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Here's the thing. If it actually worked unobtrusively, and the tradeoff was autoskipping three 3+minute blocks of commercials in return for a 15 second at the beginning of a show, then maybe. BUT, that's not the device/experience and trade off that anyone made when purchasing existing products.
No. Just NO.

Personally I don't give a **** about 'autoskip'. I'm on TE3 and always planned to stay that way for unrelated reasons, and see no point in autoskip when I can skip with a single keypress (and have to manually do it via 30 second skips on most recordings anyway)

The idea that a preroll ad would be in any way acceptable, even your wishy-washy "maybe", as a tradeoff is moronic. They are relying on weak minded fools to say "well I'm avoiding a lot of ads with the Tivo, so I guess one little one won't kill me".

That's how it starts. Next they'll make that pre-roll ad not skippable, and give some made up reason like "only a few percent of customers were skipping them". Then they'll bring in ads that play anytime you pause, because the DVR isn't doing anything else at the time, right? Then they'll start accepting money from networks to make ads unskippable in certain programs, and tell us not to worry because "ads are still skippable in over 99% of programming".
 

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I wonder if doing this gives networks a new avenue to sue Tivo for autoskip functionality? It is one thing for them to give people ways to skip ads, it is quite another to give people ways to skip ads and then introduce OTHER ads. How is this different from the Tivo recognizing when the network ads come in via the Autoskip signal and REPLACING them with Tivo's own (unskippable) ads? If they are willing to consider a preroll ad and customers accept it, who knows what they'll try next?

If this comes to TE3 I'm done with Tivo forever, will trash them anytime their name comes up and recommend everyone stay away. Maybe that's not going to hurt them much in the grand scheme of things but if everyone who is appalled by this does the same their reputation will suffer, guaranteed.

I could save money by going to go a streaming type TV package like Hulu Live TV or similar, the ONLY reason I still use my overpriced cable company is because of Tivo! Hell, they ought to find a way to collect a commission from Mediacom for keeping me around! Trick play with streaming sucks, but at least I don't have to worry about Apple TV trying to insert ads to scrape a few extra pennies off my eyeballs!

If people don't stand up and loudly tell Tivo that we will become ex-customers if they follow through with this, guaranteed it will become worse over time. If they can't make a profit at the current price structure, raise the prices. Offer a lower price tier for people willing to see ads, but don't force it on those of us who previously paid for 'all in' under the assumption Tivo wasn't going to sell us out.

I can't make much of an impact on Tivo financially since I'm 'all in' in the short run, but hopefully a lot of those who are paying monthly will drop service and tell Tivo EXACTLY why. Go from Tivo to the 'regular' cable DVR (since it won't be doing preroll ads) and tell your cable company why. That's the only thing that will make Tivo listen - take away their revenue and impact the bonuses of the idiot execs who approved this travesty!
 

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I'm not sure they are coming. The suits that the networks did with Dish were because of the contracts Dish had with them. Tivo has no such contracts as they have no business relationship with them.
But who knows, when lawyers get involved they will argue black is white with not even a nod to how ridiculous it might be.
They don't have to sue Tivo alone. They can also sue the major cable companies who are on the board of Cablelabs for permitting the use of cable cards in devices that that violate their copyright by replacing their ads with other ads.

I'm not a lawyer so I have no idea if this would be a successful legal strategy, but the networks have deep pockets and know that Tivo does not. All they really have to do is make a case that makes the cable companies want to shy away from cooperating with Tivo on MSO deals and they go bankrupt. Game over.

And you know, at this point, I would point and laugh and say "you deserve it, you fools!" at Tivo's executives if did.
 

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Hmm. I'm not a lawyer but I really do wonder, under the current fair use law that allows consumers to record broadcast TV, what would preclude TiVo or any other company -- that operates independently of the broadcasters and cable TV operator -- from completely cutting out the original broadcast ads and replacing them with TiVo's own unskippable ads. (I'm not saying that this is what TiVo is doing or will do, I'm just wondering what aspect of current law might preclude such behavior.)
There is no "fair use law". Fair use is a particular type of exception to copyright law for specific limited circumstances, and home recording for personal use has been deemed one such exception.

A business removing ads and replacing them with its own for profit seems very unlikely to be considered a fair use exception to copyright law. I hope Tivo gets crucified by the lawyers if they pursue this braindead strategy.
 

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OK, fine, you've made a semantic correction. But what aspects of the existing law -- which allows home recording for personal use -- would auto-excision of broadcast ads violate? This feature already exists among various for-profit DVR services -- Plex, Channels Plus, etc.
The point is that there is no "existing law" to allow DVRs. Copyright law expressly bans all "retransmission" of cable/satellite/OTA broadcasts, and DVR playback is indisputably such a retransmission under copyright law. Fair use carves out a narrow window which allows such playback for personal use only. So you can do it at home, but a bar can't record a game and play it back later - that's why Directv/etc. won't allow bars/restaurants to have DVRs. They would be seen as accessories to any copyright violations that occurred if they if they did. As far as copyright is concerned, there's no difference between fast forwarding through halftime of a game or a boring section of a movie and fast forwarding through a commercial, so skipping commercials is fine in the context of a personal recording/playback device such as a DVR, VCR or audio cassette deck.

I'm not really up on the fine points to know whether it is a violation of copyright law to skip commercials during recording - that is, don't save them to the hard drive. My guess is that it would be a violation. Just because a couple niche products (apparently) do this does not mean it is legal - it simply may not be worth it for content owners to go after them.

From the standpoint of content owners, a solution that skips ads during recording is not really different than one that automatically skips during playback, and the latter has been held to be covered by fair use, as that's part of the definition of a personal recording/playback device (i.e. it simply automates the fast forwarding function that all DVRs are capable of) There isn't much point to content owners going after ad skipping during recording, even if they had an airtight case, because the only difference between automated ad skipping during playback and skipping them during recording is saving some hard drive space. The ads aren't getting seen either way, so the content owner would gain nothing if they stopped Plex etc. from skipping ads during recording. Other than maybe the Streisand Effect of making more people aware of it.

Having a playback device present its own ads in the GUI (like the guide or showcase) to the user clearly isn't a violation of copyright - the content owner's content isn't being changed. Running a pre-roll ad that could be incorrectly interpreted by some as part of the content is a different matter. Going even further and inserting ads in the middle of playback would reinforce that perception, though maybe Tivo could get around it by making it clear somehow that it is an ad coming from your Tivo and is not part of the program. For users who don't understand the difference between an ad placed by NBC during an NBC program and a Tivo ad placed at the start of the playback of an NBC program, automatically skipping the content owner's ads during playback AND running a pre-roll ad is tantamount to replacing the content owner's ads with Tivo's. If that was how the courts viewed it, then Tivo's running of pre-roll ads could easily be viewed as a violation of copyright law.
 

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Ugh ads in the guide? That was like my first Comcast DVR ten years ago. No wonder Live Guide is dead, prolly not enough real estate on screen for ads.
Live Guide is 90% of the reason I stuck with TE3 and never "upgraded" to TE4. When I heard that it was not supported in TE4 I figured it was just because too few people were using it, never considered the reason could be that they were going to sell out the Tivo experience. But I knew then I'd never even bother looking at Hydra. Why check out something I will never use?

If they can't find a way to pollute the Live Guide with ads, that makes it all the better as far as I'm concerned! I despise the traditional grid guide, even when it is like Tivo's and is (for the moment at least) ad free. Looking at the guide on a cable provider's DVR is painful for me because not only do I hate the format itself, but you can see only 2 or 3 channels per screen due to the ads taking up so much space.
 

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Live guide is off no use to us that use a Tivo to record when we are not home. Hydra's grid guide is superior for that, I access more info quicker. You couldn't pay me to go back to TE3 and a live guide.
You do realize the grid guide has ALWAYS been an option, right? It isn't as though using TE3 means you must use the Live Guide.

Also, the app uses the same guide format regardless of whether your Tivo is set to use Live Guide or grid guide...
 

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My prediction is that in a couple of months TiVo folks will be saying "It's not that bad. A few extra button pushes wont matter. We can live with it because TiVo is the bestest DVR ever!"
The real anger will build as cable companies move to IPTV for most of the good channels and cable cards become as rare as hen's teeth. The really good thing is that we have choices like never before to control where and how we get our content.
I think this fear of cable cards going away is overblown. I could easily see them going IPTV only if/when they offer 4K channels - that requires new hardware anyway so they can make the new hardware use IPTV for those channels. But they can't convert say HBO or ESPN to use IPTV only unless they've upgraded every receiver in the field to be IPTV capable. Going IPTV is basically an all or nothing proposition for HD.

How many cable companies are still on MPEG2, or still have SD duplicates of HD channels? I know Comcast has converted to MPEG4 in some markets, so if ALL of the MPEG4 receivers in those markets are IPTV capable they might be able to consider taking them IPTV only. Is any other cable company as close as they are along that path?

My cable company (Mediacom) still uses MPEG2 and still has SD duplicate channels, so I feel 100% confident they won't go IPTV until long after my Bolt gives up the ghost or I give up my Bolt because Tivo decides to start shoving ads in my face on TE3.
 

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Attributed to Zatz that I saw on DSLReports:

I saw Dave Zatz posted that this weekend on Facebook and Twitter. Also if you try to block the ad servers on your home network, it hangs indefinitely waiting to load a pre-roll add that will never load.
That would be a pretty stupid design. If your internet goes down you can't watch anything!
 

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May 2018. That's puttin' the ain't in maintenance.
The fact they haven't updated TE3 in over a year is a GOOD thing as far as I'm concerned. Yes, there are a few bugs but the ones I run into (a few cases where it loses its place in a live tuner, and losing sounds effects or getting a "black screen", either of which a thumbs down/thumbs up/play/play to restart the GUI) aren't show stoppers. I'd rather leave those bugs alone than have them alter the code and possibly introduce new bugs that are bigger issues for me.

The one thing I don't understand is how every once in a while when I do something simple like 'explore' on a recording I'll get a few seconds of the spinning blue circle. WTF, why isn't this data saved in the DVR instead of (apparently) being downloaded dynamically? But I'll live with that over them trying to fix it and possibly breaking something else worse.
 

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I believe it is technically possible for TiVo to implement pre-roll ads by downloading them in advance, perhaps in some sort of rotating fashion, all in the background. After all, the base OS underneath the TiVo code is Linux, which is perfectly capable of mulltitasking. There is no fundamental reason that the TiVo needs to wait for the launch of a recording to download the ad. It sounds to me like they've made some poor coding choices in their implementation of this "feature". It could be very snappy if done correctly.
That's how Directv has been doing ad insertion on its DVRs for years. The DVRs download ads (via satellite not internet) in the background and save them on the drive, and when something is playing they insert those ads in the slots reserved for the distributor (i.e. when your cable company runs ads for the local car dealer) If you watch on a receiver instead of a DVR you won't see those ads, instead you see ads for Directv/AT&T (i.e. these are the ones you see if you watch in a bar that has Directv)

Not sure why Tivo implemented this by live streaming the ads. I suppose it lets them select from a wider array of ads so they can target it more precisely based on who you are and what you're watching. They could download a bunch of ads so they've got one for everything you might record/watch, but some people might complain about how much bandwidth that's using downloading a bunch of ads 'just in case'. It doesn't matter for Directv since they're not using the internet.
 

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I have never heard of these pop up ads on Samsung phones, but Samsung is notorious for loading up all their devices with bloatware, so this doesn't surprise me, and it's the main reason I don't buy Samsung devices. Regarding Youtube, there are no ads on Youtube if you subscribe to Google Play Music or Youtube Music (which I do), so at least that option is out there for people that don't want to put up with ads.
I never see ads on Youtube on my PC, probably because I run Linux. I guess the 1-2% of who do are too small of an audience to bother "supporting". I do see them sometimes watching Youtube videos (via Safari) on my iPhone, so I know they exist but I'm blissfully unaware of them on my PC :)
 

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Right, and retail is just, as many have suggested previously, their beta sandbox.
I assume MSO customers have no choice but to run TE4? Maybe that's why there have been no updates to TE3 for over a year, and they indicated no plans to add preroll ads to TE3. They don't need us TE3 people to beta test for MSO customers, so we get left out of things like this, and any other nasty plans they and the MSOs have cooked up for those captive customers.
 

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I must be one of the very few who dont think its that big of a deal. I am not about to cancel my service over this, I FF at the beginning of almost every recording so what is an extra 2 seconds of FF?? I dont like the idea but it is so easy to work around I am not going to blow my top over it
If that's all it ever is, sure a single pre-roll ad isn't a big deal.

But it won't be all it ever is, guaranteed. If people take this lying down they won't be just the first time you play something but every time you play it. And eventually more than one. They'll also insert ads in the guide. Before long it will frustrating to look through the guide because there will be so many ads in the way. Next they'll put in ads for "related programming" anytime you hit select on a program to set up a recording. Recording a college football game? Maybe it'll pop up an ad for another game, or an Amazon link for jerseys and mugs for one of the teams featured in that game. And so forth.

I'm sure people back in the 50s when there weren't really "ads" as we know them today but instead shows were sponsored by some cigarette company or whatever and the messages included in the programming weren't too bothered by the first true 30 second commercial break. If they saw some of the cable TV channels today where 10 minute ad breaks aren't completely unheard of (yes, I've had to do as many as twenty 30 second skips before on a movie recorded on Spike or BET!) they'd be horrified they took that first 30 second ad break lying down!
 

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My Comcast legacy DVR had the ability to skip five minutes. This is something I really miss, and would be useful in long commercial break situations that you've mentioned.
Why? I can literally hit the 30 skip button 10 times in a second no problem. The trick isn't hitting it 10 times quickly, it is knowing WHEN you can hit it 10 times quickly without skipping too far. When I record something on COMET I'll often see six or seven minute breaks requiring 12 or 14 skips - but they'll throw in a random short break of two minutes to **** with you, usually at the top of the hour though so I kind of know when to expect it.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a big deal. I can skip most any commercial break of random length in no more than 3-4 seconds and usually more like 1-2, including hitting the 30 skip, seeing the frame for a split second and hitting it again as necessary, then hitting the 8 second back button a few times when I've gone a bit too far. Once in a while I'll mess up and think I've hit the program and it is a commercial, or vice versa, and it takes 15 seconds to find my place, but that's rare. This is why I never really cared all that much about skip mode, it was fixing a problem I don't have. I'll use it if it is there, but I don't care if it isn't.
 

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That will only work if "cancel pre-roll ads" is applied to the account rather than each individual TiVo. I don't think we've been given enough information to know just how that works.
Given that doing the cancel causes a software update to be pushed to your Tivo, it seems unlikely the simple swap shwru980r proposed would work. Definitely not something you can count on, especially if they remove the "opt out" option down the road.
 

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Why in the world are people shilling for TE4 here? Some people just don't get it, and don't understand that not everyone watches TV the same way they do. Preferring TE3 because of the features it has that TE4 lacks or because it is more stable (since they have pretty much quit making changes to it now as far as I can tell) doesn't make someone wrong, just different.

I wonder if the people trying to sell us on TE4 are the same people who will tell us why a SUV is the only vehicle you should consider or why we should all eat a gluten free diet? I don't tell you why you should prefer TE3 just because it is the best choice for me, so don't try to tell me I'm wrong for not wanting to have anything to do with TE4. And I'll drive a coupe and eat all the gluten I want, too!
 

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Not to stoke the fire but when I go to play a recording it checks for a pre-roll ad and displays this. I assume its talking about the pre-roll ad but selecting OK takes me back to Now Playing. Sometimes you have to retry multiple times to get the recording to play.

Doesn't happen all the time but enough to be annoying.
That would really piss me off if it happened even once! I've never been able to not 'play' a recording, getting some stupid error message because they broke the functionality would not make me happy. Glad I (apparently/hopefully) will never have to deal with that!
 

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I wonder if the reason the ads came back was because Tivo did a software update. From what people say when you ask to have the ads removed they push a software update to your Tivo. If Tivo pushes a 'regular' software update that doesn't contain the "no ads" thing then you'd have to ask to have the ads removed every time there's a software update.

Though I have no idea why they need new software to not show ads. Seems like it could be a simple setting (though maybe one you can't access from the GUI, and they have to set from home base) but they don't have any reason to make it easy. Or to support dropping ads in TE4 at all.

Once again glad I've wanted to stick with TE3 for other reasons, these ads are just the cherry on top for why to stay on TE3!
 

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Dump TiVo and go with something else. It's only going to get worse. The do-nothing tivo folks have sat on the butts for years, now all that matters is more, more more revenue. I'm waiting to see how they mess up the their new dongle (not going to buy one) but it should be good for a few laughs.
Why dump Tivo now? I'm fine with my Bolt running TE3. No ads, and since it appears they've quit updating TE3 I not only don't have to worry about ads I don't have to worry about them taking away any functionality in the future or adding any new bugs that cause me problems.

What you feel is a good alternative for Tivo today may not be in a few years, or something that isn't today may become one. I prefer to wait until I'm forced to move than to move ahead of time and dispose of a product I'm perfectly happy with, just because of worry about what might happen to it in the future.
 
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