Skipping commercials is the only sane way to watch television. Once you watch TV using a DVR and get use to the 30 second skip feature, you will never go back to watching live television again. The networks obviously don’t like that DVRs allow you to easily skip advertisements. Over the past couple of years the number of viewers who watch commercials are dwindling. However, the networks have tolerated the fast forward and 30-second commercial skip feature on DVRs, but Dish apparently crossed the line with its automatic commercial skipping feature called auto-hop. This reminds me of the Replay-TV lawsuit back in 2001 that resulted in removing the Auto-Skip feature which automatically skipped past the commercials. While the Dish Network, NBC, and ABC battle this out in the courts (and make several law firms a couple million dollars richer) I thought it would be good to review the current commercial skipping technology for Dish Network and DirecTV.
DirecTV Commercial Skip: DirecTV has a little different commercial skip feature than Dish. When you hit the fast forward button it will skip a 30 second block in the program, but it fast-forwards at about 5x speed. So one click of the button takes a few seconds to get through the entire commercial. I don’t like this as it takes too long. Fortunately their is a way to make the fast forward button skip a 30 second segment in a second. Here is how to re-program your DirecTV to do a 30 second skip. Go to the Search for Programs in your DirecTV menu. Then search by keyword for 30SKIP. Your search will not return any results, this is expected; just select Continue and then press Done. Now when you press your fast forward button it will skip 30 seconds instantly. If you ever want to reset it back, then do the same thing, but enter in 30SLIP.
Dish Network Commercial Skip: I like the Dish commercial skip feature over DirecTV because it comes pre-programmed to skip 30 seconds. As most of us like to watch TV with the remote close by, you simply pick up the remote and hit the yellow button about 6 times and you are past the commercial break and back into your program. The green skip-back feature is nice when you have gone a little too far, as it only skips back 10 seconds. To me it is kind of like a video game… once you master the remote you skip through a commercial in about 5 or 6 seconds!
Personally, I don’t mind hitting the remote to fast forward commercials. I think Dish has a great idea with auto-hop, but is it really worth the lawsuit? My opinion is no, but while they fight this out in court, I will continue to use my remote and skip past the commercials.