TiVo Automatic Commercial Skipping Debuts This Spring

An eagle-eyed TiVo Community Forum member caught a TiVo employee’s Facebook post that has revealed automated commercial skip will soon be available (pictured below). And, after reviewing with a source, I can confirm TiVo’s existing SkipMode will be expanded to include an “Auto Skip” option.

Once upgraded, DVR owners may be prompted to enable automatic TiVo commercial break skippage during recording playback and the feature can be toggled within the settings (pictured above). As to actual viewing mechanics, when TiVo detects an ad, a small “skip in progress” icon appears accompanied by a chime, followed by the video jump. Unlike the fully programmatic approach Channels and Tablo comskip capabilities will bring to customers later this year, TiVo’s solution remains human curated (at least partially) and thus a smaller subset of programming will be tagged (pictured at bottom) – think prime time on the major networks… which is, fortunately, a favorable scenario for cord cutters.

It’s also expected that TiVo’s big spring update will continue to refine and walk back portions of the much debated Hydra interface, including streamlining My Shows for more efficient perusal. The RC8 that’s rolling out now is merely a patch to the previously deployed Winter update, while the much more significant Spring software upgrade, with AutoSkip, is a bit further out.

38 thoughts on “TiVo Automatic Commercial Skipping Debuts This Spring”

  1. This feature would be very cool. Is it only on Hydra?

    I still haven’t “upgraded” to Hydra. Besides the big UI change, which I’m not sure I would like. I have heard that it breaks multi-room viewing? My wife and I rely on this feature quite a bit. And while I might try it on my Tivo, there’s NO WAY she will want Hydra on hers.

    Are users who don’t upgrade to Hydra really missing out on anything?

    Will there be a point in time where Tivo forces everyone to use Hydra?

  2. Wow!

    As someone who finally took the plunge (after months of trepidation) to upgrade to Experience 4, this is welcome news. Hydra is definitely not as bad as forum posts led me to believe. It’s quite snappy on my Roamio Plus, actually! And CEC, at least in my A/V setup, is a game-changer. It’s simplified my remote control situation considerably. And oh how nice it is to finally be on a TiVo with a consistent HDUI. It’s good to see TiVo is still fine-tuning their software and adding good enhancements. And getting a bit more aggressive in the comskip game.

    I’m curious to hear about what other new features might be coming in the Spring Update!

  3. (And I’m betting auto-comskip will remain a Hydra-exclusive feature. I just can’t see TiVo backporting it.)

  4. Yep, AutoSkip is Hydra only. Sounds like Encore’s pretty much done when it comes to new features.

  5. Finally!. I had a ReplayTV way back in the dinosaur ages and that was my favorite feature, it rarely got it wrong

  6. Has anyone gotten on a client beta for Fire Stick or the Apple TV apps they teased? I’d like that before auto-skip!

  7. Looks like that big old Skip button on the remote will become a waste of real estate.

    Here’s hoping they allow toggling AutoSkip via an extended press of the ‘D’ or ‘SKIP’ buttons, rather than having to drill-down into Preferences.

  8. I still haven’t “upgraded” to Hydra. … I have heard that it breaks multi-room viewing? My wife and I rely on this feature quite a bit.

    Hydra affects MRV (transfers) but not MRS (streaming). If you have boxes eligible for Hydra (Roamio or BOLT), you should already be mostly relying on MRS (streaming) for viewing remote content. If you have pre-Premiere DVRs, then it’s an issue since the direct transfer option has been removed from the Hydra UI and older boxes aren’t supported for TiVo Online-initiated transfers.

  9. Can someone convince me to upgrade or not upgrade yet? Not that I use my TiVo as much these days with so many other boxes full of streaming services and Plex.

    Roamio Plus
    TiVo mini
    TiVo mini vox

  10. Can someone convince me to upgrade or not upgrade yet to Hydra? Not that I use my TiVo as much these days with so many other boxes full of streaming services and Plex.

    Roamio Plus
    TiVo mini
    TiVo mini vox

  11. Re:

    … caught a quickly-deleted TiVo employee Facebook post

    Nothing’s been deleted; Shoop’s screen-cap’d comment is still in place, but you need to expand later comments to see it. (I’m away from my PC, using an iPhone/Safari, and don’t know how to copy a direct URL to a FB comment like I can from my PC.)

  12. Still not seeing it. But it’s entirely possible I don’t know how to use Facebook. I only have an account there, with no friends, for blog purposes.

    Update: I found it. Boy that was effortful. Facebook often does a nice job reinforcing why I shouldn’t spend any time there. Will update the post. Thank you.

  13. >My wife and I rely on this feature quite a bit. And while I might try it on my Tivo, >there’s NO WAY she will want Hydra on hers.

    Right, so if you upgrade one to Hydra, then the other needs to be upgraded in order to be able to share with it. So only upgrade one if you’re cool with upgrading both.

    >Are users who don’t upgrade to Hydra really missing out on anything?

    I vastly prefer to new interface, But the features I took the plunger for were CEC and auto-comskip. Both (for me, with my setup) were game-changers.

  14. Long time TiVo user who has been comfortable with ENCODE UI & multiple-room viewing (recordings & YouTube & Plex apps) with my mix of gen 1 & 2 Mini’s.
    Like the manual commercial skip reminders.

    Will changing to Hydra break anything if I want this autoskip?

  15. if you upgrade one to Hydra, then the other needs to be upgraded in order to be able to share with it.

    This is not the case for streaming between DVRs (MRS). A Hydra/TE4 DVR and an MRS-compatible Encore/TE3 DVR can stream content either way.

    Transfers are a different matter.

  16. Do they no longer care about the legal battles that ReplayTV went through for their automated commercial skipping feature?

    Personally, I don’t even want automatic commercial skip. I would really like automatic commercial scan though, and I don’t understand why they won’t implement that.

  17. For those with Harmony remotes the free If This Then That online service automates commercial skip already. Here is the “recipe” (applet, script, routine) that I use:

    https://ifttt.com/applets/Liwng6Ht

    [If the link is blocked or broken just search on ifttt for the keywords]

  18. Just hope it works better than the IFTTT implementation they’ve been beta’ing for awhile. It works maybe 50-60% if the time, so you have to wait and see if it triggers before skipping yourself.

  19. Not having auto skip is a small price to pay to be able to continue to use Gen3. Hydra no thanks. There is no way that is wife compatible.

  20. This is not the case for streaming between DVRs (MRS). A Hydra/TE4 DVR and an MRS-compatible Encore/TE3 DVR can stream content either way.

    Ah, thanks for that clarification — but my experience with my own TiVo Roamio upgrade to Hydra, which then required me to upgrade my TiVo Mini, had led me to believe otherwise. I guess then the “matching OS version” requirement only applies to Mini’s, not TiVo’s with their own storage. Good to know.

    My only regret with Hydra is waiting as long as I did.

  21. I’ve not upgraded to Hydra, and as long as they don’t support the transfer video option, don’t expect to do so.

    I’ve questioned the thought of buying a BOLT, but was concerned that it might come with the Hydra interface.

  22. I’ve avoided Hydra mainly because of the guide change to grid. I still prefer Live Guide, though I’m probably in the minority. Some of the other initial reasons I avoided Hydra have been addressed, or soon will be.

    Auto Commercial Skip is cool, but not enough of a big deal for me. Sometimes I watch shows without commercials, and forget at the break not to hit FF, such as on Netflix or Hulu, so having something to press out of muscle memory is good enough for me.

  23. Bolts come with Hydra, as do all TiVos. But you can downgrade them, I’ve done it several times now. Wife doesn’t like Hydra.

  24. So if I get Hydra on my Bolt and my wife stays with Classic Coke on her Roamio, we will still be able to do Multi-room viewing? That’s not broken in this case?

    And I can go back to Classic if I hate Hydra on the Bolt.

    I want to be very certain before I experiment with this.

    thanks!

  25. James:
    Dish cleared the legal road in regards to Auto-Skip. I don’t want to go into great detail of the 9th Circuit’s ruling to deny preliminary injunction of Dish’s AutoHop feature, pre-trial, but I can say that TiVo has nothing to worry about in regards to its Auto-Skip feature, nor does any other entity who implements an auto commercial skip feature, which is why a number of other media services/recorders offer it, as well. Do you remember the VCR’s that also had a Commercial Advance feature, both my Panasonic and JVC VCR’s had the feature, and I used it quite a bit. It was MAGIC in those VHS days. The broadcasters knew from day one when they filed their lawsuits that they were going to lose should they pursue beyond re-transmissions negotiations. Their lawsuits, which they all dropped, were about some form of leverage.

    As for the ReplayTV: while media cos. did not like the commercial skip feature, it was the SHARING feature that doomed ReplayTV: that was clearly a copyright violation, NOT covered under Fair Use or Personal and Private, and ReplayTV did not have the funds to soldier on. Thankfully, Dish had sufficiently deep pockets and was big enough to just add the AutoHop feature and deal with the legal defense once the broadcasters filed all their suits, and Dish implementing it legally, Dish knew AutoHop was not going away. They just had to go through the process of significant legal fees, and time was not a problem for Dish. With the clarification of the 9th Circuit on the ONLY point that media Cos. MIGHT prevail (and the 9th stated they would LOSE on that point, anyway), none of them are willing to spend a penny on expensive law firms for a doomed lawsuit against Auto Commercial Skip tech today. Now we have a number of DVR products, including TiVo offering such a great feature. Charlie Ergen was disruptive, yet again.

  26. I am with William C Bonner. In my case, I have PERFECTLY functioning S3’s (even the 648’s beautiful OLED display that I USE for verification almost everyday), S4, and S5 TiVo’s. I do use the transfer feature to move recordings around for storage or even VIEWING when an S3 is the PRIMARY DVR to record certain shows, and I want to view it at my S5 TiVo, and that is only possible as a TRANSFER–not a stream. And NO, I am not interested in the PC methods to transfer, etc. The onboard TiVo transfer feature works well and easy enough for me, and I don’t need to fire up a PC just to move ONE show.

    It is clear that TiVo continues to engineer obsolescence in older TiVo’s that are still perfectly good, functioning DVR’s, when it is NOT necessary to limit something like TRANSFERS. TiVo has been doing this to the S3’s for years. No reason for S3’s NOT to be still part of the the TiVo Online as it was before. These actions were designed to move people to buy new TiVo DVR’s by shutting down features, rather than just making the new models more compelling. I understand that TiVo does this most likely in desperation to survive, but it is still not an ethical practice.

  27. Of course TiVo implements this now. I only use my TiVos now for 2% of TV watching. FiOS video quality is so bad now that I had to switch to watching 98% of broadcast content from commercial free streaming services.

  28. As to the Hydra comments, the change makes other changes too, so I’m sure you need to upgrade to get this feature. Other changes that are nice is autoplaying the next show and an easier way to delete shows. I don’t usually like GUI changes just for the sake of being new and fresh, and these are not that. They are useful.

  29. With the new devices still being able to use the older Gen software speaks volumes. It would be interesting to see what the stats are of the connecting boxes. I would bet most are Gen 3. They just need to continue easy additions…such as Automatic Skipping to the Gen 3 software. It’s obviously what the majority prefers.

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