Feature request: Automatically skip ads


#1

The ad detection is spot on - always gets it right. Slightly annoying to have to double click the remote each time. Can you add the feature to automatically skip the ads as soon as playback gets to them?


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#2

You're having a better experience than we. I'd say commercial detection gets it wrong on ±20% of the recordings, for us.


#3

For me it's very good, but not 100%. Plus if it detects an adver break when there's not one, currently I don't even notice, whereas if it automatically skipped it would be annoying.

Saying that, it would be ace if it could automatically skip past the ads to the start of a recording so that the 2/3 min buffer is automatically skipped.


#4

I also request the option to automatically skip ads. No need to make the user grab the remote every time a commercial starts.

The playback progress bar should pop-up when a skip happens to show the user what's going on. That makes it easier for the user to figure out when a skip happens and if something was accidentally skipped, and they can rewind and watch.

Tablo and Plex are both doing auto commercial skip. This is now a standard feature on competitive applications.

As for the ReplayTV "we can't do this" legal argument, that's more an excuse for not implementing the feature instead of a valid reason. First of all, there was never ruling against SonicBlue/ReplayTV. Secondly, the main issue with ReplayTV was the sharing of copyrighted content between users, which is pretty clearly a copyright issue. Future legal rulings made it clear that copyright law does not apply to personal use commercial watching/skipping.

You should instead reference the Dish AutoHop case. The 9th Circuit Court ruling upheld the trial judge’s decision NOT to grant a preliminary injunction against Dish AutoHop. One of the many reasons stated by the 9th was that the broadcasters DO NOT OWN the copyrights to the commercials. It was an interesting ruling because it made it pretty clear the broadcasters were going to lose. The 9th cited, and subsequently undercut, every point the broadcasters put forward. Eventually, all the broadcasters dropped their suits against Dish and moved on.

See this comment on ZatzNotFunny for more details on the legal aspects of why this auto-commercial skipping isn't an issue for in-the-home OTA personal use recordings.


#5

Beware of the law of unintended consequences. I think it not unreasonable to expect that, if enough devices with auto-skip hit the market, and go into use, the broadcasters, at the behest of the advertisers, will simply do-away with "blank spots" that allow commercial detection to work, and we'll lose commercial skip entirely. Or add blanks between commercials, thus causing commercials to be detected as content.

Furthermore: I don't know about the other devices, but I've found Channels' commercial detection to be less than 100% accurate.


#6

Until a larger more mainstream company decides to embrace auto skip, I'd imagine a small company like Channels with limited resources wouldn't risk it. Not enough upside to it.


#7

Withholding useful features from Channels is not going to prevent "unintended consequences" of broadcasters eliminating blank spots between shows and commercials. Technology will always progressing. There is already a more advanced open-source technology being developed to identify commercials using audio fingerprinting, similar to what Shazam does for music identification. This method is both more accurate and less resource-intensive than the existing video analysis method used by ComSkip. Technology will always progress, and fear/uncertainty about what "might happen" isn't enough of a reason to stop the development of useful (and optional) user features.

I've been enjoying auto commercial skip with SageTV and ComSkip for well over 10 years. If you don't recall, SageTV was purchased by Google, there's a big company relationship. While commercial Detection isn't 100% accurate, I much prefer picking up the remote on the more rare instance of an incorrect skip, versus the much more frequent occurrence of each and every commercial break requiring a manual skip.

For me, the majority of the accidentally skipped portions of shows are the ending clips played during the credits at the end of shows. That issue can be avoided by configuring ComSkip (through the comskip.ini file) to not detect commercials during the last 30 seconds of recordings. And if it does turn out to be worthless credits or a commercial, it doesn't matter, the show is over anyway.


#8

No commercial detection is 100% accurate. I'm using MCEBuddy with a customized 'comskip ini' file (one of many provided by the community) that is pretty darn good. Still... I'd put it at 90-95% accurate (depending on the channel/content) - and that's close enough.

If I want 100% - I use VideoReDo. Nuff Said.


#9

[ClubChannels] Until a larger more mainstream company decides to embrace auto skip, I'd imagine a small company like Channels with limited resources wouldn't risk it. Not enough upside to it.

I think that Dish Network Hopper Auto-hop and the Google acquisition of SageTV are sufficiently large benchmarks.


#10

I agree that autoskip should be an option. It can even be turned off by default. It really would be a nice feature and convenience if we could automatically skip past commercials. And the best part about Channels, unlike Plex, is that the commercials would only be flagged and skipped but not actually be removed. That would give us the ability to go back and watch content if part of the show was incorrectly flagged as a commercial.


#11

Dish was in a lawsuit for years with Fox because of the auto skip. I imagine it's just not worth the distraction for the Channels team to pursue such a feature, at least not now.


#12

In the end... commercial detection/removal/avoidance isn't an exact science. Get close and be happy. If Channels dumps a lot of time and effort into something like this it would be a huge waste of time.

It's a very complicated process, prone to failure, for many reasons, like Warp Drive. Looks good on paper, but the machine just won't go that fast (at least not the way we're doing it)...

:wink:


#13

Yes, Dish was in a lawsuit, and the suit was dismissed when the circuit court ruled in favor of Dish. The legality of this has been decided. And the reason Dish was targeted in the first place was because the had content redistribution deals with the companies who initiated the lawsuit. For companies such as Channels, Tablo, Plex, etc, who do not have redistribution contracts, this all also falls under fair use anyway, which makes it even less of risk.

Implementing commercial detection is a lot of work - and that work is done. Implementing auto-skip of already detected commercials is a trivial amount of development effort in comparison. And auto-skip should be optional. Allow the users who want it to enable it, and leave it disable for those who would rather control it manually.