TiVo Sullies DVR Recordings with Video Ads

As I mentioned a mere 72 hours ago, TiVo’s been trialing additional advertising as part of a broader push to further monetize their platform. And now, andfy of the TiVo Community, has become an inadvertent beta tester of sluggish, lower res pre-roll video ads… that precede his DVR recordings. It looks (and feels) atrocious. See for yourself in the video embedded above.

When I play a recording the screen goes black with the spinning blue circle for a couple of seconds, then an advertisement plays for about 15 secs, then the recording starts. If you go back and play from the beginning you’ll see a different ad. The ones I remember seeing are for Toyota, Keurig and Amazon. It seems you can skip the ad by pressing fast forward but it’s not that seamless. […] But they look like SD low bitrate videos. Happened on every recording so far but there’s only been 5 recordings since I set it up.

Keep in mind TiVo has been a pioneer in this noxious space… they just haven’t executed as “well” as Roku and YouTube. But, before we collectively lose our minds, we’re likely missing some critical context here. As I previously suggested, in regards to TiVo+, more heavy handed advertising might be an effective way to lower the cost of entry – think reducing or dropping monthly fees, for those that choose. Also, pre-roll ads and commercial replacement are exactly the sort of the thing the cablecos wants to offer, so us retail customers may not even be the ultimate target audience.

UPDATE: Now we can lose our minds. Light Reading reached out to TiVo and it’s pretty much the worst case scenario.

“DVR advertising is going to be a permanent part of the service,” a TiVo spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Light Reading. “We expect to be fully rolled-out to all eligible retail devices within 90 days.” TiVo also confirmed that customers will be able to skip those pre-roll ads in much the same way they can skip commercials inserted in TV shows and movies recorded to the DVR.

So the ads are skippable. But, as currently implemented, it’s not going to be efficient… and may crash your box. LR inquired further with TiVo and will be updating their article to notate that Roamio, Bolt, and Vox hardware (running Hydra) will all receive the pre-roll treatment. And, given these new developments, I wonder if TiVo will reneging on their optional Hydra update promise. In any event, I’m hopeful the outcry helps them rethink this misguided strategy. You can’t sell ad impressions for customers you don’t have.

(Thanks for sharing the video andyf!)

View Comments

  • If there is a place for this, it is similar to the way the Kindle advertising works. Sell me a lower priced TiVo with ads or a higher priced one without. Then allow me to pay if I get the ad-supported TiVo and change my mind.

    If I paid full price for my TiVo AND am paying you a monthly fee, you had better not stop me from watching my shows so you can throw advertising at me. It's bait and switch at its worst.

  • If this becomes mandatory, I will cancel my service. Guaranteed, 100%.
    I am one of the people who have chosen to pay a monthly sub because I want TiVo to survive and a monthly revenue stream is one way to help that. If I had paid for lifetime and were forced into this, I would be livid.

    Shall we start a pool on how much of an increased monthly fee it will cost to not have to watch them?? Imagine requiring lifetimers to now pay monthly to avoid these.. Sorry, but I always assume these companies are going to do the dumbest and most consumer unfriendly thing possible and the majority of the time I am not wrong. What are they thinking?? This is dumb, period. Do they really need to run a trial to figure that out? If so, the company is being run by morons now.

  • Has TiVo ”jumped the shark”? I have loved the TiVo for almost 20 years. But I don’t like where it’s headed.

Published by
Dave Zatz