Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Television The Courts Entertainment

Fox's Attempt To Block Ad-skipping TV Recorder Autohop Fails 142

Posted by samzenpus
from the skip-ahead dept.
another random user writes that Fox's preliminary attempt to stop Dish Network's Autohop feature has failed in court. "A bid to block a TV service that allows viewers to automatically skip adverts on recorded shows has been rejected. Fox had called for a preliminary injunction on Dish Network's Autohop ahead of a copyright ruling. Broadcasters Fox, Comcast, NBC and CBS have each sued Dish Networks, saying the show recordings are unauthorized. Fox said it would appeal against the ruling. It says Autohop is 'destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.' But Dish called the decision not to grant a preliminary injunction a 'victory for common sense.' Its Hopper digital video recorder can record and store prime-time content from the four major networks for up to eight days. And the Autohop feature lets viewers skip advertisements completely — rather than fast-forwarding through them — at the press of a button."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Fox's Attempt To Block Ad-skipping TV Recorder Autohop Fails

Comments Filter:
  • There's this website (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @08:56PM (#41926949)
    It lets me find where I can download TV with the ads already skipped, months before it screens in my country.
    • You have to go to a website? How quaint. I just have SickBeard [sickbeard.com] sit and watch RSS feeds and grab stuff the second it's available.

      It's pretty much a DVR minus the commercials.

  • And the Autohop feature lets viewers skip advertisements completely — rather than fast-forwarding through them — at the press of a button.

    I would prefer if this feature worked without having to press a button.

    In fact, I thought that's what the name implied: "autohop", automatically-hop-commercials.

    Does anyone know? I don't have Dish Network.

    • Re:Autohop (Score:5, Informative)

      by Huntr (951770) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:03PM (#41927037)
      You turn the feature on and all the ads are automatically skipped over.
      • by SomePgmr (2021234)
        About a billion years ago I had a clunky MythTV box under the TV that did this. It was pretty good at detecting and skipping commercials... though not perfect. Has anyone seen how well this feature works on the Dish hardware?
        • The last time I used Myth (within a few months I believe), the commercial detection worked flawlessly for the few shows I recorded. My Myth box unfortunately does not handle HD well and doesn't get much use anymore, but it seems to have improved since the box was under the TV a few years ago. If the Myth guys can get it that good, I think there's hope for Dish. (Though if the AC is correct and it's all done by people, it doesn't really matter what I say)

          I'm sure someone will post that Myth sucks and neve

    • by mschaffer (97223)

      I wish TiVo had this again...even if you have to press a button.

      • by ProfBooty (172603)

        Thats why you should have bought a replay tv. IT had all the features you wanted on a Tivo back in the day, 480p, ethernet, internet show transfer, automatic commerical skipping etc.

  • I remember when... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inode_buddha (576844) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:00PM (#41926993) Journal

    I remember when the cable co (now Time-Warner) came to my town back in the 80's. They said the subscription model would eliminate the need for ads.

    AAahahahahahahahahahaha........

    It reminds me of the insurance companies back then, all led by good God-fearing Republicans.

    "If you pass seatbelt laws, the premiums can go down. If you pass Daytime-running lights the rates may go down. If you have airbags the rates will go *way* down."

    I'm still waiting for the rates to go down.
    ,
    .

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MorphOSX (2511156)
      Rates will go down when the number of things causing accidents does. Texting/distracted driving has gone WAY up, so even if all the features making the insurance rates go down, in theory, are there, then the average cost to all insurers to cover the people that get into wrecks while distracted driving, etc., jack them right back up again, since it all works off of an aggregate pool. So, while income from subscriptions to cable/satellite may ultimately negate the need for commercials, the cost of funding th
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:10PM (#41927093)

        Rates will go down when the number of things causing accidents does. Texting/distracted driving has gone WAY up,

        Texting may have gone way up, but distracted driving hasn't. Just that the distraction itself is changing.

        Texting while driving is really dumb, but so is putting on makeup, reading a paper, eating a salad. But dumb people do dumb things
        and not much has changed overall.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          But dumb people do dumb things and not much has changed overall.

          people haven't changed, but cars sure have. Since I started driving they got rid of metal dashes, added seat belts, air bags, antilock brakes, and replaced the old drum brakes with the far more effective disk brakes.

          So the idiot driver is still going to wreck her car, but it will be harder to do and she's more likely to survive the crash.

          • by Metabolife (961249) on Friday November 09, 2012 @12:49PM (#41933021)
            We're continually working to improve the quality of our idiots to meet the most demanding of "idiot proof" devices.
            • by srmalloy (263556)

              I am reminded of the line from Rick Cook's The Wizardry Compiled:

              "Applications programming is a race between software engineers, who strive to produce idiot-proof programs, and the universe, which strives to produce bigger idiots. So far the Universe is winning."

            • by idontgno (624372)

              I think engineers can get ahead of the "idiot improvement" curve if they just add 4" spikes to the steering wheel hub and change all dashboard surfaces to reinforced tempered steel.

              "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be die in a car crash caused by his own inattention, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

              -- Samuel Johnson... [samueljohnson.com] almost.

          • There is a fair bit of evidence that people will drive at a certain amount of perceived risk. So if you add a bunch of safety features then people will feel safer and thus tend to drive faster given the same conditions.

            Around here there are always reports of people in 4wd vehicles getting into trouble when it snows--they've got more traction than a 2wd for getting up to speed, but the same amount of braking force.

      • by sjames (1099) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:14PM (#41927125) Homepage

        And those risks 'just happened' to come into existence right as the insurers were about to honor their promise that those new mandates would slash rates across the board. WHAT A SHOCKING COINCIDENCE! Who could EVER have guessed that? Billions to one and yet it happens every single time.

        Or perhaps they might just be liars.

      • by pclminion (145572) on Friday November 09, 2012 @12:14AM (#41928575)

        Not to mention that most people, when given a method of reducing base risk, will alter their behavior to bring risk back to previous levels. If you give somebody a way to be safer in a car crash, they'll use that "risk capital" to drive faster.

        The crotchety old father of a friend of mine has a suggestion to reduce accident rates: installation of an eight inch metal spike in the center of the steering wheel, pointed at the driver's chest. And no seat belts. Bet you'll drive a bit safer in that configuration.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          This was modded funny but is entirely true. Some parts of Europe have experimented with removing road markings completely and found that people drive much more cautiously. I seem to recall that when a road in the US was temporarily without any speed limit accidents went down too.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @12:17AM (#41928595)

        Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG.

        The cost of anything will never go down because the market has already worked out how much you're willing to pay. If the cost of the service to the vendor ever goes down then that's PROFIT. Prices will never go down even if the cost of providing the services reaches zero.

        If the cost reaches zero then the only way to realize that cost reduction is by reimplementing the whole system at reduced cost again...cloning. Of course we have IP law to make sure this doesn't happen and we can keep prices artificially high.

        • by z4ce (67861)

          The cost of things goes down all the time. Look no further than the computer you are typing on.

          If you adjust for inflation, you have to work to find examples of things that have increased in price.

          If the cost goes down, supply at the previous price goes up (increase profits!). The increase in supply will cause the supply and demand curves to shift, and then you have a lower price.

          Of course, this never works for insurance because humans are programmed for risk. So if you make the car safer, you make the huma

          • by nukenerd (172703)

            The cost of things goes down all the time.... If you adjust for inflation, you have to work to find examples of things that have increased in price.

            Yes, some things have become spectacularly cheap but they tend to be things, especially high tech things, that can be manufactured by slaves^H^H^H^H^H^H workers in China or India in exchange for a handful of rice. How the hell else does anybody make a keyboard for under 5 GBP [Ref Amazon for examples]?

            But there are plenty of things that have risen spectacularly in real terms in the UK anyway. Examples are obvious here :- Any basic materials such as timber, paint and metal; low tech components such

      • by mallyn (136041) on Friday November 09, 2012 @10:05AM (#41931255) Homepage
        I can put in my two cents for the rising cost of programs.

        Once upon a time, a film crew took over a neighbour's house (with their permission, of course) to film a TV program.

        I could watch the activity out of my bedroom window.

        This took several days' time to file just on half hour program.

        There were, of course the large number of trucks parked at the scene. Food trucks. Dressing room trucks. Lighting trucks (at least four or five of these and some of them were these giant semis). Even shower trucks. And *many* people.

        What **ASTOUNDED** me was the sheer number of people who looked like they were standing around doing nothing.

        I went downstairs and outside and started asking questions to other neighbours who were watching what was going on. She said that this is usual. Union rules require that each person have a very specific job. An electrician can only connect/disconnect lights. They cannot move anything.

        She also said that it take an average of two or three hours to film just a few seconds of what you see on screen.

        And *all* of the people I saw were paid union wages. Those wages bump up to 2x for each minute over 8 hours per day.

        Folks. That experience taught me that TV shows are not cheap by any means!

        • by nukenerd (172703)
          A friend of mine saw a similar filming at a yacht harbour while he was painting his boat.

          The film team of about 30 people arrived at about 11am. They spent about an hour flaffing around setting things up. Or some of them did while the others watched. Then at midday they opened a van that had been closed until then and out came camp chairs, tables, and a dozen hampers of the most luxurious picnic he had ever seen - white table cloths, silver cutlery, bottles of wine and what looked like salads with sm
    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      Ah cable when it came out. It sure was nice with no ads and little shorts to fill in while you wait for a show or movie to start. Then the zipper went down and ....censored

    • by mysidia (191772)

      "If you pass seatbelt laws, the premiums can go down. If you pass Daytime-running lights the rates may go down. If you have airbags the rates will go *way* down."

      Legislators were persuaded of the need; passed the laws, and then the laws did not have the intended effect of fewer deaths/injuries due to vehicle accidents.

      Anti cell-phone laws won't either. The idiot factor cannot be overcome by passing new laws.

      The idiots have seatbelts now, so they survive to get into more accidents, and people tend t

      • My rates are pretty low. Two cars, two drivers, full comprehensive and theft, $500 deductible, 2007 and 2011. $1150 / year. That's after each have had one no fault accident a few years back.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Legislators were persuaded of the need; passed the laws, and then the laws did not have the intended effect of fewer deaths/injuries due to vehicle accidents.

        Incorrect. [usatoday.com]

    • by jimbirch (2621059)
      Get over it Princess. When people stop believing simplistic nonsense the system will stop producing it. But don't hold your breath. Prices are based on loads of factors. Subscription model could eliminate ads but only if people were willing to pay enough to eliminate ads. Turns out they rather pay less and get some ads. Seatbelts reduce injury so reduce premiums. Other things put them up. We don't live in a world where one thing happens at a time and everything else stays in 1990. Everything is chan
      • Oh, I'm over it all right. $25 a month was an exhorbitant amount back then. Nowdays its well north of $100. Of course its still not enough - the point is that it never will be. If any given company can take *all* of your income, they would. Meanwhile they shouldn't even bother to *imply* anything. As in, don't insult my intelligence.

    • by Q-Hack! (37846) *

      Here in my state, it was the Democrats who passed the seat belt laws, but otherwise correct. Unfortunately, there are nanny state leaders on both sides.

    • I'm still waiting for the rates to go down.

      Several possibilities:

      1) they did, you're just not counting for inflation
      2) improved safety means fewer fatalities and more hospitalization bills
      3) false premise. I'm in NH - no seatbelt laws, very low insurance rates. Mandatory insurance means the insurers can collude to set an artificial pricing floor.

    • by dywolf (2673597)

      If you dont get credits or discounts for having seatbelts or running lights or other safety features...maybe you should do the capitalist thing....and get a better insurance company.

      or you can do the typical /.'er thing and bitch about it while still handing over your money.
      oh and dont forget to blame the republicans for everything, even when its false.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What a surprise.

    I knew there love affair wasn't going to last very long.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:14PM (#41927121)

    Well i wonder how pissed they are that i don't even watch network tv anymore.. BECAUSE THEY ARE CHOCK FULL OF FUCKING ADS! I really can't stand it anymore. It's gotten so bad over the last decade. Any given show is now at least 40% ads. Maybe even more now with product placement and other scumbag ideas.

    The world has too many ads. Period. And i'm not gonna join in anymore. Actually i even tend to avoid any products or stores that advertise often. Or annoyingly.

    Advertisers ruin every thing they have ever touched. TV, Radio, Internet, Phone, Magazines, Even the real world driving down the road you are blasted with ads every 50 feet.

    You make the world a worse place. I despise you all.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mark-t (151149)
      I've timed the ads before. A show that uses up an hour time slot will use between 10 and 15 minutes for ads.

      It's substantial, but it's not 40%.

      • by Formalin (1945560)

        It used to be generally 22/8 for a half hour slot (27%), in Canada at least. There was a comedy show with 22 minutes in the name, related to that.

        It always seemed to me that American channels had more advertising, but maybe it was just more unbearable that it felt longer. Goddamn lawyer ads, loans, no credit this and that, factory outlet, and so on.

        I seem to think tv-rips were/are still 20(40)+ minutes, and they fit in half (full)hour slots...

        • by kryliss (72493)

          What really pisses me off is not only the ads but when the station has those annoying ads pop up on the bottom of the screen during the show. Especially when the ad is 1/3 the size of the screen.

      • by TexVex (669445)
        My rule of thumb is to allocate 40 minutes to watch 1 hour of TV. The 20-minute difference is the duration of the advertisements less the time it takes to skip them.It works pretty well.
      • by GNious (953874)

        1-hour shows in the US are generally ~44 minutes when the ad-blocks are removed.

    • by antdude (79039)

      Why are you on /.? /. has ads too even in their stories! :P

    • by toejam13 (958243)

      At this point, I consider broadcast television to be a waste of my time. Roughly 25-30% of any given program is dedicated to advertisement. For a 30 minute show, this doesn't leave enough running time to have much depth in the story. You really need the full hour to do much. Even with hour-plus shows, the commercial blocks are now so long that you lose the suspense and drama that builds up, so why bother?

      Also, the ads usually have little relevance for me. The majority of ads I see on television these d

    • I let my DVR box get about 20 minute head start on show just so I can skip the ads.
    • For stuff made in the N America, when you buy the DVD or whatever you usually get either 20 or 40 minutes per episodes (essentially what was on TV in a 30-min/hour slot, minus the commercials)

      My co-workers like some British-origin shows like "Top Gear." They noticed that the versions here have commercials, but in the UK there are none and the episodes are still an hour long. That means not only are you getting about 25-30% ads (15-20 minutes), but you're LOSING 25-30% of the actual programming so that the a

    • by PTBarnum (233319)

      Not watching TV is theft, and you should be ashamed of yourself. You wouldn't not drive a car, would you?

  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:17PM (#41927157) Journal
    This just means "free" programming will become even more unwatchable.

    I rarely watch live broadcast TV, and the other day I saw a show that had crap all over the screen - network bug in one corner, what I guess is a "twitter hashtag" in another corner - random "tweets" popping up... if not that then a crawl on the screen advertising when some OTHER show will come on, etc. etc. Let alone the full-on commercials.

    As everyone uses a recorder and skips ads, the networks will have no choice but to embed ads into the content even deeper, if that is possible.

    Even for "free" I don't want it. I, like others, am "this close" to canceling the tv portion of my cable bill altogether.
    • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:24PM (#41927195) Journal

      It's not free when you have to pay to receive the 'broadcast'. If they want me to watch the ads, first they'll have to cover my subscription costs, and then they'll have to make the ads worth viewing. And also, the Betamax ruling says we are allowed to record shows for later viewing.

      • by mysidia (191772) on Friday November 09, 2012 @12:05AM (#41928501)

        And also, the Betamax ruling says we are allowed to record shows for later viewing.

        That was before DRM, the DMCA, Macrovision technology, and the broadcast flag.

        Content providers can prevent recording and manipulation of their content, by encrypting it, and leveraging contractual relationships with cable and sat companies to require content by delivered DRM protected to certain hardware that meets certain security requirements such as HDCP and doesn't have specific capabilities (such as analog content export, and commercial skip).

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Fine.

          At this point, I really don't care what all they demand. Its already off my radar.

          If they want to ship me whatever it is that they demand I have in order to see their transmissions, fine - if its small enough and isn't too much of a hassle, I might even connect it instead of throwing it in the trash can along with all the other unsolicited crap I get in the mail.

          I believe the networks have a completely different problem than they think they have. I believe the real problem is how to get peopl
    • by Formalin (1945560)

      Soon they will have the TV split into a nine part grid, with the show in the centre, and ads running constantly on the other 8 equal sized portions of the screen.

      And they'll still have ads on the 'show' portion of the screen half the time.

      Then you'll need to get a projector to get the show back to the size it is now.

      More and more... whenever I see the internet bareback, or watch TV, or hear commercial radio broadcasts... I'm shocked by how excessive and incessant the advertising is. I don't remember it bein

      • Soon they will have the TV split into a nine part grid, with the show in the centre, and ads running constantly on the other 8 equal sized portions of the screen.

        And they'll still have ads on the 'show' portion of the screen half the time.

        That's what the TV shown in Idiocracy looked like as I recall...

        It was ten years ago that I decided to "opt out" of TV, and I've never regretted it.

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:26PM (#41927215)

    It boggles my mind why everyone on a geek website buys products like this rather than just get an old PC, a TV tuner card and install Linux+mythTV on it.

    I get to record and keep whatever I like for as long as I like and it auto-skips commercials too. Plus I can pipe tv all over the house over my home network. Best of all I own the box, can install what the hell I like on it, and the software is free.

    • Re:Screw 'em all. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:18PM (#41927657)

      It boggles my mind why everyone on a geek website buys products like this rather than just get an old PC, a TV tuner card and install Linux+mythTV on it.

      Linux+MythTV won't be a viable PVR option for many users until CableCard is cracked (or unless the FCC actually forces the cable companies to be platform agnostic, which seems very unlikely). OTA TV isn't good enough unless you want to be very limited in the shows you can watch.

      • Re:Screw 'em all. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by triffid_98 (899609) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:55PM (#41927925)
        I realize it gets no geek cred, but Windows Media Center works just fine with CableCard. It also doesn't require you to pay subscription fees for TV listings like MythTV does.

        Oh and also integration with both Netflix and XBMC, I really want to like MythTV. It does a lot of things well but it can't do everything I need it to.
        • by JustNiz (692889)

          Assuming you mean Schedules Direct, the TV listings cost a measly $25 per year.
          Also, you can get several cable card tuners that work with MythTV, such as HDHomerun.
          I save way more than that (and feel better too) by avoiding buying Microsoft products in the first place.

      • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @11:28PM (#41928209)
        The FCC also requires every cable provider to give you a set-top box (STB) that gives unencrypted access via a firewire (IEEE 1394) port. Look it up. Write down the requirement number. Call up your provider and tell them to give you a box with IEEE-1394 access to an unencrypted feed.

        :>)

        Reference: 1394 interface as defined in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate for a functional 1394 interface in the STB [1394ta.org]

        1394 Trade Association sez : http://www.1394ta.org/press/TAPress/2010_0622.html [1394ta.org]

        • Sure, technically that's a requirement. But any programming flagged Copy Never can't be sent over it, and as for everything else, what are you going to feed it to? There isn't any readily available software that can take advantage of that feature, so it goes unused even by geeks.

        • by SeaFox (739806)

          Call up your provider and tell them to give you a box with IEEE-1394 access to an unencrypted feed.

          You think that will seriously work? The tier 1 and 2 reps aren't in a position to do anything about this. Most know nothing about the government mandates that apply to the company they work for. They only know what their supervisors tell them. And between the government and the people who sign their paychecks, who do you think they're going to listen to?

          A law is only a law if someone enforces it.

          Until someone actually takes he cablecos to court for this, they will continue to not offer these boxes.

        • The FCC also requires every cable provider to give you a set-top box (STB) that gives unencrypted access via a firewire (IEEE 1394) port. Look it up. Write down the requirement number. Call up your provider and tell them to give you a box with IEEE-1394 access to an unencrypted feed.

          :>)

          Reference: 1394 interface as defined in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate for a functional 1394 interface in the STB [1394ta.org]

          1394 Trade Association sez : http://www.1394ta.org/press/TAPress/2010_0622.html [1394ta.org]

          Yes, but cable shows can be flagged to not be sent unencrypted across the firewire port. The only requirement they have is to pass through the OTA shows via that port. Which means you haven't solved anything.

        • Here's a guy who managed to get hold of one [engadget.com] (it already wasn't easy in 2006).
          And here's some more background [theamericanconsumer.org]. Basically the FCC stopped requiring STBs to have a IEEE-1394 port, because it was expensive for providers and the market wanted HDMI instead. If you really want one, your provider is still required to give you one, but it will take some serious effort from you part to make them.
      • my ota myth setup gets PBS and maybe 2 other stations that -sometimes- have watchable content.

        when pbs is good, its great. when its bad, its just boring, but not crass.

        can't stand the other channels. stopped getting sat tv over 5 years ago. cable stopped long before that.

        if tv sucks, then I end up watching less tv! that's really a good side-effect. it is! spend the balance online, where its at least active and not passive (tv really is too passive).

      • by antdude (79039)

        Not everyone can get OTA too because of their locations. My parents' home is blocked by a giant hill/mountain. :(

        • by JustNiz (692889)

          It seems several people here mistakenly think MythTV can only do OTA, which is not true.
          I use mine exclusively with cable. My TV card is a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2200, (it can record 2 channels concurrently, supports both analog and digital). I go straight off the cable (both the card and MythTV support QAM) but there are also many ways you can get MythTV to control and take an input from a cable box too. MythTV also supports several cable card tuners.
           

      • by Alex Belits (437) *

        HDFury + HD-PVR.
        It won't go beyond 1080i, but MythTV/VDPAU deinterlacing turns 1080i into something perfectly watchable while keeping disk usage low.

      • IIRC this product only works on broadcast TV stations, the ones you can receive anyway using rabbit ears. Well, not literally, I mean using a regular antenna, actually chopping off the ears of a rabbit and gluing them to your TV is cruel, disgusting, and isn't going to let you receive any new channels you wouldn't be able to anyway - except perhaps one or two UHF channels of the type where if you stand on one side of the room the signal kinda comes in, but move two feet to the left and then it doesn't.

        An

        • by JustNiz (692889)

          >> IIRC this product only works on broadcast TV stations,

          Nope totally wrong. I use mine with cable, dont even own an antenna.

          • I'm wrong that this device by a satellite operator only, as advertised, fast forwards through ads on the broadcast stations because you don't own an antenna? Oh, and you use it with your cable service?

            I think you missed something somewhere, or else have really, really, badly worded your correction.

      • by evilviper (135110)

        OTA TV isn't good enough unless you want to be very limited in the shows you can watch.

        It's quite the opposite, actually. Basic cable has very, very few original shows that are anything more than reality-TV filler. The overwhelming majority of what they broadcast is syndicated shows that originally aired on the broadcast networks. And the few original shows on basic cable... are usually available for free on Hulu.

        And with the transition to digital, the channel count has EXPLODED. NBC broadcasting Unive

  • "Its Hopper digital video recorder can record and store prime-time content from the four major networks for up to eight days. And the Autohop feature lets viewers skip advertisements completely — rather than fast-forwarding through them — at the press of a button."

    Okay, half of that is relevant, the other half (hell, the whole thing) feels like it's pulled straight from the ads for it.

    Ironic, no?

    • Okay, half of that is relevant

      And the part that describes the exact feature that has caused this all to end up in court isn't?

  • by BenJeremy (181303) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:34PM (#41927277)

    This is the thing that has bothered me since the (1996?) law was changed, allowing "free" broadcast channels to charge cable and satellite operators to carry them. If they had to rely on OTA viewers, their ratings (and thusly, their advertising revenue) would go to shit. Cable and satellite providers boost these ratings, making their commercial revenue much greater... but they get to double dip?

    The way I see it, when they charge for access to their programming, commercials are no longer a relevant part of the "ecosystem" - they are no different from HBO or Showtime, since they collect fees for every viewer on that system. In that respect, skipping commercials are fair game.

  • All they need to do is figure out how Autohop works, and then redesign their advertisements so that they defeat feature. Some are based on volume detection... all the network would need to do to defeat that is have the commercials at the same volume level as the programming (which would have the upshot from the network's point of view that the commercials would be less annoying, and people might be less reluctant to sit through them).

    Also, they would be smart to make commercials of various durations....

    • by hguorbray (967940)
      In the US they are supposed to not be making the commercials louder than the program material starting next year, so assuming that this is followed (no guarantees as there are plenty of tricks that can be played with audio compression) any commercial avoidance scheme based on sound levels will not work so well any more when this is introduced.

      -I'm just sayin
      • by ais523 (1172701)
        Hopefully the rules will require them to be no louder both in terms of peak level, and in terms of root-mean-square. That shuts down most of the potential abuses.
    • by jedidiah (1196)

      The only problem with that is that the likes of MythTV are in the same arms race. As soon as any open source project figures out how to deal with the the new scheme, EVERYONE will ( including Dish).

      Although we may be quickly reaching the point where it just doesn't matter anymore.

    • by kbrannen (581293)
      Last I heard, the FCC requires them to put 1 totally black frame before the commercial break and 1 just after (before the show starts again). If that's true, then to defeat this, they would have to get the FCC to change that ruling. Maybe they can, maybe they can't, but looking for 1 totally black frame makes skipping pretty easy.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Then they would start putting black frames in the content, causing you to miss most of the content, causing the devices to stop using that method.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      All they need to do is figure out how Autohop works, and then redesign their advertisements so that they defeat feature. Some are based on volume detection... all the network would need to do to defeat that is have the commercials at the same volume level as the programming

      There is another option..... attempt to trick Autohop into thinking parts of the programming are commercials, so that they wind up skipping highly noticeable chunks of actual programming.

      People will be less inclined to use the feat

    • by ProfBooty (172603)

      Commericals are generically detected through:

      switch from stereo to mono
      black frames
      cue tones

      • by mark-t (151149)

        1) Detecting a switch from stereo to mono is bypassed by broadcasting commercials in the same audio format as the program.

        2)This can result in false positives by having black frames between scenes in the programming.

        3)What if they didn't utilize any cue tones?

        There's no theoretical reason that a commercial could not be made completely indistinguishable from the broadcasted program by an automated appliance without developing an AI that is about as intelligent as a human being.

        • by crutchy (1949900)
          on some networks you can tell merely by a change in loudness
          • by mark-t (151149)
            Which can also easily be defeated by not altering the volume level for commercials (it's my understanding that this is soon going to be illegal for networks to do anyways).

            There's absolutely no theoretical reason you could not make commercials indistinguishable from the programming to anything other than a living human being.

            • by crutchy (1949900)
              of course you can defeat any measure, but in doing so you also reduce the effectiveness of the advertising... advertisers aren't going to pay big money for ads that are indestinguishable from regular programming... they pay for loud, in your face blaring annoying idiots in chicken suits etc.
              do you really think any network would reduce the loudness of their ads just to stop some percentage of viewers blocking them for recordings? if you are recording, then you are still counted as a viewer and the ads can
              • by mark-t (151149)
                Not completely indistinguishable, only indistinguishable to any purely technical and wholly automated process.

                Networks will always want their ads loud and annoying because apparently they think that gets the viewer's attention

                It also makes it very easy to automate a technological process that skips them entirely, thereby failing to gather any attention at all from people who might be watching a recording..

                • by crutchy (1949900)
                  i'm not going to hold my breath waiting for you to convince any networks that they should change any aspects of their advertising programs merely to defeat adblocking recorders...

                  proof is in the pudding... fox would rather risk the legal route than implement any of your simple technical recommendations
        • by pesho (843750)

          1) Detecting a switch from stereo to mono is bypassed by broadcasting commercials in the same audio format as the program.

          2)This can result in false positives by having black frames between scenes in the programming.

          3)What if they didn't utilize any cue tones?

          There's no theoretical reason that a commercial could not be made completely indistinguishable from the broadcasted program by an automated appliance without developing an AI that is about as intelligent as a human being.

          1. All these approaches require changing the current systems at the content providers. Some how it is always easier to spend money on lawyers than on R&D.

          2. The content providers actually need the add queues to provide regional and interactive advertising. Certainly these can be removed when the ads are inserted, but again this will require changing the current systems.

          3. All these countermeasures can be circumvented by fingerprinting the ads. Yes, couple of ads can slip the first time they are aired

          • by mark-t (151149)

            Actually, fingerprinting would be the worst way to deal with it from the broadcaster's perspective as it leaves a way to automate detecting the difference between a commercial and a program, enabling them to be easily autoskipped.

            The ideal, from the broadcaster's perspective, would be that there is no technological method that could be used to distinguish a commercial from the regular program short of having an AI that is just as sophisticated as a living human being, and so the ads could not readily be

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:08PM (#41927585) Homepage Journal
    This is the joy that is Fox's core demographic. They're... quite forgetful, you see. You'll understand when you reach that age. So they need frequent... nay... CONSTANT reminders to buy gold, erectile dysfunction drugs and adult diapers. If the stream of advertising stops for EVEN A MOMENT, Fox's audience will immediately become gold-free, limp, damp shadows of their former selves, wallowing in their own filth. Look! It's HAPPENING ALREADY!
  • 'destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.'

    Hooray!
    No.

    Yay!!!
    No.

    SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!!
    Yessss!!!

  • Like the Allstate Mayhem commercials. In my long-ago youth I remember ads being much more entertaining and unobtrusive. I was never annoyed by the Dolly Madison commercials during the Peanuts holiday season specials--it actually seems like something is missing when I watch the Peanuts specials on DVD without them. How about Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" Just a few years back the K9 Advantix "Hello Father Hello Mother" puppy commercial was great.

    These days it's the same old sterile erectile-dysfunction ad play

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Sorry, advertising is objectionable no matter how entertaining it is. I will not have my purchasing decisions manipulated by marketers.

  • can i get an autohop program to get rid of fucking youtube ads?... i started youtubing because i was sick of ads on tv and now even youtube is being infected by the ad virus
  • And the Autohop feature lets viewers skip advertisements completely — rather than fast-forwarding through them — at the press of a button.

    So... It can now do what my MythTV system could do since ... forever?

  • poor tv execs who are going to have to do without a mega-yacht or mega-mansion because you didn't watch your ads like you're supposed to. They have become accustomed to a life of leisure, they think what they do is so indispensable that they need to get paid in 7 or 8 figure incomes while the rest of us don't even get 6. It's simply unsustainable. It's crazy of these a-holes to expect us to bend over backward to give them their life of leisure. Give me a break.
  • "...destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem."

    This isn't broadcast tv, it's satellite, which means people PAY to watch your programming and Dish pays you transmission fees. So if you want to provide your content for free, you may have an argument, until then, you don't.

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz

Working...