/ 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.

Gary F says:
20 October 2018

A myth employed by TV licencing. You need a licence to carry out the act of listening to or watching a live or live recorded broadcast and, not for having the equipment capable of doing so.

This is an old Conversation. A TV licence is now needed to watch programmes on iPlayer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/help/tvlicence

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.

cosier says:
9 November 2020

same as me. good idear

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

On my Humax remote RM-F01, it’s the button below the record button with the double arrow head. You can program it to skip 4 minutes forward which is the length of commercial breaks. Works a treat, can’t remember the last time I saw an advert.

Just after 6:00 in the morning I’m on the sky app on iPad. I have my favourite channels saved. Whizz straight through to 19:00 in the evening and scan all the listings for the evening. Read anything that takes my fancy and if good hit the record link with series if appropriate. That’s it. I never watch live television. It will become a thing of he past. I will never let broadcasters tell me to watch something when they want me to watch it. I can look at the programme lengths and chop off minutes skipping adverts. As I approach them I stop the recording and use user defined to advance 4 minutes avoiding them completely. I do sometimes wonder if I am actually missing something I would be interested in.

LesMead says:
17 September 2012

Yes, you are a mirror image of my watching habits. My PVR usually has chapter points where the commercials are positioned, so it’s dead easy to skip. Having seen TV in the most of the world, I have no problem paying the License fee, keep up the good work BBC.

I can see the attraction of the iplayer and catchup tv if you don’t have a pvr but for me the picture quality just isn’t good enough. Compare HD pictures and SD pictures on a good tv and HD pictures are stunning. To my mind the picture definition on the iplayer, even with a fast broadband connection, is below SD picture quality. It’s a last resort for me.

Once in a while it’s nice to just draw the curtains across the TV screen, put on some intermission music and enjoy a pause as my wife walks round the room with a tray of Kia-Ora and Butterkist popcorn. Then when you hear the faint strains of Pearl & Dean’s signature tune you can carry on where you left off. Dah-der/dah-der/dah-der/dah-der- – dah-dah-dah // Dah-der/dah-der/dah-der/dah-der — Duh.

We seldom, if ever watch live TV. Anything of interest is recorded on PVR, one button push saves the whole series of programmes. Then play back if and when we choose to watch. That way not only can we skip any adverts and trailers, we can also FF the football and other sports (great for missing all the Olympics). This is also usefull for making the tea and re-runs after falling asleep. If you like to go this route get a decent recorder, cheap and nasty is not the way to go. At the moment we have only DTT recorder, but thinking of getting a satellite one as well so we can record and view more than two progammes at once.

One of my absolute loves is a PVR (a Panasonic actually) which provides a “x1.3” playback speed (also during catch-up). It doesn’t make the voices mickey-mouse – just speeds up those ghastly slow-talking presenters on so many programmes. 60 minutes compressed into 46 minutes. A dream!

Two phrases set me leaping for the PVR remote –

“After the break…”

“Coming up…”

Including the ads, I probably save about 20 minutes of a 1 hour program.

David c says:
5 October 2012

There seems to be a trend here……….we all think we can live without ads, course we can but where would the money come from to buy programs for us to record (devil’s advocate).
I lived in Germany some years ago and they used 5 minutes every hour on the hour giving time for many things!

Tim says:
4 August 2013

This is an old subject and no one will likely read what I write, but still, commercials…make me so, angry. I have 3 pet peeves in my life, the first and least annoying is the driving habits and manners of people (who can be rude and ignorant), the second is movie theatre etiquette, but the most annoying thing in the world is being constantly attacked and bombarded by advertisements.

I have been a long time complainer of T.V ads, and have and do watch a ton of television in my life. With a cable bill that’s expensive enough, I find it abhorrent that I should be forced to watch anything over 10% saturation of commercials. So you can imagine my frustration when I find out that some shows are nigh on 50% commercial saturation, and most are 25%-33%. People say that there would be no television without commercials, well I say, that’d be just fine. It’s not like the stations or distributors don’t get greedy, trim the fat (always quality), sellout, or have the same problem that the rest of capitalism has, too many fingers in the cookie jar. The consequence of this is always the product quality, making the REAL shame: the quality of television based around a format that’s specifically designed to house commercials, so you’ll always be stuck with the same old predictable crap with few exceptions. I’m not just talking about having to endure the 5 minutes of commercials to find out what happens in the end of the story you’ve been watching for an hour, I’m talking about the story itself being augmented or created specifically to ‘hook’ you before and after every commercial. Meanwhile, all the creative juice that should be going into entertainment instead go towards ads.

I avoid ads at all costs, I have forever black listed Youtube.com for forcing me to watch advertisements, I tape T.V and usually only watch it live if it’s a commercial free channel, and when certain ads are particularly irritating, I boycott the product. Here are some other things I do or have noticed:
1: Tape shows, have different priorities of shows taped and save some for times when there’s nothing to watch, if you’re watching live television, have a HOME BASE (channel that doesn’t have commercials) to always retreat to when commercials attack you, this all helps if you have a DVR. Let’s say you don’t like the show at HOME BASE, well, try to juggle some other shows (especially if you find a few good ones that go to commercial at different times) and skip between them and eventually you’ll get your commercial timing down so that you don’t miss much when you skip back. But really, it’s still better to just tape shows and FF through the crap.
2: Eventually you’ll be able to decipher the anti-climatic wind-down of a show before commercial, use this time to go to your HOME BASE, or back up channels. “We’ll be right back” or “stay tuned” literally means “you have 3 seconds to find something new to watch for 5 minutes.”
3: T.V ads are specifically designed to manipulate you, and they will do ANYTHING to get their point across, if you’re a young person, just remember that it’s not real, they are lying to alter your perception of reality to one that’s more conducive to being a chronic consumer. Reading books and spending some alone time with the T.V off thinking or using your imagination can help to counter the affects of advertisements on your psyche.
4: Avoid watching movies on movie channels that have commercials on them. If you don’t, then try to find the movie channels that don’t increase the rate of commercials with the rising action of the movie. They give you the first half hour of the movie for free to hook you in, then the last half hour of the movie is stretched to an hour long and never has more than 7-8 minutes without a commercial. Besides, some movies are ruined by commercials, and all are less intense, and less enjoyable.
5: Some stations and shows are getting wise to people like me, so shows like Jeopardy can have 1 minutes between double jeopardy and final jeopardy, or 5-6 minutes, so it’s better to tape shows like this instead of trying to miss the commercials by flipping channels. Another example of how sneaky commercials are, is in the late-night talk shows, specifically The Tonight’s Show, and The Late show (the one with David Letterman), these channels both go to commercials around the exact same time, so skipping between them is really tough and often pointless. Try to tape these, too. If you go to bed before they’re done taping, watch them a day behind. Or try pausing for 15 minutes and then FF through the commercials.
6: Listen to CD’s or attach your music listening device into your Car radio system so you don’t have to listen to awful car ads.

We’ve been doing this for years. Don’t watch what you don’t like, record what you like and fast-forward through the bits you don’t want to see. Easy.

In other words, learn to live with the technology – don’t fight it and don’t get in a twist about it.

Howard says:
2 January 2018

Yes we do all 3, but i notice the latest Humax 5000 has removed the ad skip facility so we decided not to buy it. This may be a trend in the making so suggest keep your dvr in good condition