/ Technology

Do you record TV just to skip the ads?

I haven’t watched a TV advert in ages. It’s terrific because I loathe them and I’ll use every trick in the book to avoid them. Do you exercise your PVR just as much as me?

TV ads used to annoy me by breaking up my TV viewing, irritate me by wasting precious minutes of my life and bore me rigid with their repetition. But once I got a PVR it released me from their hold.

I have a three-pronged strategy to defeat them.

My three-pronged strategy to avoid TV ads

One: I rarely watch live TV – I record virtually everything that I think I may want to watch, particularly if it’s on a commercial channel. Not only can I then watch a programme when it suits me best, but when playing it back I can simply jump the ad breaks with two presses of the skip button every time they rear their ugly heads – excellent!

Two: If something takes me by surprise when I’m scanning through the TV listings to see what’s on that evening I’ll still start recording it. Why? So I can start watching it 15 minutes in and then skip through the ad breaks as they occur, slowly catching up with the ‘live’ programme generally around the time it’s finishing. This is known as ‘chase play’ – it uses a PVR’s ability to start playing a programme before it has finished recording and it’s a truly wonderful thing.

Three: This third scenario is most tricky and, for me, it usually occurs when watching live sport on a commercial channel, such as football coverage on ITV or, most recently, the Paralympics on Channel 4. I don’t want to employ my ‘chase play’ tactic because I really do want to watch the action live, not a few minutes after it’s actually happened.

So when the ad breaks come on I deploy my final weapon… go and make a cup of tea or take a loo break! That sorts the three-minute interludes nicely.

Does anyone else use a similar strategy to avoid TV ads? Have you got any further tips that you can tell me about? I’d love to hear from you if I’m missing a trick.

Grahame says:
14 September 2012

I simply ONLY watch what’s on BBC Iplayer! No Ads, No TV licence! Plus I only watch what I want to watch on Lovefilm or Netflix…………….works for me………..Also as it happens I am a ‘TV Snob’ so I don’t watch ITV, Channel 4 or 5 ha ha!

KevinO says:
15 September 2012

No TV License? If you have a TV, PC or radio in your house, able to pick up Any live or recorded programmes, you will need a license.
The license fee pays for Iplayer amongst many other things.
Not that I like paying it mind you!


Actually, you don’t need a licence for pre-recorded shows – you only need a licence if you are using BBC iPlayer to watch or record live broadcast television.

bettys says:
14 September 2012

I simply switch over to another channel when the adverts come on, although that does mean I often don’t switch back. I mutli-task a bit too, so I also just turn the sound off and read a magazine.


I actually enjoy a lot of the ads and the break gives you time to talk to your family, make a phone call etc.

Sorry I,m such a sad case.


I download all my tv programs to my computer and watch them on my TV with no annoying adverts whatsoever and my new Samsung TV has a super feature which allows you to cancel the very irritating raised volume that TV company’s but out , works BRILLENT !! all TV;s should have this.


I frequently use the PiP (Picture in Picture) feature to switch to another channel and then swap back when the ads have finished. I’l also go to a Beeb channel and fire up Teletext. The mute button is also a favourite, especially with the gocompare adverts; I’ll never use gocompare! I’ve just used the ITV Player for the first time. It appears that you can’t fastforward the initial adverts but if you’re careful you can get past the rest.

d.sell says:
16 September 2012

I have a PVR(HUmax) where is the skip button for adverts?


On mine it’s the ‘next track’ button (at least that’s what it would do on a cd player). Skips forward 2 minutes by default (I think). Invaluable. Similarly, the ‘previous track’ button skips backwards