Commercial Detection Experiences


Do you only use the video portion of the stream to determine where commercial breaks are? What about analyzing the audio and/or closed captioning as well? For instance, it's a well-known phenomenon that commercials are often louder than the program material. The closed captioning might also provide some nice clues via keywords (eg. commercials will have a lot of sale-pitch language).

The trick, I guess, would be how to combine the results of the 3 analyses.


Comskip does use all of these when determining commercials. Audio changes (channel layout and volume level changes) are used, as is the presence of closed captions (although commercials may have captions).


Largely seems to work great on the main UK channels.

However, when using the auto-skip option in the latest Apple TV and iOS betas (3.8.149) on a Channel 5 show recorded last night ("Flight MH370 5 Years On"), it is skipping a couple of seconds too soon, so you miss the last few words of the programme, before a break.

DVR Server: 2018.11.20.2224


Updating the DVR to the latest 2019.03 pre-release will fix the alignment issue causing a couple seconds of content to be missed.


I found the latest (Beta) version of Channels DVR comskip to be quite accurate.

I don't usually use any of my Channels clients to view, but instead use the DVR UI and VRD to remove comms for archiving to my NAS.

I find it quite accurate, within a few frames (seconds), when it's accurate.

There are some times where it misses, but it has always erred by leaving comm blocks in instead of removing show blocks and I appreciate that.

This makes my job easier by allowing me to remove comm blocks instead of figuring out and adding show blocks.


You could try a wayz approach to skipping commercials. As users manually skip commercials you could upload that data and use it with machine learning to help the user community find the commercial breaks. A user who watches the show later would benefit from better and more accurate commercial detection using the knowledge and practice of other users.


Maybe there is some open source facial recognition. If the faces detected are characters in the show... Another way may be to examine a spectrograph f the last few frames to look for the same mix and intensity of colors.. volume is another indicator of commercials (they always seem louder).. Any one of these is unreliable, but taken together they could provide a good probability of the end of commercials.


Has anyone been doing a lot of commercial edits to their library? We are looking for a couple volunteers who have a lot of recordings marked and want to submit their data to help us train our commercial detector. You will need a Mac with homebrew installed. PM if you are interested.


Appears that Discovery channel found a way to fool comskip.
4:45 commercial block played in a PIP window so logo never disappears.


Discovering new ways to annoy viewers.

If I have to stick a square of black tape to the screen to watch TV - I'll just read books, thanks.
(I guess even VRD has no ammo for that enemy)



Yeah, that'd be annoying.

Reminds me of a conversation in which a marketer was saying "we're going to start doing this, that and this other thing to overcome people skipping or otherwise ignoring commercials." To which I replied: "Become annoying enough, and people will just stop watching. Period. Then where will you be?"

One of the things he promised, and they've been doing it for a few years, is throwing adverts up in the corner, in bottom banners, or as crawls during the programming. So far it's been limited to stations/networks advertising for themselves, and generally only at program resumption. I figure eventually product adverts will appear in those--and probably eventually smack in the middle of programming. About that time I think I'll have to abandon TV entirely.


I recorded 3 Seasons of Channel Zero last Halloween from The SyFy Channel. They had their own 'program' running in the lower third THE WHOLE TIME! It was so dam annoying I couldn't watch it. I downloaded those 3 seasons 'from somewhere else'.

That's what this consumer does when things go horribly stupid.


Actually it does.
I use it when I want to archive something or fix glitches in something I want to watch.
I was surprised to see the "scene marks" (red vertical lines) delineating the PIP commerical in VRD.
I just marked them to cut that portion and watched the show, skipping that part that was all PIP commercial (except for some text on the left side that explained about trees, deer, etc.) Not really part of the show.

Edited to say this isn't part of Channels DVR, except for it producing an edl file as part of its EDL hack and a VRD Project output file by my hacking the comskip.ini file to use VRD to view this. VRD is a Windows only program that I use for video editing things I will archive, or to clean up glitches in transport stream files recorded by various DVR's, like an HDHomeRum or TiVo.

Right now I'm recording random things to test comskip and transcoding on my new nas.

Just tried to edit the blocks on this recording using Channels DVR Web UI and it did allow me to select that PIP block that was marked as a show segment and make it a commercial segment.

Awesome :+1:


How do I get this beta to test it out? I'm already using the autoskip beta.


On your Channels DVR Web UI, hold down shift key while clicking the Check For Update button


Is there a way to install a beta version from a mobile device?


I don't know the normal command to do it, but I know this will work if you can ssh in but it's only for the current version.

curl -XPUT

Normally I use VNC to log in and use that to shift+click on my iPhone or iPad.


That worked! Are the releases listed somewhere so that I could know the version number in the future?


When you find out, let us know :grin:
It's like rolling the dice, never know what will come up or why.
Just found 2019.03.15.1810 now


If you want to be on the latest beta, use:

curl -XPUT