Tablo Upgrades DVR Commercial Skip

If ya wanna skip television commercials, truly skip, not just fast forward, you’re going to need to host your own DVR — like Channels, TiVo, or Tablo — because there’s no way your cable company nor your online streaming provider is going to allow this. Sadly, the feature is often hit or miss due to a variety of technological challenges (and/or limited human involvement). As such, “Project Sweetums” has just enabled a variety of notable enhancements to Tablo’s ad-skipping service:

  • Increased Accuracy for Commercial Detection
    • Detection of ‘end of program’ content
    • Detection on recordings with mild broadcast errors
    • Detection of ‘sandwiched’ content
    • Customized detection for popular programs
    • Identification of unique program/commercial formats
  • News Now Eligible for Automatic Commercial Skip Processing

Given the additional commercial skip fee ($2/mo), it’s reassuring to see the company continue to crank away on the server functionality. But, perhaps future Tablo hardware will enough horsepower to process comskip locally.

11 thoughts on “Tablo Upgrades DVR Commercial Skip”

  1. Yawn…. Plex has been skipping commercials from the outset and there is no monthly fee. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even tweak the variables it’s using to detect commercials, which at this point is incredibly good.

  2. Well, could be somewhat differing audiences. Plex and Channels are more roll your own, vs Tablo. Do you still need Plex Pass for DVR? (which I have) I feel like it’s free now, but was seeing some contradictory info on their site the other day.

  3. I haven’t looked at Tablo’s skip service since it became fee based, but a minor frustration was the rate of program processing failures due to detected reception issues in recordings. Living in a virtual Multipath freeway, even modest signal drops happen with the frequency of the summer wind.

    I have become accustomed to the 30 second FF shuttle bump on the right side of the donut on the FireTV remote for the Recast.

  4. While I am happy to see Tablo continue to improve this feature, after all of the problems that we had during the original commercial skip public beta we are not inclined to pay them $$$ for the opportunity to try it again.

  5. Why I still use a my old experience roamio pro tivo. Until it dies. Not like any broadcast tv is 4k anyway.

  6. Evan, the limitation is TiVo’s commercial skip is that it’s mostly mainstream, prime time programming. Plex, Tablo, Channels cover way more content. Having said that, TiVo’s approach leans heavily on humans (so the story goes) and is generally quite precise.

    Don, I’ll PayPal you $2 for a month of service so you check it out again and report back. :)

  7. I tried a tablo quad to replace a tivo roamio, hoping for EVERYTHING to be commercial skip.

    Tivo pulled in ~70 channels. Tablo got one. Badly. So of course the comskip wouldn’t work on that one channel.

    The wifi was awful. Couldn’t play back a 720p stream when I could play a 4k video on my phone sitting right next to the tablo.

    And seeing how hot the unit got, and noting a fan cutout but no fan, I opened it up.

    Its made from a reference board made in Asia, not specifically built for just tablo. They designed the product upside down, with the cpu, ram and tuners on the bottom of the pcb, with a heat sink the same size as the case UNDER the pcb and tied only to the cpu. So all non cpu heat was trapped between the heat sink and pcb. And there was little room between the sides of the PCB and the case.

    Apparently nobody at Tablo understands thermal design, and despite years of people reporting the need to place the units on laptop coolers or pointing fans at it to keep it cool, they never figured it out.

    Their ‘social media person’ is also a jerk. When I posted info about this on discussion group, he assured me that there was nothing at all wrong with the Tablo, and I, a 20 year DVR veteran, was just doing it wrong.

    They also never mentioned charging a fee for the commercial skip, getting a lot of people like me to buy one, only to get blindsided by yet another fee. Not particularly nice.

  8. @ cfb, your description of the overheating issue due to the upside down design is spot-on. When I first got my tablo quad it locked up frequently. I opened a support request and told them how hot it was running, but they ignored that and had me jumping through hoops wasting my time trying to find something wrong with my local network. So I bought a$12 fan, set it on top of it and it runs stable. I would gladly pay $12 more if they would have built the fan into the damn thing. The promise of commercial skip was the purchase decision maker for me turn based on early reviews I went ahead and bought a lifetime guide subscription and thought I was set. When I finally got commercial skip, it worked so intermittently that I didn’t even notice for a couple of months after they took it away. I have a new antenna waiting for me to install. Since I’m this far invested I will give their paid commercial skip I’ll try and if it’s not damn near perfect, I’ll put it on eBay and go back to looking for my holy Grail.

  9. TiVo’s commercial skip works so well and so close to universally for what I watch that it’s a genuine surprise when occasionally I realize I’m watching a damn commercial break because for whatever reason the skip data didn’t get attached to a particular recording.

    It’s another reason the pre-roll commercials are so baffling. I am literally paying them to NOT see commercials!

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