcast instantly (in realtime) with very low false positives. Once detected it changes the channel for the duration of the adbreak. The system gets more accurate the more it is used and considers user error flagging, although I hesitate to call it AI - just a bunch of systems holding each other up.

Right now i’m building the prototype as an experimental IPTV player to gain access to the live stream’s future audio buffer… In future the ad detection system itself can be dropped into anywhere it is needed e.g. live streams or applied to recorded DVR files – where ever there is a microphone or access to raw audio data. Note that audio processing is magnitudes faster than MCEbuddy/commskip’s video logo and scene transition scheme (which also requires a complete file) but it will cost the user a tiny bit of bandwidth and short database searching time instead of heavy CPU processor time.

I have the same user handle on reddit where I provide updates to the project (anyone can check my post history for more info)


That’s awesome! I hope the project goes well. I’ll check in with your progress over on Reddit some time soon! It’d be great to at least have an alternative to ComSkip for this kind of thing (not that ComSkip is bad, I’d just like the option to try something with a differen approach to see if it might work better for the shows and networks that I watch).


Loving the advert detection in Channels, works well for me, but I agree that auto-skipping isn’t a sensible option until it’s 100% accurate.

However, how about automatically skipping to the start of the first non-advert block when you start watching a recording?

I’ve moved over to Channels from Freesat (UK). On Freesat I didn’t need to set DVR padding, as it seemed to automatically start and stop recording at the correct point, even if the program started early/late.

But with Freeview on Channels, I’ve noticed that without padding it regularly misses the start of a program.

So how about if Channels could automatically skip to the start of the program if it detects that it’s started inside an advert block? This way you could set 3 mins of start padding to be safe, but you wouldn’t have to manually skip them as Channels would do this for you.