Banish TiVo Pause Menu Ads

Dave Zatz —  July 25, 2014

Next up in our buy more TiVo series are steps to hide intrusive pause menu advertising. While TiVo produces arguably the best DVR, beyond consumer sales and service, the company augments revenue by leveraging their userbase for advertising and analytics. The vast majority of these initiatives are applied with a soft touch, but pause menu ads clearly cross the line by layering paid promos atop television content. As TiVo says,

Want to get their full attention? The TiVo® Pause Menu gives advertisers an unprecedented opportunity to reach viewers as they are tuned-in and interacting with live and time-shifted programming. When viewers hit pause, additional ad messaging appears in a screen overlay, making it easy and convenient for them to access your ad content.

Pause menu advertising can be manually banished on a per show basis by clicking the down arrow to “hide extras” … but there is a more efficient, automated method. Assuming you’re OK doing away with the progress bar. Long before the current regime, TiVo implemented a variety of “Kickstart” and backdoor codes that remain in effect. And, one in particular, has become extra useful given TiVo’s increased on-screen advertising. The easiest way to implement this on Roamio, Premiere, and Series 3 hardware is when an ad surfaces while pausing recorded programming or a Showcase video ad:

  • Click Pause while viewing
  • Click Down to clear the existing ad
  • Click Select-Play-Select-Pause-Select

It may take a couple tries to get the code correctly entered. But you’ll know you got it right when you hear the TiVo bong. For further confirmation, pausing content should now quick-clear the progress bar… along with any associated advertising. It’s a win-win as TiVo gets the advertising “impression” but you’re unlikely to be bothered given the speed at which it vanishes. Just remember, you’ll have to reapply the code after each infrequent TiVo reboot. Power users should check out kmttg – it provides a ton of useful functionality, including the ability to reliably send backdoor commands such as this SPSPS Easter egg, from computer-to-TiVo without futzing with button press and content timing.

23 responses to Banish TiVo Pause Menu Ads

  1. Thanks for the tip. Are there a list of Tivo tips like this that I can keep for reference?

  2. Yah, I linked “kickstart” and “backdoor” in the article – that covers most of them.

  3. Thanks. Unfortunately, I saw it AFTER I posted.

  4. “Yah, I linked “kickstart” and “backdoor” in the article – that covers most of them.”

    The backdoor to disable HDCP could come in handy if you’ve got a Slingbox.

    And the backdoor to receive channels you haven’t paid your cableco for is pretty cool.

    Finally, given the backdoor to enable Amazon streaming, I don’t understand why everybody has been complaining about the wait.

  5. Actually, there is or was a backdoor for Amazon on a Mini… but it’s not the Amazon Instant streaming we really want and just plays downloaded content from the hub DVR.

  6. “And the backdoor to receive channels you haven’t paid your cableco for is pretty cool.”

    Wait. What? Where is that one?

  7. “And the backdoor to receive channels you haven’t paid your cableco for is pretty cool … Wait. What? Where is that one?”

    Look at the list again. It’s right next to the one that lets you receive Netflix bandwidth from FIOS on your TiVo at the actual speed you’ve paid for.

  8. The backdoor to Enable Roku Emulation Mode is pretty cool too. Speed seems to be somewhere between a Roku 2XS and a Roku 3. (Only works on Roamio and Mini. And the lack of a “star” button on the TiVo remote is a small impediment.)

  9. “Look at the list again. It’s right next to the one that lets you receive Netflix bandwidth from FIOS on your TiVo at the actual speed you’ve paid for.”

    I’m not even finding the word Netflix in that list. Is this in the “backdoor codes” link?

  10. Xander, Chucky is just being silly.

  11. Well don’t I feel stupid…

  12. “Well don’t I feel stupid…”

    Certainly not my intention. Apologies. I really did try to make them outlandish enough to prevent such an outcome.

    But back to reality: while you should definitely be very careful on the kickstart commands, as they can really screw up your box if you don’t exactly follow instructions, the kickstart command to get free lifetime service on your box is worth investigating…

  13. “Xander, Chucky is just being silly.”

    I guess you could call it that.

  14. Chucky;
    My Roamio came with lifetime, but can I use the backdoor to push lifetime to my Series IV TiVo?????

    Come on Dave, when you have a thread on removing that horrible, horrible AD on your pause screen that needs a whole button push to go away if you really do want to see the paused content, what did you expect :D :P

  15. ZeoTiVo:
    No, your old TiVo never wants Roamio’s “lifetime” pushed into its backdoor. Never.

    Tell Roamio to stop asking ;)

  16. Dave — you need a LIKE button for the comments :D

  17. “My Roamio came with lifetime, but can I use the backdoor to push lifetime to my Series IV TiVo?????”

    No. A thousand times no.

    It’s a kickstart command, not a backdoor command.

    Once again, follow all instructions carefully with kickstart commands, or you can brick your unit.

  18. Well… using the proper backdoor command could kickstart your weekend. ;)

    Enjoy your weekend folks!

  19. Dave – You sold too many TiVo boxes! Promotion sold out!

  20. Well, hell – my new yacht wasn’t yet fully funded. I need to move more of these things! ;) Guess I’m updating links this morning.

  21. Personally I see no big deal with the pause ads since they are unobtrusive. The vast majority of time when I pause, it is because I am doing something else. So I could not care less what is on the screen. And for the times I pause to see something on the screen, the pause ad is easy to get rid of like always. So it has never been an issue for me,

  22. It looks like removing the ads removed the entire bar showing a show’s progress on my tivo. Is there a way to regain the pause bar?

  23. Ashely, rebooting the TiVo will restore the progress bar.