back to article Judge denies move to ban ad-skipping DVR

US satellite broadcaster Dish Networks can continue providing its subscribers with a DVR capable of automatically skipping adverts, a US District Court judge has ruled. Judge Dolly Gee in the Central District of California court this week refused News International’s Fox Broadcasting subsidiary a preliminary injunction to …

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  1. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Didn't TiVo get into problems for this

    back in the 90s ? ISTR they offered a subscription service which connected to a database which held details of where the ads were (presumably entered by a human). The TiVo would load the timings and use them to skip ads on recorded content.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Didn't TiVo get into problems for this

      Think they backed down to a "fast-forward 30secs" button which allows you to skip ads at high speed. Most UK ad breaks seem to be 4mins so 8 presses on the button (each additional press adds 30secs to an already running fast-forward") gets past the ads pretty quickly

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Didn't TiVo get into problems for this

        Most UK ad breaks seem to be 4mins

        Yes, Tivo can either FF at up to three speeds or use the "skip" button for 30sec jumps. But recent changes in the advertising rules on terrestrial TV channels now means that the fixed length advert breaks can now be varied such that the 24 hour average has the same amount of advertising time. The result is more and longer ad breaks at peak times and shorter/less ad breaks off peak. I find the ad breaks can require anything from 6 to 10 presses to skip them all. Bastards. And don't get me started on Ch5 showing the station ident between each advert making it harder to spot the end of the ad break. Bigger bastards.

    2. Pet Peeve
      Gimp

      Re: Didn't TiVo get into problems for this

      Tivo never had a full commercial skip feature. They did however change what their "skip forward" button did, several times. The original version skipped exactly 30 seconds. I don't remember if it went all the way to being sued about this specifically (tivo had lots of legal issues, both as plaintiff and as defendant, over the years), but they later changed the button to do a shorter skip. However, the original 30 second skip feature could be turned back on with a code that was a badly-hidden secret.

      ReplayTV, on the other hand, had a fully automatic commercial skip, and they did get in trouble over it.

    3. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

      Re: Didn't TiVo get into problems for this

      I've had my Sony Freeview HDD/DVD recorder for about 5 years now. It records things in chapters, and usually you can just skip to the next chapter, which co-incidentally happens to be the end of the ad break.

    4. James Micallef Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Didn't TiVo get into problems for this

      "not only breaches its content supply contract with Dish but that it also amounts to copyright infringement"

      the copyright infringement accusation is pure bollocks.

      the content supply contract line might be valid, depending of course on what's in it.

    5. N13L5
      Holmes

      Dish Networks sure has guts fighting Murdoc and big media

      Since the media is an important block in the pyramid to control and brainwash the masses, its pretty gutsy to fight them, cause you're basically going up against the Rothchild / Rockefeller club.

      They'll just roll the dice if they buy you out or have you shot. Or both.

  2. SteveK

    The trouble is, this will likely just lead to cases where the channels overlay adverts above the TV programme, obscuring whatever you were trying to watch. I've seen quite a lot of US shows do that already with adverts for other shows, including really distracting video overlays rather than just a subtle text caption, so how long before you just get no actual advert breaks, but almost constant interruptions that you can't skip, floating in from all sides of the screen?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      This was exactly my first thought as well, having seen it used frequently on TV in the US.

      Surprised we haven't seen it this side of the pond yet.

      1. boltar Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        "Surprised we haven't seen it this side of the pond yet."

        Maybe not ads, but TV companies are nowadays very fond of ruining the credits with pointless ads for the next program coming up or whats on their other channel. It was bad enough when they just spoke over the credits, now they shrink them down to such a small size they're impossible to read which is totally unfair on the people who made the program. The credits exist for a reason. It would be nice if the channel controllers might remember that occasionally.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Fair point, and I have thought in the past how disrespectful this is to those who contributed to the program.

          I do think the in-programme adverts originally referred to, featuring animations of characters cavorting across the bottom, sides - heck, all over - the screen are of a magnitude more irritating though!

        2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

          re: credits there for a reason

          "...they shrink them down to such a small size they're impossible to read which is totally unfair on the people who made the program. The credits exist for a reason. It would be nice if the channel controllers might remember that occasionally."

          Indeed. For a movie, I can just refer to imdb.com. For episodic television, that's a tiny bit more complicated but that extra complexity wouldn't be necessary if they would just let the credits roll in the manner they were created. What's worse is the "double whammy" of squeezing the content down AND speeding it up to a level where only a DVR with pause or slow-motion mode has any chance at all.

        3. Mike Norrish NZ
          FAIL

          Even worse if you happen to be subject to the morons running TVNZ... Then you get the original credits ditched entirely and scrolled in plain text at the bottom of the screen while the ads play. So if the show you were watching was one of those that continues the story during the credits - tough luck.

          The FAIL icon is for TVNZ, not the OP, obviously :)

      2. Velv Silver badge

        "Surprised we haven't seen it this side of the pond yet"

        There are already intrusions used this side of the pond.

        There are often large interruptions to the credits (OK, maybe not the same) but there are also lines of text overlaying onto the main content of some programmes. It may only have been text lines on silly programmes so far (daytime?), but it has been there.

        Note to broadcasters - stop it NOW!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Note to broadcasters - stop it NOW!

          or what?

          1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

            Stop it NOW! or...

            I would have thought it obvious. I won't be a lack of commercials that kills watching TV so much as the lack of entertainment value to those of us already fed up with commercials.

            You can only adulterate food so much, after that people will begin looking for a change of diet.

            Obviously couch potatoes are immune but obese people tend to confine themselves to the TV anyway, hell they might even get cured by watching TV.

          2. Mike Flugennock
            Mushroom

            Re: Note to broadcasters - stop it NOW!

            or what?

            Or we'll quit watching TV. It's not that tough a decision to make considering the quality of most of the content these days. Hell, I haven't watched TV on any kind of regular basis in 13 years. MST3K was the last TV show I had a regular "date" to watch every week, and even then, most times I'd tape it and watch it later so I could FF through the commercials. I don't even own a TV set myself. We have one in the bedroom hooked up to the satellite box, but upstairs in my studio, there's no TV set, unless you count the ixMicro card in the old G3, hooked up to a DTV converter and an old VCR. Last time I watched any substantial amount of TV was in January of last year, when I watched the protests in Egypt on Al Jazeera (in the DC area, there's a local channel on OTA DTV that carries their English service).

            Or we'll just wait until any series we're interested in are released on DVD. How tough can that be? Catch a couple of episodes of something, decide you dig it, and wait for it to come out on DVD. Hell, the wait isn't even that long anymore these days. Aren't the first couple of seasons of Mad Men already out on DVD?

            1. Gene Cash Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Note to broadcasters - stop it NOW!

              I know the over-the-top ad situation coupled with the shit quality of American TV has pushed quite a few of my friends into exploring TPB, to the extent of buying VPN accounts to hide said exploration.

              They've gone from "buh, whut, iddn't that piracy?" to "damn, this is really nice" and it's pretty much the broadcaster's fault for finally pushing them over the edge and making them go "I can't stand this any more. isn't there something better out there?"

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Note to broadcasters - stop it NOW!

            Stop watching live TV. It's possible with iplayer and torrents.

            1. JEDIDIAH
              Linux

              Re: Note to broadcasters - stop it NOW!

              Embedded ads are annoying even if you have pre-recorded the show.

              Popups are especially annoying because they quite often obscure part of the action.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Note to broadcasters - stop it NOW!

            tvtorrents.com

      3. Law
        Unhappy

        "Surprised we haven't seen it this side of the pond yet."

        We have, sort of... with the BBC promoting other programmes during the end sequence of other programmes. The one that annoyed me was the Dr Who HD broadcast that an animated Graham Norton ruined.

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8642854.stm

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Meh

          Yes I'd forgotten about the Dr Who / Graham Norton incident!

          Perhaps the fallout following that has made them think twice about pulling a stunt like that again?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @SteveK

      >I've seen quite a lot of US shows do that already

      You should see Spanish TV. You can be watching the news then the presenter will start talking about the benefits of such and such a product. No break, no pause for breath, straight from a news article into advertising and only very recently they've started to show the word "publicidad" but where it's least likely to be noticed. It's also done on the pre-amble to the Formula 1 coverage. As if what seems to be a 50/50 advert to race ratio isn't enough we get a bald headed twat, who only climbs out of Alsonso arse to tell us how good Fernando his and push products.

      1. Mike Flugennock
        Devil

        Re: @SteveK

        You should see Spanish TV. You can be watching the news then the presenter will start talking about the benefits of such and such a product. No break, no pause for breath, straight from a news article into advertising,,,

        Lately, on local TV news in the States, we've been getting a lot of what are called VPRs, or Video Press Releases -- canned "news reports" which are usually just "advertorial" for products, services or companies. The anchordroid will make the usual bland lead-in commentary, and they'll go straight to the VPR -- and it's obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that it's a PVR because the production values and style are entirely different from the remotes and other reports produced by the local station, except that it has the local station's "bug" and "crawl" and other local station dinguses superimposed on the bottom of the screen.

        The worst I'd ever seen was on one local station's early morning news on the first "official" day of the 2003 Christmas shopping season. After the usual sensationalistic stories about massive lines outside stores and shock footage of people fighting over XBoxes -- arguably, advertising in itself -- the anchordroid launches into some blabbing about the crowds outside the Best Buy in some suburb, cutting quickly to some short footage they'd shot earlier that morning, while the anchordroid mentioned how shoppers "...were later seen leaving with bargains, including a Sony 48-inch flatscreen for only $XXX.99..." This same anchordroid later "tagged" the end of the local weather report by mentioning how it looked ilke it was going to be a really nice day to "...get out there and scoop up those bargains..."

    3. GT66

      That will be the day when broadcast television successfully renders itself obsolete. One can easily see that broadcast television behaves as if it is STILL the only game in town. This is obviously as bad position to take and a big part of the reason for the rise of Netflix and Hulu and Amazon, comapnies all taking advantage of broadcast televisions archaic position. Simply, removing people's choice to skip commercials will FORCE people to choose other non-advert laced sources. Broadcast television is actually FORCING people choose anything other than itself. How can this be a successful strategy?

      1. Al Jones

        "This is obviously as bad position to take and a big part of the reason for the rise of Netflix and Hulu"

        Have you watched anything on Hulu recently? 2 minute ad breaks every 6 minutes. And you can't skip them!

    4. LaeMing Silver badge

      Reminds me of the Lawyer's TV in 'Idiocracy' - Massive big screen mostly covered in garish flashing adverts with a tiny postage-stamp of content in the middle.

    5. Hugh McIntyre

      It will also lead to yet more blatant product placement in programs. For example various Fox shows with people in cars saying "this feature is nice and that feature is nice" and obviously advertising the car rather than concentrating on the story. Also a CSI from about two weeks ago which spent a lot of time plugging a Shazam copycat music recognition app which they were presumably paid for marketing.

      This may actually be more annoying than adverts to fast forward through :(

    6. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Meh...

      If that adpocalypse comes then just buy a Roku.

      If streaming services aren't available, then just buy some DVDs from Amazon and install yourself a copy of Plex.

  3. thomas k.

    no lover of ads ..

    but isn't there a slight difference in "punters being allowed to [infringe]" and actually providing a button on the device which allows them to do so?

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: no lover of ads ..

      But to infringe what, FFS?

      Is there a law saying that thou shalt not take a leak while an ad showth on TV or something?

      1. thomas k.

        Re: no lover of ads ..

        I was referring to the bit regarding Dish's stated position - "For its part, Dish says its system is protected by 1980s judgements that home video cassette recorder makers are not liable when the devices’ users infringe copyright by recording shows off the air." - countering Fox's (rather specious) claim that by-passing of ads constitutes infringement.

        1. Bakunin

          Re: no lover of ads ..

          Personally I can't see how it could be argued as copyright infringement at all. Surely it's just start and end time stamps provided in a separate file. You could just as easily generate one for the boring bits in films, or a daily recommendation of which news paper has the best crossword.

          Essentially it has no effect on the content, only on how the user chooses to use the content.

          In answer to your question; there's a big difference infringing and allow to infringe. But in this case I'd say no one's infringing anything.

          1. Boothy

            @ Bakunin

            Your not getting it, the infringement is in recording the programme in the first place, not in skipping the adds.

            The ruling in the 80s was basically to protect the VCR manufactures from prosecution, in that although they provide equipment that can be used to infringe copyright (record live TV) it's the person who pressed the record button that actually did the infringing, not the VCR manufacturer.

            1. Bakunin

              Re: @ Bakunin

              @ Boothy

              Perhaps I've over simplified it, but the line ...

              "Fox maintains that Dish’s ad-skipping system, called AutoHop, not only breaches its content supply contract with Dish but that it also amounts to copyright infringement."

              ... seemed to imply that Dish already has a right to produce DVRs, but the ad-skipping part was what annoyed them.

      2. Mike Flugennock

        Re: no lover of ads ..

        But to infringe what, FFS?

        Is there a law saying that thou shalt not take a leak while an ad showth on TV or something?

        I remember one amazing moment about ten or twelve years ago, on the NBC Today show -- in fact, it may have been during the first Tivo ad-skipping brouhaha -- where some TV industry flack was being interviewed. Obviously highly indignant over viewers having the audacity to avoid watching advertising, this clown looked the whole country right in the eye on a national news program and said that people who record TV shows and skip through the commercials are "thieves". I shit you not. I suppose I should've been outraged and offended, but I was too busy laughing.

        1. Mike Norrish NZ
          Thumb Up

          Re: no lover of ads ..

          @Mike Flugennock: "I remember one amazing moment about ten or twelve years ago, on the NBC Today show -- in fact, it may have been during the first Tivo ad-skipping brouhaha -- where some TV industry flack was being interviewed."

          Ah, that's the one - not Murdoch after all. Apparenlty great Mikes think alike ;)

      3. Mike Norrish NZ

        Re: no lover of ads ..

        "Is there a law saying that thou shalt not take a leak while an ad showth on TV or something?"

        Was it Murdoch who said that skipping the ads was theft, as the ads supposedly pay for the show? I think it was Murdoch, although I could be wrong. That's their justification, anyway. Utter, utter bullcrap that makes me specifically want to skip every ad ever out of sheer spite, but that's what they think.

  4. Bob Vistakin
    Holmes

    See what happens when he loses his inside man

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19472688

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Fox said it was “disappointed”

    Fox is having a bad week. I did laugh.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Oh shit....

    They can't force feed people more bullshit adds, to buy more cars and junk food, when they already have 5 cars in a four person house and live only on take away pizzas?

    Damn, oh fucking, damn.

  7. Crisp Silver badge

    But not watching adverts is like stealing TV!

    Won't someone think of the poor greasy advertising executives?

    1. Law
      Black Helicopters

      Re: But not watching adverts is like stealing TV!

      You wouldn't steal a handbag.

      You wouldn't steal a car.

      You wouldn't steal a baby.

      You wouldn't shoot a policeman.

      And then steal his helmet.

      You wouldn't go to the toilet in his helmet.

      And then send it to the policeman's grieving widow.

      And then steal it again!

      Skipping ads is stealing - if you do it, you will face the consequences!

      *FBI smashes into a girls bedroom - shoots her in the head for skipping the 15th barbie advert that half hour... cut to blood pooling next to a full collection of barbie dolls*

  8. NomNomNom

    I put the TV on mute during adverts and switch to the laptop. The only problem is remembering to switch back when the ads end. I don't see a problem with something to automatically do this. In fact if I had my way by law broadcasters would be required to send signals indicating adverts were starting/ending so that 3rd parties could use that information.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Some do. It's a signal to the local stations to place their adverts instead of the national ones.

    2. Pete the not so great
      Unhappy

      Other than increased volume?

  9. AdamSweetman

    Might be good for the viewing experience, but what does it do to the business model?

    Programs need to be funded, revenue generation is essential to the creation process, so....the consumer wants ad-free viewing which is fair enough. Dish are simply serving that need, but what they are not doing is partnering to build an alternative model which is mutually satisfactory between content producer, provider and consumer.

    Dish works well due to its subscription model (ironic for Murdoch), but you get charged twice, you pay your subs to Dish, the content networks get a proportion of this, then they also monetize your viewing choice by advert revenue.

    One alternative may be to provide add-free channels at a premium over the regular, inserted add model. the other would be move invasion of the product into the program (overlays, placements etc). Another may be to shift the advertising to DISH vs. the network channel, but this marginalizes them further.

    What you can't do, and expect it not to have consequences, is just strip away a revenue generator without reconsidering the whole model. I think everyone agrees that the current system isn't ideal, maybe something like nominal subscription fee then micro-transaction per episode may emerge soon (I don't mean iTunes gouging), clearly the consumer wants an add-free model, the real question is how you fund it.

    1. boltar Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Might be good for the viewing experience, but what does it do to the business model?

      Perhaps the Youtube model is the best - you have to watch the first 5 seconds of the ad and if its of interest to you you might watch all of it otherwise you can skip it. I think its the best compromise that anyone's come up with yet. Or failing that perhaps companies could just get to the point in advertisements - we don't need a whole 30 secs of film to tell us about the latest discounts at Currys or wherever. Just flash up a banner for a few seconds and then end.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Might be good for the viewing experience, but what does it do to the business model?

        "Perhaps the Youtube model is the best - you have to watch the first 5 seconds of the ad and if its of interest to you you might watch all of it otherwise you can skip it. I think its the best compromise that anyone's come up with yet."

        Well youtube began forcing you to sit through some adverts.

        Even that will be scrubbed eventually. As AI algorithms and suchlike improve there will be plugins to solve it. There might even already be plugins to black out youtube ads and mute the sound while they are running, or show something else in it's place. If people have the choice they will rarely watch ads (although even I will watch ads once, what I object to is having to watch the same ad over and over again). Ultimately technology will give the consumer that choice.

        1. John Tserkezis

          Re: Might be good for the viewing experience, but what does it do to the business model?

          "Well youtube began forcing you to sit through some adverts."

          At first, it was additional overly text on top of the regular playback of video, but when you embed the ad into the video stream you're looking at, it's a little more difficult to deal with.

          I've long since been using DownloadHelper to extract the native stream, and trimming it on my local box before "consuming" the video. I download all the parts of a multi-part video, convert and patch them together before watching too.

          I haven't sat down to watch live youtube video since, well, forever. I never liked it back when it was ad-free, what makes them think I'll be more inclined to watch the raw stream now?

          My PVR from well over a decade ago had a 30 second skip feature, with capability of storing recorded programs indefinitely. Why would I go for a product that has more strings attached today? I haven't watched live TV for so long I've forgotten what it's like...

          1. Mike Flugennock

            Re: Might be good for the viewing experience, but what does it do to the business model?

            "Well youtube began forcing you to sit through some adverts."

            At first, it was additional overly text on top of the regular playback of video, but when you embed the ad into the video stream you're looking at, it's a little more difficult to deal with.

            I've long since been using DownloadHelper to extract the native stream...

            For several years I used the MP4 Downloader add-on in Firefox to suck down the YouTube stream to an mpeg4 file, until Google did something to break it. Fortunately, I found a nifty little freeware application called MacTubes (for OSX, obviously) which lets you paste a YouTube URL into an "Open" dialog; the app then fetches the video and shows it in a standard YouTube "embed" inside a window with drop-down menus showing all the available download options, including regular mpeg4, full HD (if available), avi, or just the audio track as an mp3. Great for snatching copies of controversial or otherwise provocative or important footage before it's "scrubbed".

            Then, of course, there's the good old cache trick; it takes a few steps and is a bit futzy, but it works.

      2. LaeMing Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: YouTube model

        I once (only once) saw a YouTube advert that was of particular interest to me. I wanted to skip back to watch a particularly interesting/informative part of the advert, but the progress controller was locked down.

        Can't for the life of me remember what the advert was for now.

    2. NomNomNom

      Re: Might be good for the viewing experience, but what does it do to the business model?

      Consequences be damned. Once the data reaches the output device people should be able to modify it however they want. If I want to turn the grass orange when watching football matches so be it. If I want to skip the weather part of the news, so be it. If I want to strip ad breaks from the stream, so be it.

      The law might try dancing about with this for a while, but eventually the matter will be forced when fully programmable TVs start being produced where you can write or download ad-blocking plugins from the internet and the TV manufacturers can wash their hands of whatever is done. Little different than how ad blocking plugins for browsers work. No-one to sue then unless they want to make such plugins illegal which would be absurd enough to never fly.

      If the revenue model of content providers collapses as a result of all this, so be it.

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: ...ad blocking plugins for browsers work.

        God, do I love Wladimir Palant for Ad Block Plus for Firefox!!!

        I NEVER surf without it.

    3. itzman

      Re: Might be good for the viewing experience, but what does it do to the business model?

      Basically its one more step on the road towards the death of commercially sponsored media.

      Google is almost useless to find anything now as the top links are always trying to sell you something.

      Adblock means never having to suffer a web page full of adverts fir stuff you don't want.

      This recorder means watching what you want, not what someone else wants you to watch.

      In the end, its going to be subscription only material and no adverts at all.

      1. PatientOne

        Re: Might be good for the viewing experience, but what does it do to the business model?

        "Basically its one more step on the road towards the death of commercially sponsored media."

        Not even close. Adds placed between program segments are only a small part of the advertising arsenal. Product placement in the program itself is far more lucrative.

        Watch a film. Any film. Play 'spot the product placement'. Do the same with any program. They're everywhere. Sometimes they're so blatant it's intrusive. 'Oh, look at these shoes I've just put on. They're {insert brand and style} and wonderful' (thanks, Mr Smith: That's one way to put me off a film).

        Okay, it's not every film that suffers from product placement, but even then sponsors find ways to sneak in their brand identity, such as someone taking a bite from a piece of fruit and placing it at just the right angle to remind you of a brand logo. That's why it's a game to spot where the product placement is, or the brand icon is used. They're quite crafty, and subtle, but it works. And it doesn't cost them as much as other forms of advertising, plus it's a one off payment that will remain in that film or program for every viewing. And they're harder to edit out.

    4. EvilGav 1

      Re: Might be good for the viewing experience, but what does it do to the business model?

      That's all well and good, but the current model is broken for many reasons.

      The obvious one being that for prime time shows, paying your lead actor ~$1M per episode is going to make it very expensive to make/sell (one of the big reasons lots of shows in the US get cancelled is the increasing wage bill as shows continue season after season). Cutting the wage bill would go a huge way to cutting the necessity for adverts.

    5. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: Might be good for the viewing experience, but what does it do to the business model?

      Programs are already funded. Dish PAYS to carry these channels.

      That should give them the rights to do anything with the ads they like. Some terrestrial cable systems like to put their own ads on top of the ones in the original broadcast stream. What Dish is doing is really no difference.

      Fox is just mad because it can't "double dip" any more. They sell ads and then they force companies to pay for the priveledge of giving those ads a wider audience.

      It should be one or the other but not both.

    6. Vic

      Re: Might be good for the viewing experience, but what does it do to the business model?

      > the consumer wants ad-free viewing

      Not really.

      Most consumers want a *reasonable* amount of advertising to fund their viewing. They're aware of the funding model.

      What consumers don't want is the same mindless shite repeated time after time after fucking time. If the broadcasters were to think of the viewers occasionally, those viewers wouldn't feel the need to try to circumvent the advertising...

      Vic.

  10. The BigYin

    Levels of subscription?

    Why not just let people pay for the service they want:

    No fee, 100% ad funding (no skipping allowed); or

    Small fee, but still partly ad funded (no skipping allowed); or

    Bigger fee, but still partly ad funded (skipping allowed); or

    Fat fee, no ads (a bit like the Beeb really - and my preferred option as I hate adverts).

    Either way, advertisers are screwed once we move to 100% V.o.D. as there will be no gaps to put adverts into and they'll have to find a way to insert them into the shows (which probably means product placement - something else that totally hacks me off).

    We record just about everything to we can fast-forward through the adverts at 32x. If MythTV worked with my service, I'd probably use that and have it nuke the ads for me.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Levels of subscription?

      "Either way, advertisers are screwed once we move to 100% V.o.D. as there will be no gaps to put adverts into and they'll have to find a way to insert them into the shows (which probably means product placement - something else that totally hacks me off)."

      They already do. It's called intrusive advertising. Plastering the add right into the video. Networks do this for their programming. I've already seen many foreign networks and streams do this by shrinking the picture to show ads along the borders. Next thing you'll know, YouTube will allow advertisers to insert ads to the top or bottom of the stream, on the fly, so that there's no avoiding it without cutting out the scene you wanted to watch.

    2. Vic

      Re: Levels of subscription?

      > no ads (a bit like the Beeb really

      You mist be watching a different Beeb to me, then. The BBC I see is stuffed with ads. And it's always the same trailers :-(

      Vic.

  11. Mark 65

    Ads, the reality

    "Why will advertisers be willing to pay so much for primetime ad slots if a large number of viewers can simply bypass them?"

    As opposed to nipping out for a fresh beer from the fridge or a piss etc? Nobody watches ads. They pay a fortune for that which viewers despise and actively try to avoid. No wonder downloading is rife - get a new business model.

    1. Rob Crawford

      Re: Ads, the reality

      I thought that part of the problem was (in the UK anyway) that advertisers where no longer paying a fortune for advertising due to the increased number of channels.

      Certainly ITV did enough whining about it a few years ago and consequently decreased the quality of their programming even further

  12. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Not really too bothered by ads ...

    Since I never watch anything in realtime anymore. Say there's a 1 hour programme on at 9pm ... set TiVo to record it, and start watching at 9:15, fast forwarding the ads.

    Yes, 15 minutes of ads to an hours programme. Says it all really.

    It seems advertisers have cottoned on to this, which is why you get long shots of big logos - you can still see them at 10x speed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      Re: Not really too bothered by ads ...

      Yes, 15 minutes of ads to an hours programme. Says it all really.

      Only 15 minutes? Luxury.

      I guess that you're not in Australia where the commercial channels can slip 25 minutes of adverts in to a one hour slot. Just imagine a imported BBC programme with a running time of 59m 20s and then have 25m hacked out. It's sacrilege.

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge

        Re: Not really too bothered by ads ...

        Well a lot of US shows are 42 minutes long ... Although I agree with other posters about the irritating development of in-programme trailers and messages. But these are probably an inducement to buy the DVD.

        I wonder if one day we'll fall through the looking glass, and every TV programme is just an advert for another TV programme ....

  13. itzman

    ..anyway I make a point of never buying anything I have seen advertised on TV..

    ..on the grounds that a lot of money has been spent on puffing it that could have been spent on making it a better product, or a cheaper one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ..anyway I make a point of never buying anything I have seen advertised on TV..

      of couuuurrse you don't. Do you carry around a list of everything you've ever seen advertised on TV ever, then check it every time you feel inclined to buy a chocolate bar or a beer?

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: ..anyway I make a point of never buying anything I have seen advertised on TV..

        Like all of us he carries around a list in his head. For example the adverts of certain comparison websites have been burnt into my brain to such an extent I know I will have to carry around that for the rest of my life. And now I know even if there is an afterlife I will have to remember certain scenes and sounds for eternity. I now stalk the earth with every inch of my being full of hate for them. I wish I had been touched by jimmy savile instead it would be less traumatic.

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: ..anyway I make a point of never buying anything I have seen advertised on TV..

          hmm that was a joke but it is interesting. I wonder if there are grounds for suing companies that make obnoxious adverts that distress TV viewers....

        2. Crisp Silver badge

          Re: I wish I had been touched by jimmy savile instead it would be less traumatic.

          I find that a liberal application of vodka helps suppress memories of annoying meerkats.

    2. Mike VandeVelde
      Unhappy

      "spent on puffing it that could have been spent on making it a better product, or a cheaper one"

      ++

      Capitalism was more efficient than communism (measured by stockpiles of nukes / subs / tanks / bombers / battleships / fortresses) for a period of time. Capitalism lasted a little longer than communism, but eventually it too collapsed - crush asphyxiated under the ever growing burden of corporate armies of advertisers and lawyers and bankers and lobbyists and multi million dollar executives.

    3. Tony Paulazzo
      Happy

      Re: ..anyway I make a point of never buying anything I have seen advertised on TV..

      http://flic.kr/p/drShHA

      Me too... except for Tropicana, that shit is the shizzle, oh, and Kellogs cornflakes, the no name brand versions double the amount of sugar - and you know, Fairy Liquid 'does' last twice as long as the cheapo versions...

      Damn crap it all, I am affected by advertising.

      Link to John Carpenters 'They Live' - Conform, Consume, Obey...

  14. Dogsauce
    Stop

    I always flip over to BBC news channel when the ads come on, which means I never know what people are talking about when they say 'have you seen the new whatever advert'. I guess this is another reason why Murdoch wants to eviscerate the corporation.

    I'm looking forward to when we all have those google-type glasses displays that will be able to block out billboard adverts in the real world and replace them with pictures of kittens. Advertisers are on limited time.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, and another thing

    Is it just me, or are all ad breaks aligned now ? Watch live TV, hit ad break, scan up and down the channels and they are ALL showing ads.

  16. Purlieu

    Pay per view

    Hey you pay TV execs listen here.

    I already pay for your service in a monthly fee, are you saying this would be higher if no adverts at all ?

    Or does advertising revenue buy you that third home at the coast.

    What you really need to address is advertising during pay-per-view slots e.g. I pay a monthly fee, then I pay an extra £15 for a boxing match, then you put adverts in it so that in fact there is more adverts time than content time ... WTF is that all about ?

    Sort it. Now.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The other way to fix this is of course

    for the advertising companies to get off their creative arses and make ads that might actually be amusing/interesting/otherwise engaging instead of 30 second screamers shouting 'we've belched this new thing out, give us your money you bastards'.

    I don't mind an ad that's funny. Which means these days I hate all ads. And the people who make them. And the people who show them, over and over again. Bastards.

    1. Crisp Silver badge

      Buy Planders Pretzels

      They're jolly good!

    2. Vic

      Re: The other way to fix this is of course

      > get off their creative arses and make ads that might actually be amusing/interesting

      In days gone by, people would actually discuss ads. Remember the coffee ones with Sharon Maughan and Tony Head? They might have been cheesey, but you'd hear people at work discussing the story. It was good advertising, and tolerable as a result.

      Now we get crap ads for kids sweets at midnight...

      Vic.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: The other way to fix this is of course

        And some product advertisements were better than the product. In the US, years ago, Kellog's introduced Corn Flakes with bananas in it. The ad featured their trademark rooster...well...going bananas. Seeing a rooster act like a monkey was one of the few times I turned my head to watch an ad. It was genuinely funny.

        But then, I really haven't watched that much genuine TV in a long time. I have so much DVD and recorded content (commercials edited out) that I rarely get bored.

  18. Robert A. Rosenberg
    FAIL

    I fail to see how the use of Hopper differs from a normal DVR or VHS recording. In all these cases the TOTAL show is recorded and when viewed the commercial is (can be) skipped past. If Hopper did not record the Ads, then FOX might have a case but it DOES record the Ads. All the payment for Ads buys is the right to present them to the viewer NOT the insuring that the viewer will actually watch the Ad.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Hopper versus a "normal" DVR

      This tech is a pretty obvious extension of the DVR itself. That's why one of the first DVRs had it (ReplayTV) and why MythTV also has it. Once you have the video, you can do anything you want with it (including marking the commercial breaks).

      It was only litigation that slowed down Replay during the dawn of the DVR.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Torrents don't come with adverts

  20. peyton?
    Devil

    Alternately...

    Here in the States, I know people that watch the "Superbowl" just for the adverts! Maybe if ads were interesting instead of mindless drivel, viewers might actual not mind them so much!

  21. DougS Silver badge

    Does it show the interstitials?

    Now that Fox (at least during Fringe) has taken to showing little 20-30 second segments of the program smack in the middle of a four minute block of ads. I never did use the 30 second skip on my Tivo, preferring the fast forward, I think this is to screw with people using 30 second skip.

    Even with the FF I have to pay attention that I don't miss it, since they're so short. They aren't necessarily anything crucial to the program so if you miss it it's not a big deal. But that's today, tomorrow I'm sure they'll reserve the most important plot twists for those moments.

    Or maybe just start showing two minute segments of show followed by one 30 second ad instead of grouping the ads, hoping that it is so short most people with DVRs don't even bother trying to skip the ads.

  22. DanceMan
    Black Helicopters

    TV -- It isn't only ads

    I think the entire model of tv is in jeopardy from technology and a public fed up with both intrusive advertising and the way in which the programs are packaged by cable providers. I've just lost some of the cable channels (here in Canada) because I've thus far refused to go digital and be subjected to an encrypted feed requiring an external box and another remote* for every tv in the house. By going digital so that they can market pay-per-view they could easily sell me only the channels I want. But they won't. I have to choose packages. I live on a hill and I'm thinking of putting up an antenna and getting the rest of what I want with torrents. I already watch many of the CFL football games I love ad-free on a delayed basis from the TSN (original broadcaster) website on my computer.

    I'm already paying a lot for tv, and that amount has increased over 30% in only about a year, so this isn't about getting everything free. It's about getting what I want in the form I want, and paying only for that.

    I have a further political objection to only four companies in this country (Shaw, Telus, Bell and Rogers) controlling our phone service, both cell or land line, our internet, our tv -- both the networks** and the cable channels, and most of the radio and newspapers. It's too much control in too few hands. The digital box gives them the further control of knowing exactly what we're watching, when, and how long. Orwell was close, but it turns out it's a few giant corporations watching us and controlling all our communications.

    * Yes I could use a programmable remote to solve the extra remote issue. I have one somewhere here, but I'd need one for every tv.

    **CBC is the exception but it's being starved with progressive budget cuts by the Harper gov't.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: TV -- It isn't only ads

      Welcome to the non-broadcast market. They bundle channels like that for the same reason newspapers make you buy everything (and not just the most popular sections like the Sports section): they have to throw in the unpopular stuff with the popular stuff to get the ad revenues from those channels. Without them, the ad companies won't supplement their revenues with the cable ads injected into the "local advertising blocks" put into the TV shows' commercial blocks, which means the cable rates go up, especially since the channel providers are squeezing the cable companies at the other end, raising the fees to carry the top channels (like ESPN in the US).

  23. Alan(UK)
    Coat

    My TV remote has a 'mute' button

    This feature may not be unique. Are we 'infringing' when we mute the adverts.

    A suggestion - a compromise solution: record all the adverts separately, removing duplicates, then play them all back at a time convenient to the viewer.

  24. ps2os2
    Devil

    Skipping ads

    I have a DVR and I never watch a show "live". When I watch a show and an comes on I have developed a fast forward flick of the finger.

    I still get stuck occaisionally watching the last 5 seconds of a commercial. You know I feel BETTER!

  25. A J Stiles
    FAIL

    They don't get it, do they?

    The thing about advertisements on television is this: People do not watch them.

    Back in the old days, advert breaks invariably meant decamping to the kitchen or bathroom, depending whether you wanted fluids in or out respectively. And I strongly suspect that if you study electricity demand, even today you will find brief spikes, caused by millions of kettles being switched on, right in the breaks in the most popular programmes.

    When VCRs with picture search came out, people preferred recording programmes and waiting, rather than watching advert breaks.

    Now I have Sky Plus, I can pause the programme at the beginning, for as long as the sum total of all the advert breaks together; then fast-forward merrily through the breaks. It makes UK Gold watchable again .....

    And like another poster above, I prefer to avoid products that I can remember being advertised. Not that I have any need for car insurance or short-term loans at usurious interest rates.

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