TiVo Fast Forward Ads Are Back

A reader was watching his TiVo’d episode of 24 last night when he saw that the fast-forward ads are back.

    While not quite as bad as their original design, the fast forward ads are back. I was fast forwarding through the commercials of tonights episode of 24 and I noticed a still image applied over one of the commercials.

We don’t have a TiVo and we never have, but we understand that these ads annoy TiVo-ers. True?—MEGHANN MARCO

TiVo’s Fast Forward Ads Are Back [My Surmise]

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  1. Antediluvian says:

    Eh, I wasn’t really annoyed, more amused. I do like to watch (casually, not intently) the action under as it’s fast-forwarding, and these ads prevent that, but I didn’t mind the BMW thing too much. It held my attention and I called the hubby down to watch it, but it didn’t make me run out and buy a BMW (we’re a Subaru household).

    I didn’t see these before sometime last week, so I can’t comment on how it might compare to a previous version.

  2. scoobydoo says:

    I’m really torn on this. On the one hand I want Tivo to do everything it can to survive and make some money so we Tivo addicts never have to be without our boxes. On the other hand I pay a hefty monthly fee and keep getting more and more ad’s shoved in my face.

  3. Absorber says:

    Still has to be so so so much better than watching commercials, I assume.

  4. MeOhMy says:

    It would annoy me more if I wasn’t using the 30-second skip hack.

    However, as long as I can see well enough to know when to stop fast forwarding, it’s not a big deal. Although if it pops up too quickly, it may wreak havoc with my tactic of watching football games quickly by speeding through dead time between plays.

  5. Mike_ says:

    I don’t own a TiVo, but I’ve been considering buying one. From my perspective, this sort of thing is a real turn-off. There are some places ads just don’t belong. If I am going to spend $700 on Series-3 hardware and $15+ per month on service, the last thing I want is ads shoved in my face. It would be different if the ads were optional, and if enabling them reduced or eliminated the service fee.

  6. etinterrapax says:

    I haven’t seen any yet. I agree that if it doesn’t interfere with when to resume playing, I don’t care much. But in principle, I agree that a pay service should be ad-free. It’s just, that’ll be the day.

  7. cynon says:

    I have a TiVo. I paid, a few years ago (when they still offered it) for the lifetime subscription fee, and it’s already paid for itself. That being said (and add to that the fact that I really do like the thing) I am WAY tired of them pushing advertising. It’s everywhere on the box, and this newest tactic just gives me more reason to finish up the Myth box I have sitting upstairs.

    I wonder if it would cost as much money to produce quality TV (not that there’s an over abundance of that), if the execs and actors got paid a reasonable fee.

  8. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I would suggest trying the LG brand DVR. I forgot the model name, but it uses the Microsoft program guide and DVR software. It’s probably not full of features when compared to the Tivo, but if you just want something that simply records and plays back TV, then it’s great. Plus, you don’t pay for the program guide and there are no ads.

  9. zl9600 says:

    Not annoying.

    As long as I can get through my hour show in 42 minutes and not have to watch your awful 30 second spots all about the latest 15 blade razor flying through the air, I’ll be okay.

    And, Jack Bauer survives again, because his show is 100% ad supported, like all the networks.

  10. CamilleR says:

    I have never noticed fast-forward ads on my Tivo, but if it keeps Tivo going I’m all for them. I don’t have a set work schedule so I depend on my Tivo’s season pass option for a good deal of my TV viewing. For me, Tivo is the best thing ever and I’ll be broken-hearted if the company fails. Besdies, fast-forward ads can’t be any more annoying than regular ads are.

  11. NoThru22 says:

    Oh, you pay for “free” DVRs, just not with money. I’m not sure if these pop-up ads apply to us DirecTV users, but it doesn’t matter because I use the 30 second skip to make it through commercials. RF is too slow to use fast forward and not be a minute into the show when you get out.

  12. Antediluvian says:

    So let me get this clear: people are upset w/ Tivo showing an ad DURING A COMMERCIAL?

    This isn’t showing an ad during a program. It’s showing a medium-sized window w/ a still image with text while fast-forwarding (at any speed) through a commercial. It only appears while the regular commercial is onscreen.

    You can still fast forward, you can still 30-second skip. It doesn’t interfere w/ any function or behavior of the Tivo, it’s superimposed over another ad, and it’s a still image (so it’s less distracting to those of us w/ ADD).

    What is the problem here?

  13. scoobydoo says:

    Antediluvian; my “problem” is that this is just one of many new ways they are forcing ads on us. There are the main menu commercials, there are the ads during some shows now showing in the bottom, there are the fast forward ads, there are the “press x for more” ads during other commercials.

    All in all a single ad isn’t that annoying, but I’m worried where Tivo will draw the line. Tivo was meant to set your TV free and let you watch TV the way YOU want it. Not the way THEY want it.

  14. adamondi says:

    I don’t understand people who get annoyed with any sort of advertising whatsoever on their TiVo. They say they got the TiVo to skip all the advertising, and then they say that there shouldn’t be any advertising on a paid service like TiVo. That makes no sense at all. I pay for both my cable and my TiVo. Should I get frustrated and annoyed that Comcast injects advertising into every one of its cable channels?

    Bottom line: TiVo is a corporation that has struggled to make a profit, even though it has a superior service and product. They are publicly traded and have a responsibility to their shareholders to make as much profit as they can without alienating subscribers. They will continue to look for new ways to make money through ads. Everyone needs to stop acting like TiVo is guilty of heresy for using advertising as a source of revenue.

  15. dantsea says:

    Many Tivo subscribers have the misconception that they’re paying to “skip the ads,” and as far as I know, that’s something Tivo never used as a selling point.

    However, Tivo knows why people are buying their hardware and service; they’ve done little (if anything) to object when others describe the ad-skipping benefit. There exists a widely known “hack” that allows users to reprogram a button on the remote to skip through 30 seconds of recording at a time.

    Therefore, I think the objection many may have is that Tivo’s latest move to plop ads on any free space in the interface is that the company is trying to have their cake and eat it, too.

  16. Antediluvian says:

    Scooby– I have never seen a Tivo ad during a show. I’m not saying they don’t exist, just that I haven’t seen one (maybe I don’t watch those shows or something).

    However, Tivo’s ads are among the most unobtrusive ads I have ever seen.

    I sometimes visit the main menu ad, but I haven’t done anything that requires me to “opt-in”, which is another great thing about Tivo — they are very upfront about telling you when your personal data will be shared and requiring you to opt-in.

    Most of the time, though, I don’t see the main menu ad because I press the Tivo button on the remote twice in a row to get to Now Playing. I do this while the TV is turning on, and by the time it’s on, the Now Playing list is up and the ad was never noticed.

    Also, Tivo places its ads in predictable locations, which I can then “tune out” by not looking at them. Never look at the last menu entry, etc.

    [And I know they write it TiVo, but it’s awkward doing InterCaps for short words.]

  17. I was a super-early adopter for TiVo, and I’ve always thought some form of advertising was inevitable, because despite what TiVo may advertise the produce as useful for, people buy for two reasons: To time-shift shows and to skip ads.

    I find the ads annoying. I’m on a lifetime subscription too, and if I weren’t, I don’t think I’d be willing to pay for the TiVo service if they’re going to inflict more ads on me. I just object on principle to PAYING for something and then being subjected to ads anyway. This is why I don’t have cable.

    I’m sympathetic to the business model and to the tightrope TiVo has to walk between content providers & advertisers and TiVo’s consumers, and I really did think these ads were inevitable since the birth of the TiVo and it was only a matter of time. But I don’t like TV enough that I’m willing to PAY for TiVo’s time-shifting convenience at the cost of having more ads. I’ll either drop TiVo completely at that point or get off my lazy ass and mod my own box to do the same thing, just without the conveniently-downloaded listings.

  18. krunk4ever says:

    I think if they had made the ad semi-transparent, it would’ve been better. That way, you don’t miss like 50% of the action in background, while on the other hand, they are able to make money off advertisements.

  19. Chris says:

    I just object on principle to PAYING for something and then being subjected to ads anyway.

    You must have a hard time going to ball games, movies, or plays, riding the bus or subways, drinking at a bar, reading newspapers and magazines, or even eating breakfast (do Frosted Flakes really need that big tiger on the box?).

  20. “You must have a hard time going to ball games, movies, or plays, riding the bus or subways, drinking at a bar, reading newspapers and magazines, or even eating breakfast (do Frosted Flakes really need that big tiger on the box?).”

    HA! We don’t HAVE busses or subways where I live. Or professional ball teams. Don’t go to movies — cost too damned much and I don’t like sitting in the dark for two hours when they’ll be on DVD in two months and watching half a damned hour of ads. We only have non-profit amateur theater. (Does theater have ads other than in the program? Because those don’t count as you are not forced to view them.) Newspapers and magazines don’t SUBJECT you to ads, they put them there quietly where you can ignore them without wasting your time or having them shout at you.

    And I make my own breakfast cereal from scratch. So there. :P

  21. Papa K says:

    For everyone crying about seeing an ad while you’re trying to skip ads, think of this:

    they could charge you more to take that ad away.

    Also, the whole point of commercials is to pay for those programs. You’re skipping them. They’re putting an ad there to make sure they can still pay for it.

    This is like people who steal satellite and get upset when they have to rehack the signal.

  22. lincolnparadox says:


    I love you guys. And I hear your pain, I really do. It is so unfortunate that litigation against SonicBlue back in 2003 forced the company to sell itself off and remove commercial skip from its (easily hackable) ReplayTV 5000 series machines.

    Perhaps if a die-hard TV fan really wanted to enjoy the freedom of a mostly-perfect commercial-skip DVR, they would wish for the ReplayTV 4000/4500 series (or a modified 5000 series). Then they could skip through commercials automatically with one single press of a button. They might even try to upgrade their ReplayTV with a new hard drive (will void warranty, but so will adding the commerical skip to a 5000 series) to turn their ReplayTV into the ultimate DVR. They could even use the Internet Video Sharing capability to transfer stored mpeg files to their personal hard drive (for personal use, of course). All this for an ebay search, less than $200 and $9.99/month service fee.

    I haven’t watched a commercial since 2002, unless it was posted on here. Freedom is out there.

  23. dantsea says:

    This is like people who steal satellite and get upset when they have to rehack the signal.

    Jamie? Jamie Kellner? Is that you?

  24. loraksus says:

    Papa K says:
    This is like people who steal satellite and get upset when they have to rehack the signal.

    Perfect analogy there Mensa Master…

    Who wants to place odds on how soon Papa’s name gets tossed up on the front page?