Tivo software update will bring automatic ad-skipping later this year


Tivo customers who update their DVRs with software coming later this year will have the option to automatically skip some commercials, according to a report from Zatz Not Funny. The auto-skip feature was apparently teased by Tivo Senior Director of Product Innovation David Shoop in a Facebook post. That post was later deleted, but not before a Tivo community member captured and shared it with a wider audience. Zatz Not Funny confirmed the feature will be making an appearance later this year. It won’t be a solution for all ads, however, as the option will only exist on select programs.

Automatic ad-skipping technology has been possible for years, but entrenched corporate interests — particularly those of the broadcasters who air the ads — have had a chilling effect on its availability. When Dish Network introduced its Hopper DVR with automatic ad-skipping in 2012, it wasn’t long before the company was hauled into court by NBCUniversal and Fox, who sought to prevent Dish customers from using the feature. After a lengthy battle, a compromise of sorts was reached in 2016: Dish agreed to disable automatic ad-skipping on recorded Fox shows for a seven-day period after their initial airing.

That protracted legal dispute was enough to keep DirecTV on the sidelines after it had initially indicated it would follow Dish’s lead and launch an auto-skip feature of its own. The industry’s antagonism toward ad-skipping is likely why YouTube TV wasn’t able to offer its customers the ability to even manually skip forward on recorded shows until it reached an agreement with most of its networks in late 2018.

This legal backdrop makes Tivo’s auto-skip feature an intriguing move. It’s surely aware that broadcasters will push back, but perhaps it’s feeling emboldened by several recent announcements from smaller competitors. Skipr is a beta cloud-based DVR solution that replaces live TV ads with non-commercial content. At CES 2019, over-the-air tuner and DVR company Tablo, said that it would soon be launching its own auto-skip feature. Software-based DVR Channels is testing an auto-skip feature, too. Media server giant Plex, which offers a DVR and live TV feature to its PlexPass subscribers has had an auto-skip feature since 2017. Unlike Tivo’s solution, these ad-skipping features are software-driven and can theoretically work on any ad-supported content.

We’ll have to wait until Tivo’s automatic-skipping feature drops to see if there is any backlash.

Product Review

It sounds like a Sonos, but the Beam pulls one trick none of its siblings can

Sonos makes really good surround sound speakers for home theaters, but they’re expensive. A cheaper model with great sound would be a win. The Sonos Beam is that speaker, but were too many corners cut to make a more affordable product?
Movies & TV

Netflix vs. Hulu: Which streaming service is right for you?

Netflix and Hulu are two of the biggest names in streaming entertainment. Our guide will help you decide which streaming service has the content you want and the best value for your limited budget.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Home Theater

Banish the bunny ears (and monthly bills) with these excellent HD antennas

When transitioning away from cable and satellite, finding the best HDTV antenna for your area can be tricky. To aid in your cord-cutting quest, we've compiled our picks of the best indoor HDTV antennas you can buy.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Amazon’s free Spotify competitor is here. Just ask Alexa

Just ask Alexa to play your favorite song. Amazon has launched a free, ad-based music streaming service to compete with Spotify's free tier on its popular Echo devices, aiming to bolster subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited.
Product Review

Now that every speaker has Alexa, don't you want the best? Get the Sonos One

To compete in the smart speaker space, Sonos could have just made a better-sounding Alexa speaker. But the company has a reputation to uphold, and went much further. Our Sonos One Review reveals how Sonos does Alexa better than Amazon.

Walmart deal drops the price of the 55-inch TCL 4K Roku smart TV to just $338

Was last weekend's Game of Thrones streaming experience lacking? Look no further than this 55-inch TCL TV, which features built-in Roku functionality, and can be had at Walmart for just $338.

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. What's changed, and should you subscribe?

Thanks to Google, YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. We explain what exactly a YouTube Premium subscription gets you, how much it costs, and break down if it's a good choice for you.

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for April 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

Get some bud-green Master and Dynamic wireless headphones for $50 off this 420

Looking for the best possible audio experience to pair with your favorite herb? Master and Dynamic has announced a special 420 edition of its gorgeous on-ear and over-ear headphones, which will be available for $50 off this 4/20.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!